Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving in Review and Christmastime is Here

WARNING! LONG POST AHEAD! GET A CUP OF COCOA AND SETTLE IN FOR A SPELL...For some reason, I haven't felt all that much like blogging lately. I'm sure it has something to do with all the hubbub of the holiday that just passed and the season we are now being hurled into. My photos of our day are not all that great, and that was another hangup that was keeping me from posting. The picture of "my boys" is blurry, but it's the only one I snapped, so forgive the poor photography.

I worked Thanksgiving morning, and we were crazy busy. Lots of folks coming in and ordering for all the coffee drinkers back at the house. One person=5 drinks. It was nuts, but good at the same time. I like serving people, and to do so on a holiday was special, for some reason. I got home around 1, and the turkey had just started its time in the oven. The potatoes were peeled and cubed and in salted water. The jello salad had been made the night before, so all it needed was Cool Whip. A box of Stove Top and jarred gravy completed our "feast."

While I was working, Bob and Michael also brought up the artificial tree from the basement and Bob was in the process of getting it assembled and strung with lights. I'm happy to let him do that part, although I was very skeptical he'd need the 10 boxes of lights he'd bought to adequately light our 6' tree. EIGHT boxes later, the thing was TRANSFORMED and looking the best it had in years.

I need to digress and share with you how we came to have an artificial tree. We had been cutting down a fresh tree every year of our married life when, on our annual trip to a tree farm--a new one that was 45 min. from our house in the middle of farm country in IL--to find OUR tree for that year, I hit the button that locked not only my keys but my husband's in our Suburban! We called the friends who lived nearest to the farm, and they sent their son to fetch us. He drove us 45 min. back to Wheaton, where we got a spare key. We drove back to the tree farm, and then to our friends' house to return the car.

These friends had an extra artificial tree and offered to give it to us, since the odds of Bob being in the mood to go traipsing through ANY tree farm to procure a tree that year were slim to none. I was very opposed to this tree, and the joy of this Christmas decorating tradition died, to some degree, when he enthusiastically accepted their castoff. I know it sounds like I'm being dramatic, but it just didn't seem special to put out a box, fan out some plastic branches, and decorate this poor imitation of God's creation.

For some reason, though, this year--6 years after that fiasco--has been different. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that it has been "unseasonably" cool here--which means it has felt like this time of the year is SUPPOSED to feel! So here is a photo of our tree, replete with almost EVERY ornament Michael has (almost 6 boxes) and ours as well. I really like how it looks. There's an electric train that runs around it, which creates the soundtrack for our days. There are snowmen on my mantel, a single stocking hung there too, and colored lights strung in my son's room that he falls asleep staring at each night.

And so the season begins...I've had a project in mind for MONTHS, and have been collecting for at least a year toward this end, it was only after completing our decorating and reading of other families' traditions on some blogs I follow, that I was inspired to get my rear in gear and actually try to bring this project to fruition.

It starts with these little boxes that hold Starbucks gift cards in bulk. As we have finished up a box, I have snatched them up and brought them home. I've seen Christmas Countdown calendars in various forms, and I knew these boxes would fit the bill perfectly! Well, today was the day that I decided to stop hoarding and start transforming them into boxes fit for little Christmas goodies.

Here's how many I have done to date. They use a 3.75" x 10.25" strip of designer series paper, and I just folded them around the box and made a nice crease at each bend as I went around it. I secured the top flap with Sticky Strip, since I figured it would get the most wear and tear. I want to complete 9 more so that I'll have 24 total. I know they could be much fancier, but I have boys, and they don't care about ribbons and embellishments and all that stuff. Besides, have you looked at the calendar lately? Tomorrow is the 30th, so time is of the essence.

My goal is to hide one somewhere around the house each day between Dec. 1 and Dec. 24, and include in it some little goodie or something that has to do with Christmas in it. Our family hasn't had that much success with doing scheduled family Bible readings that would help focus our thoughts on Christ's coming to earth, so I'm open to suggestions for what I could put in these little boxes that might help us all think a little bit about the Reason for the Season and have fun along the way. If you have anything to share, speak up! I'm all ears!

I'm going to stop typing now and continue roasting by the roaring fire we have had going all day. Hope you enjoyed this diatribe. I also hope the rest of your holiday weekend is quiet and peaceful.


Lydia said...

Your tree is soooo beautiful!! It makes me feel all Christmasy!!!

I love the boxes and the idea of your surprises.

For sure in each box I would put a quote about Christmas - I like They always make me think.

Maybe little symbolic things - like hay for the manger, or something that lights up for the star..

Thanks for making me feel all Christmasy!!

sandra said...

I have had a fake tree for my entire life and I loved the idea of every year opening the box and found him, there, the same as the year before.
We decorated our Christmas tree yesterday and Olivia decorated a little one for her room, which is full of red bows, stocking and other little Christmas things ( she got a little crazy, but you know...she is almost 5).

Whittaker Woman said...

Girl, I look at all you do and I get so stressed out. Paper and me are not friends. I admire your work. I just could not do it! H

Kyle said...

Reading these stories makes me miss being a kid and living at home.
Traditions are so much fun. I'm certain this will be come a new great tradition for you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Jenn~I love your tree and the houses! (I have been so loving the cold temps here in the ATL, it feels like Christmas!)
The boxes are a GREAT idea :)
I just love it!!!

Life with Kaishon said...

This is so exciting : ). I love the story of your Christmas tree! So special! I also LOVE your box idea! Very clever! I think it is so sweet that you like to serve people at work. When I grow up I want to be like you : )!