Posted by: Morgan | December 19, 2010

Where are you, Christmas?

Christmas is only a week away, but you wouldn’t know it by visiting our home. Aside from a Christmas station playing on Pandora most days, there is nothing around to even give the idea that the holiday is so close. No decorations, no tree, no lights, no hidden gifts. I keep seeing these things when I leave the house, making me wonder why I don’t seem to miss them when I’m home all day. Christmas was always a big holiday growing up, with lots of traditions, mismatched decorations, and a detailed nativity that was missing the baby Jesus (we always said it was obviously because he hadn’t been born yet…it wasn’t Christmas day yet! I’m not exactly sure what our excuse was after Christmas day). Lately most of the posts on the blogs I follow are centered around holiday happenings, decorating and general merriment, and it occurred to me that I don’t miss anything because I have nothing ‘up’ at all. If I had even a little bit of decoration, I would definitely miss all the rest.

But just now it all changed. I was reading a blog post, about a young family’s new traditions they were creating and old traditions they were bringing from their childhood, when I suddenly smelled oranges. Mandarin oranges. And for those of you who don’t know, mandarin oranges smell like Christmas. And twinkling lights, and hot chocolate, and gingerbread houses, and go perfectly with the fresh smell of pine trees and cinnamon. I was pulled from my reverie by Emma clambering up on to my lap, and I realized I was sad that we hadn’t really started any type of traditions or fun things for Christmas with her. I think we have used the excuse that we don’t have enough money to justify all the ‘extras’ that come with this time of year, but I think I’m going to try to be thrifty and come up with some ways we can make this next week very Christmas-y and full of new traditions for my little family.

A few things I’m thinking of doing:

– Doing a little tree shopping to see if I can find something for $10 or less. It can be small, leaning and straggly. The main things I’m requiring of our little evergreen is the color green and the perfect pine smell.

– Taking my mother-in-law up on her offer of borrowing 90% of their Christmas decorations (as they are minimalistic this year and only using 10%). This includes ornaments, a tree stand and string lights.

– Creating paper chains and paper ornaments with Emma using the huge box of construction paper I have in the closet.

– Buying a ream of printing paper and using a few sheets (ok, probably more than a few) to create as many snowflakes as I can with my hands full of two kids. The most important part of this for me would be having Emma help me tape them to the windows and walls.

– Figuring out a cheap way to do some sort of “gingerbread” house. Perhaps graham crackers, homemade icing and just one little pack of candy.

– Making a specific effort to put the tree together as a family. This includes making up hot chocolate, turning on Christmas music, letting Emma help as much as possible, and dancing, of course.

– Hitting up a dollar store or Big Lots looking for four little stockings (with the goal of paying no more than $5 for all four of them). Or perhaps I’ll use my coupon to JoAnns to buy some fabric and sew some up. Again, my goal would be to pay no more than $5 for all four, but making them could be fun and I may be able to get Emma involved.

All of this seems like a lot to do in one week, with everything else that a normal day of living involves, but I really want to try for all of this. Even if I can only get to one or two, it’s still better than nothing. I’m also going to be sure to go out after Christmas to buy each kid an ornament. We started that last year by buying Emma a ceramic ‘E’ which I love. I want to try very hard to never miss a year of buying each child an ornament, and letting them choose their own when they get older.

What are your Christmas time traditions? Is there anything that you are still planning on doing this week? I’d love to get more ideas of how young families (and older ones) celebrate this time of year.



  1. That’s interesting, I was in the process of writing my most recent blog post about traditions and the meaning behind them. It’s an interesting topic of conversation to me, since I love traditions so much! 🙂
    I love doing our tree together with special treats. We also have Christmas movie nights, our favorite being “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I always do some baking of cookies…I like to put the presents under the tree for a little while before Christmas and so far lyddie has left them alone… we always do stockings. This year we decided we’d like to try to make one special family Christmas investment each year, so this year we bought a beautiful nativity set that will be an heirloom. I made us Christmas pillowcases too, haha. Next year I want a tree skirt for our tree. I always loved going with my family to drive around special neighborhoods to look at christmas lights, so we will do that this week hopefully, now that Lyddie thinks the lights are so “peee-eeyy” (pretty)! I was thinking about ways to make that special but affordable- bring along cocoa with marshmallows in travel mugs for the car, seeing if we can find a neighborhood that have hay rides (some of the ones we went to used to), etc.
    BTW, we got our first tree for cheap cheap at Walmart 4 years ago and you might have good luck there…sometimes local hardware stores also have good deals.
    We did a lot of handmade gifts this year because of money, so that has actually been really fun, although I still have a lot left to do, haha!

    Good luck! ❤

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