Advent: Sublime, Ridiculous and Sentimental

In honor of Gaudete Sunday, I brought out the Christmas decorations yesterday.  I used only about half of what I usually do, though I will bring other things out of the box if my family asks for them.  (At this point, I’m wondering what decorations are holiday “musts” for them, and which ones can go.)

My collection of handmade Christmas trees surrounds the empty manger.

We’ve had the Advent wreath and the empty stable out since the first Sunday of Advent.  The trees went up over the weekend.

This is our Advent wreath.  A couple of years ago, my mother-in-law found this wreath among her Christmas decorations.  It’s the one they used when my husband and his brother were kids.  We’ll use it until those plastic greens fall apart (each year we lose a little more of it.)

That’s really what Christmas decorations are all about–the sentimental value (like each and every tree pictured with my manger).  My most precious Christmas ornaments are not the pricey Belleek ball or the Lenox “baby’s first Christmas” giraffe.  The ones I treasure most are the popsicle-stick picture frames with my Big Kids’ pre-K pictures in them.  The kids’ favorites are the ceramic pierogi and the penguins, and they fight to see whose penguin can claim the highest spot on the tree.  It wouldn’t be Christmas decorating without that battle, which is why our tree did not go up on “Pink Candle Sunday” this year.  Big Brother will be home by the weekend, and we’ll get it done then.

Here’s one item that’s not going to last beyond this holiday season:  Snowman In a Bowl.

Little Brother picked this up at Lunch with Santa on Saturday.  It’s a substance with the consistency of egg white.  You pour it out of the little snowman jar.  Eyes and nose come out of the jar too.  The jar lid is the little hat, which you then pop into the bowl.  12 hours after opening this, it’s still jiggly and viscuous.  I’m glad I gave him a dollar-store bowl that I don’t mind sacrificing, because I do not know what is IN this stuff, but it’s pretty disgusting, especially when Little Brother constantly picks up and relocates the hat.

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