Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tuesday's Reflection: Christmas Decorating

Even though we have celebrated Christmas heartily and merrily the last two years, something has been missing--the look of Christmas in our homes. One year we were in the midst of trying to sell our house in Madison and yes, people do house hunt in December. We kept decorations to a minimum. Not even a tree. The next year we moved into our St Paul house over Thanksgiving weekend, but our Madison house was still on the market and our bins of decorations were packed away, way in the back of the storage unit we were renting. Plus, we were tired, for it had been a busy and stressful fall. Decorating was not at the top of list. 

That was then and this is now! We spent almost the entire weekend  redressing the house, discovering what this house is meant to be during the holiday season. First, we unloaded bin after bin after bin--I didn't count how many bins, for I don't want to embarrass myself. No one would believe we have downsized or have been trying to simplify our stuff if they had seen our stacks of bins with Christmas decorations. Yet, I know over the last few years we have  eliminated other bins of Christmas decorations, but I can't quite recall exactly what went to Goodwill and the hospice resale shop, especially when I see what we still have.

Opening each bin was like unwrapping a present. Oh, I forgot about that large chalkware Santa going through his list of who has been naughty and who has been nice. Oooh, look at this box of vintage ornaments. I knew right away I would fill a large glass container with those--all that color jumbled together. Every bin was a delight, not only filled with treasures and memories of how they have been used in the past, but they became a vision for creating and living our Christmas lives in this house. 

As we converted corners into vignettes of Christmas cheer and hung garland and lights and filled a cupboard with our collection of Santas carved by our talented friend Al, and stationed in the entry area our Charlie Brown tree, which has survived several moves, and somehow found room in the kitchen for Christmas dishes, our house seemed to relax into a new stage of its long life. I wondered if the house thought perhaps it had forgotten how to "do" and "be Christmas. No way. 

Transformation is possible at any time. 

Joan Chittister in her book The Gift of Years, Growing Older Gracefully, quotes Meridel LeSeur, who lived to be 96, "I am luminous with age."(p. 39) Glowing, gleaming, glittering, glimmering, shimmering. Our house in its Christmas lights reminds me to enjoy this time of my life as a time of transformation--a transformation from the roles I have worn to the potential luminosity of my own inner being. Chittister says the "blessing of these years is the transformation of the self to be, at long last, the self I have been becoming all my life… (p. 43) and this is the "softening season when everything in us is meant to achieve its sweetest, richest, most unique self." (p. 49)

I know there will come a time when we won't want to do the full-scale extravagant decorating we have just completed, but for this year we are relishing the transformative presence of Christmas in our home and welcoming the chance to be luminous in our own lives. 

An Invitation
What transformations are you currently experiencing? What does this season, whether you celebrate Christmas or not, call you to transform in your lives? I would love to know.  


  1. Your photos are always so lovely! Thank you for sharing some of your Christmas decor with us.

  2. Seeing your house decorated for Christmas this weekend inspired me to decorate on Sunday. I intentionally put things in new places - like the Santa Als on the mantel - and that was fun. Still need our tree and I have a couple of tweaks to make but I think the house is close to being ready for the holidays.

  3. Such a good feeling to have the setting for the holidays in place--can't wait to see.


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