For the last two years decorating for Christmas has felt more of a chore than a joy. What with the cancer and a baby who wouldn’t stop crying day and night, Gary, the older children and I were exhausted. Last year I remember having got out all the decorations into the living room, and disappearing to my bedroom to cry my eyes out. Not to be too melodramatic but I was bone tired and terrified that this might be my last Christmas.
I thought I had hidden it fairly well from my children yet when I mentioned this year that we were decorating this Saturday, T11 looked me squarely in the eye and told me gently that he had not really enjoyed decorating the last couple of years. Although this saddened me, I understood. Neither had I. This year, I determined it would be different. It would have been anyway, simply because B2 no longer is awake all night and does not cry 24 hours a day. As a result both Gary and I (not to mention the children) are full of the joys of spring and ready for some fun, fun, fun!. So I got me a plan. I didn’t even tell Gary about it.
Each year decorating day includes mince pies and Christmas music. This year I took it a little further. I wanted to make sure we were all in the Christmas spirit and that some of the fun of the previous years returned. Whilst Gary and the other children were collecting T11 from his Saturday physics lesson I got to work, setting out a table with some beautiful flowers and candles:
Some Christmas cookies:
This year’s Christmas decorations:
And some hot chocolate with marshmallows:
When they returned I said nothing but allowed them to find it on their own accord:
C11 was immediately on the case pouring everyone’s hot chocolate:
C11 was very excited to be opening her little bag
And there was much ceremony whilst they all read out their individual scrolls
Someone asked whether I would be willing to share the scripture we chose. T11′s was from Jeremiah 29 – ’For I know the plans I have for you, plans for good and not evil; plans to give you hope and a future’ The older girls were given the whole of Proverbs 31 and also a separate scroll with verse 25 – ’She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future’. My little ones were given Mark 10 - ’Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these’:
Much fun was had as we made a quick job of demolishing all the food:
My gorgeous husband and equally lovely daughter
That went on and on…
This had been just what was required to get us all into the spirit of Christmas and soon we were ready to deck our halls…..
Gary and T11 wrapped all the lights around the tree and then we let all five children decorate it:
This was B2′s first time helping and she LOVED it!
So beautiful, and happy
My other gorgeous little girl
Sitting down on the job!
How blessed am I?
And here is the finished tree:
Didn’t they do well?
It was decided by all that there was something missing from the tree – edible decorations, so Gary, being the great father he is, took the four girls to choose some whilst T11 and I finished up the decorating. I enjoy my son’s company immensely and we had such a lovely, relaxed time, chatting and decorating. I did the mantle piece:
I put up our advent calendar, which L11 had filled with little slips of paper retelling the advent story:
And our wreath:
And finally I placed our Christmas book basket under the tree:
T11 concentrated on the Manger scene. Gary and I bought this 15 years ago for the first Christmas we had together in our flat. It is still the nicest I have ever seen and the detail on each figure is incredible. T11 really enjoys this part of Christmas preparations, and takes a great deal of trouble to get it just so:
We made a platform of wool and hessian and then T11 started to unpack and play around with the arrangement
He even worked on lighting, to ensure that the spotlight lit just the right area of the nativity
And here is the final scene:
On each figurine a scene pertaining to the story of that character is carved and painted onto his dress:
Joseph with a picture of he and Mary travelling to Bethlehem
The shepherd with the angel painted on his robe
And the three wise men, with scenes from their journey
The attention to detail is stunning and I always feel such joy when we take them out of their boxes.
I’m feeling incredibly blessed this Christmas, to be healthy and surrounded by people I love. What more could a girl want?