Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas Confession

I can't sleep. I have no idea why. I have been laying in bed asking myself why am I still awake?! for at least the last five minutes. No coffee this afternoon, only decaf tea around 2. Cocoa can't keep somebody up, right? Is it the sound of the dryer? I have been mulling over my Christmas list and daydreaming about this one sweet project I'm just dying to start but there's nothing I can do about it right now. So here I sit in my cold dark living room with the quilt my mama made for me wrapped around my shoulders, at the computer doing what people like me do. Writing.

I have had this blog post simmering on the back of the stove of my brain for a couple of days now - might as well let it out now.

The 2007 Christmas Tree

Here is my Christmas confession: I haven't decorated for Christmas. Not one single thing is up. No tree, no wreath, no candles, twinkly lights or bows. Nothing. I have a wreath laid out in the garage I've been meaning to hang since the day after Thanksgiving but I can't find any of my wreath hangers and don't want to waste money on another. I have our sweet little Christmas tree that we have had for all of the last twelve Christmases that Daniel & I have been married but it's still tucked in it's box under Josiah's bed. It seems like most of my friends on Instagram have posted their "we're at the Christmas tree farm" shot or their "look at our beautiful tree" shot - but not me. I haven't done a thing.

Beth's Christmas Portrait 2004
a photo I took of Beth Christmas 2004
I posted the other day about how Christmas can be a difficult time of year for me. I get overwhelmed, I compare myself with other people, or assume that because someone's home looks like such and such on their blog that it looks like that all of the time, even though I know that's not true. I compare what I think I can't do with what I feel I ought to do and get totally lost. I get overwhelmed with shame because I'm barely keeping up with the day to day - throw something special on top of that and I'm really struggling.

I struggle with Christmas decorations. well, honestly I struggle with the whole home decor thing as a whole but Christmas decor especially. During a season that is always financially stressful it seems like a crazy added strain to our already stretched to the max budget to "waste" money on ribbon and lights and extra electricity.

But I also recognize the importance of decorating your home and the way it reflects a woman's heart. I remember the Christmas I realized my mom was struggling with my brother's death more than I had thought when the area in her kitchen that used to be filled with Christmas tins and festive decorations was completely empty. It sunk in then that her heart was still broken and empty - just like her kitchen walls.

My mom & me Christmas 2000
my mom and me on my last Christmas morning before I married making our family's traditional orange rolls
Daniel took the picture - obviously - look at my cheesy grin! 
It reminded me of one of my worst seasons of depression when in one afternoon I took down all the pictures and packed up all my pretty things. That was a really low point and I promised myself that no matter how bad I feel I would never do something like that again and I never have taken things down but lately I haven't put a lot of effort into putting things up either.

We moved into our home in July and the pictures I've unpacked are leaning against the mantle, the rest are still in boxes. Partly because I've been busy with stuff like dishes and laundry and homework and partly because I have a hard time making up my mind and an even harder time hanging things straitly and evenly but mostly because I just haven't had the emotional energy.

That is where I land when I look at my lack of Christmas decorations and I don't like what I see. I don't like the way I have been walking through life lately with this big not enough sign taped to my chest. Not enough time, not enough money, not enough energy. I think we all do this to some degree or another. Not enough space to show hospitality. Not enough wisdom to lead a small group. Not enough strength to carry that burden. Not enough fancy words to offer encouragement. Maybe I only have a little and maybe you do too but we have enough. 

I've been praying lately that God would take away that spirit of lack (not enough) and replace it with a grateful generous spirit that knows I have enough plus enough to share. It's a process - lately that process has mostly been me seeing how badly I need God to move because I am a mess. But then you already knew that.

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On the topic of homemaking and decorations I was totally inspired by The Nester's latest Christmas decor blog posts. You can see her current home but also look at her pictures for a recent magazine shoot. I love "the Nester" not just because she is Emily Freeman's sister but because, like Emily, she has such a humble transparent attitude about her. The Nesting Place isn't a blog about "look at how perfect my house is and how expensive my latest decor is" but it's a humble yet beautiful place about how she is just like me, not a lot of money but a lot of love for her family and her home and she is honoring God with money and home.

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These are her Christmas tree decorations - look! finger-knit garland and paper snowflakes!! 


  1. it is a pressure filled time of year...and we often do it to ourselves!
    I have not decorated yet either...the "Christmas cactus" is my one spot of color!

  2. You are not a mess. You are just human and flawed like the rest of us! Just wait until the kids are out of school and let them do the decorating - a pack of white paper & some scissors and I bet they can make the place look like a winter wonderland in no time! Send them out for pine cones and branches and feathers to put in glasses or bowls on the table and counters.

    We also skipped the farm this year and just went to the state fair grounds and bought a chistmas tree out of the livestock building. . there was littlerally manure . . not glamorous BUT it was still fun to tie it to the top of the car and haul it home - mostly because wesley did all the hauling. It was also a fundraiser for the childrens hospital - so there's that. Then it sat for a day with no lights, then it got lights, then about four days later I started opening my ornaments and that is just my favorite part. Me, by myself, reliving where and when. Then, picking a few new ones to add to the bunch. Then, I realized how breakable my ornaments are this year and went to Dollar tree to fill in the bottom ;)


  3. You are no more a mess than the rest of us. Some just hide it better...behind all the stuff. Thank God for helping us through our messes.

    I often have the same struggle! Try to keep your focus on what is important in life and forget the rest. It helps keep things manageable. When I get overwhelmed and unmotivated this way, I usually decide I will do something...whatever it is: clean, decorate... in a small area, like 2x2ft! And if that is all I do, clean a 2x2ft area of my kitchen counter, then that is fine. But somehow success breeds success and I tend to get more finished by expanding on that area one step at a time. You can often tell how I am doing emotionally by looking in my laundry room. It is one of the first places I start to pull things together. It is small and helps me feel like I accomplished something when it is back in shape.


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