I finally got to phase two of Christmas preparations yesterday, in part due to the much-appreciated and unusual off-week visit of The Domestic Goddess. Her presence encouraged me to move photos off mantel and piano and get out non-tree Christmas decorations.
This picture shows how the Holy Family has moved in with my Peaceable Kingdom. Because if you had given the Bernese Mountain Dogs a chance to go to the manger, they would have been celebrating along with the other friendly beasts. This collection started with the lion and the lamb my children put in my stocking one year.
Thank you to St. Casserole for the lovely St. Francis as well as the display box on the left. (Click the picture for a larger view.)
No, it was her idea, really.
We have pieces from four different sets living in piece together on our mantel. The basic set is wooden, but there are some fabric shepherds and an angel from a modern set that someone started for us, with one angel, and then never gave us any other pieces. It was a sweet thought. I’ve never seen them in a store here, pretty Italian figures. They came from Coleman’s in Jane Austen’s Village. Ruby, I grieve to think it’s no longer there, but was delighted to discover that the city took over the Christmas display. I feel sure we went there together, didn’t we?
Our tree is nice, though not huge, this year. It smells wonderful. The Princess hung all the ornaments, something I began to do when I was her age. I don’t know if my mother was empowering me, or just tired of it. I was sitting nearby and knitting furiously on someone’s Christmas present, offering advice ONLY when asked. Many of the ornaments hung on my childhood tree, and there are few about which I cannot tell some sort of story. The puffy fabric ornaments near the bottom, for instance, are the remains of the ornaments we hung on our first tree when #1 Son was a toddler. My mother sewed them for us, hoping they would be child-proof. They have also proven to be cat and dog-proof, and I think of her fondly when I see them.
I finally did a little Christmas shopping yesterday, and based on our discussions with the kids, all I really have left to do (other than more knitting) is working on stocking stuffers. We are trying to keep things even more reasonable than usual this year, in part because of the state of the world and largely because we really don’t need anything much. This is perhaps the most interior Christmas I’ve ever experienced, and I mean that in the best possible way. Instead of chiding myself and others to remember the true meaning of Christmas, I’m feeling it. There is something more than what we see, a light in the darkness, a hope for the future, an expression of love in the present. Will we be part of it this year?