What does it mean to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas? The "true" meaning is not: "spending time with family and friends" or "giving gifts and doing good deeds". It is the celebration of the birth of Jesus. What does that ideally look like? Every Christian is an individual and has different ways of making the celebration of Jesus' birth special. And sometimes it DOES involve spending time with friends and family, giving gifts and doing nice things for others. But we are all sinners. No one can create the magic of Christmas, even with a billion dollars. The more we focus on worldly "Christmas priorities" the further away we get from delving into the question of, "How would Jesus want us to celebrate his birth?" Again, we (the collective "we" of Spy Garden) are just humble sinners, trying to navigate and focus on the true meaning of Christmas in a worldly world. We feel that Christ certainly wouldn't want us to be stressed, overwhelmed, or cranky on his birthday! Here's a few glimpses of how we try to keep it simple and leave plenty of time for being cozied up in front of the fire, nice and relaxed.
Baby is working on three small canvas boards for paintings to give to some of her friends at church. The painting pictured is the one she started .
The Spy at his classroom's holiday party today (making TP snowmen)
I just love how these artichokes look:
Violet de Provence or tarantula?!
These aren't involved with any gifts we're making, but a winter walk in the garden is the perfect way to relax and focus on the simple beauty all around us: more than gift enough for me!
Wintering artichoke plant or land-lubbing octopus?!
The kids have been practicing for the Christmas Eve program at our church. Baby almost has "Away in a Manger" memorized from me singing it around the house repeatedly (HIGHLY enjoyable and I have a post coming soon about the benefits of singing, even if you are no good at singing). During the actual practices at church, there are quite a few little ones (I think 5 under 3?) so it is more like herding cats. Herding cats is a ridiculous concept. And I love all things ridiculous. So basically baby in the Christmas Eve program = bliss. She will be wearing a little lamb costume that the Spy wore in the Christmas Eve program five years ago!
We've avoided most of the hustle and bustle of the holidays involving shopping. I despise the mall, and don't think I've actually been to a mall in over a year. I read a short blurb in magazine that said something to the effect of: forgo the store-bought stuff destined for the donation pile and make thoughtful homemade gifts instead (infused oils, preserves, paintings, whatever). I usually do this sort of thing. Not (only) because I am frugal, but also because the time spent painting, cooking, cutting, and making is SO much more enjoyable (to me at least) than being at the mercy of whatever goods, at whatever store you're in, is hawking. I mean, Santa does what he has to do to fulfill the wish lists of The Spy and Baby and all the other children on earth. And elves do make the best toys. But friends, family, neighbors? A little something homemade is just the easiest and most thoughtful option in my mind. And gives Santa more time to focus on the little ones. We don't wait in any lines to see Santa because
That's not the real Santa at the mall. The real Santa is wicked busy at the North Pole.
Most evenings we are all cozied up in front of a fire. We are dreaming of a white Christmas. Bing Crosby's crooning has me in a ultra-Christmas spirit daze that has distracted me from taking any indoor photos of the coziness. I will! But for now, I am relaxed, at peace and calm. I'm FAR from perfect, but think being at peace is a perfect approach to celebrating the birth of Christ!
Spy Garden Seven Days Before Christmas