Growing up, I always looked forward to getting our Christmas tree and setting it up. We didn’t do much other holiday decor; the tree was magnificent on its own, sometimes with a train going round the base and among the pile of presents gathered there. At my Tio and Tia’s house, my Tio created magical little buildings by hand from cardboard with doors and windows, the windows covered with a type of glassine for sparkle, and cotton for snow. As a single parent, the tree my daughter and I set up glowed in gold and crystal with lots of little white lights. I loved those lights because they tinkled softly as they blinked on and off. With her on my lap and my arms wrapped around my precious daughter, we’d have all the other lights off and just gaze at the tree together in the quiet of Christmas … tink … tink … tink …
For holiday decorating, I still prefer simple displays, just a little bit of sparkle, enough to mark the season, but not so much as to distract me from the focus of Advent. I haven’t had a tree in years; I’m allergic to real ones and even a fake one is more work than I care to do, rearranging furniture, moving things around. Instead, I just do a few simple displays.
The first to go up at the beginning of Advent: the manger and my advent candles. The manger’s on the new etagere this year, with tiny lights to light it. As always, the angel hanging above falls if nudged even a little. Christmas tradition.
Instead of an Advent wreath, I gather the appropriately colored candles (three purple, one rose, one white) and place them on an oval glass tray with a bit of greenery, some sparkly ribbon, beads, gold ornaments and crystal gems. (Photo is from the 2nd Sunday in Advent last week.)
Those are the two most important displays for me. Everything else is just for a bit of sparkle. Lights on the etagere, garland and lights on the staircase, a glass bowl of rocks and shells to which I’ve added some ornaments and beads.
A simple, peaceful Advent as I await the celebration of the birth of a Savior.
Peace and goodness to you and yours.