Family

Simple treasures

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Mind over matter is what I keep telling myself.  I had no idea how hard it would be for me to change my consumer mindset.

After returning from early morning Black Friday shopping I got online and cyber-shopped.  This year I know what I am searching for and am trying to find the best deals.   As my inbox gets inundated with retail emails I inevitably end up on their websites perusing items I had no intention of buying.  Several times as I filled my online carts I had to tell myself to close the browser and to stop looking.  It is ingrained in my holiday and giving psyche to shop impulsively and get the retailer’s high.  I already have the items needed for creating my consumable gifts AND the two items, drawn for the hubs and myself for the family gift exchange, are en route via UPS.  It took me a total of thirty minutes to complete my required Christmas shopping.  Problem is, I can’t seem to stop.

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I physically stepped away from my computer and decided it was time to decorate; much to the hubs’ annoyance.  I hauled boxes indoors and my Christmas elf, with reindeer antlers, heard me and joined in the fun.  The grumbling hubs yelled to the older sons to turn off the computers to get this decorating ordeal over with.  Bah humbug!  As they took care of the outdoors the youngest and I unwrapped ornaments from boxes and tissue paper.  Each year it feels like we are opening Christmas gifts as we handle the ornaments that we gaze upon one month out of the year.   I had a renewed sense of decorating purpose after perusing Pinterest and realized that, over the years, I have collected the classic patterns of tartan plaid.   It became fun to scavenge amongst my home for my plaid tablecloths and ribbons.  Most years when a theme inspires me I am off to the home decorating and craft stores adding more bulk to the storage boxes in our garage.  Last year it was silver and gold metallics.  This year I am saving money by rediscovering what I have AND have my classic theme! Priceless!

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When the boys returned indoors they shook their heads.  Mom has gone over-the-top stated the eldest as they stared upon our artificial tree.  But the youngest and I stood back and admired our handiwork.  Our normal tree looked quite different with a few simple touches and tricks-of-the-tree decorating trade.  We added artificial flowers to fill in gaps and oversized bulbs in coordinating colors; adding interest to my collection of ornaments from over the years.  Each ornament tells a story.  The Crate & Barrel glass ornaments with ships inside were delivered to our former Virginia Beach home after our wedding.  Only 3 of the 8 remain after the cross-country move and five more moves since.

The Hallmark and Pottery Barn framed ornaments have been collected since our eldest was born; a tradition I decided upon during his very first Christmas.  I had been inspired by my in-laws when, much to the hubs’ shock and surprise, they gave us a collection of Star Trek ornaments they had collected over the years.  They, and the hubs, are avid Trekkies and my mother-in-law purchased two each Christmas; one for her home and unbeknownst to us, one for ours (his sister is NOT a Star Trek fan).  Each year our upstairs balcony showcases the 20+ Star Trek ornaments to the oohs and aahs of our sons.   It was then that I pondered something to pass down to my sons someday.  Thus, I frame each son’s picture from birth through age 17.  Someday I will give each son 18 ornaments to place on his own tree IF I can bear to part with them.   These are my favorites.

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Simple traditions.

Today I had promised the hubs to plan nothing on our schedule.  The house was decorated and clean and I found myself dressing to go shopping!  I physically had to stop myself and headed downstairs to light the first Advent candle.  What would I do with myself?  No laundry.  Dishes were put away.  Gifts were bought or en route.  Crafts were done.  Schedule was clear.  I sat on our couch, turned all the lights on with the remote and attempted to clear my mind.  I thought of all the deals and sales I could be perusing.  Instead I forced myself to quietly sit.  To clear mental head space.  To gaze at the decor and enjoy it.  To remember the reason for the season.

This.  Is.  Hard.

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The hubs laughed at me as he found his lost and forlorn wife trying hard not to do anything.  It is my nature to jump in, head first, into the holiday madness; creating more work and stress for myself and those around me.  He made me a cup of Indian black tea, patted me on the head and left me to my own devices as he returned to the man cave to open his nothing box.  My eyes eventually fell upon my personal Christmas tree; given to me by my bff so many years ago.  This tree holds the coffee, drink, wives and book club ornaments collected from years past.  The light bulb turned on.  I know what to do.

And so, book-in-hand with my cup-of-tea I sat on my couch and read the rest of the day away.  Happy first day of Advent.  Bruno Mars’ Treasure song plays in the background.  Simple pleasures.

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