Call me crazy if you wish, Dear Reader, but I began writing this post in the wee hours of the morning on Christmas Eve. John.e and McKenna are still sleeping. I’m sitting here with my laptop, a coffee, and our Christmas trees lit. It’s very quiet, with the exception of the occasional meow from Maggie or Jake, and the faint sounds of the less-busy city outside.
Even though it’s only Christmas Eve morning, I’m 99% ready for the big day – at least in terms of preparations and such. My heart feels a little heavy this morning though. I should be singing carols, baking a cake, and rearranging ornaments on the tree – much like I have every other Christmas Eve, but this one is different.
This is my first Christmas without mom. I never really came out and said so in my previous posts leading up to this one, but I’m sure, Dear Reader, you must have read between the lines. After 18 months of cancer treatments and such, my mom passed away on November 17th. As much as we were totally prepared for the inevitable, one can never be prepared for the feeling of sadness and emptiness. I really don’t want to turn this post – which is supposed to be joyous and happy – into something sad and depressing, but I wanted you to understand why my annual Christmas post might not be up to my usual standards in terms of over-the-top decorations and activity.
But, I promise, Dear Reader, that I have done my best. My mom loved Christmastime more than anything else in the world, and I have honoured her memory as much as possible by celebrating it the way she would have wanted us to do so. So, allow me to share with you, our third annual Christmas post.
First and foremost, let’s talk about this year’s tree. This fall, we decided to update our living room furniture and re-paint the living room and dining room. So, with that came a new colour scheme. We decided to paint the walls a winter white with a dark gray accent wall. We purchased a new couch, two chairs, a coffee table, two side tables, a television stand, a wall shelf, a china cabinet, and a sideboard table. With the introduction of new furniture, I felt that the previous red/white colours of Christmas decorations should also change. This year, we opted for a white and silver tree. I struggled so much to find a suitable garland for the tree to replace the burlap from last year, but was unable to do so. John.e scoured Michael’s for those decorative picks for the tree, but none of them suited our tastes or budget. So, in the end, the tree was left void of garland completely, and I love how it looks! We were able to use some of the white and silver ornaments from previous years, but all of the red ornaments ended up back in storage or on the metal tree (we will get to that later.)
Here are some of the new ornaments we got this year:
In previous years, John.e and I had our own personal trees as well. This year, he kept his tree, but I forfeited my personal tree to McKenna, because she wanted a tree for her bedroom. Her tree ended up being colourful – orange, pink, blue, etc., – typical teenager! So, in all, we ended up with three traditional trees, one non-traditional metal tree, and, of course, the bathroom tree!
The metal tree I speak of was a spur of the moment purchase just two days after Christmas last year. We have not put it away, but use it for other holidays. This year, it was decorated for Valentines Day, Easter, and Halloween. Maybe in 2017, it will be used for Canada Day, Thanksgiving, and even St. Patrick’s Day! This year, it was home to some of our red ornaments from previous Christmases.
The last new addition this year was the beginning of our Lego Christmas village. I’m super excited about the potential this village has! Every year, Lego introduces a Christmas-themed item, so this year, the new addition was the train set. Last year, for my birthday, John.e gave me the two village sets – Santa’s Workshop and a Toy Shop. The challenge, of course, was finding a place to keep it away from the cats, and the next challenge will be storing it without breaking it apart. It took hours of building, so I don’t want to face that again next year!
And, here we all are in our Christmas pajamas! As you know, Dear Reader, matching Christmas pajamas is a must! I wrap them and place them under the tree to be opened Christmas Eve.
In terms of additional items, we did find the cutest stocking for Jake and Maggie – aren’t they cute? And, we did find them Santa hats with matching capes. (They really don’t like those, but they’re adorable, so we put them on just long enough to get a picture.)
Other decorations we did in previous years didn’t make it out this year. For example, we did not gussy up the bedroom with Christmas-themed bedding – we did use our Christmas sheets, but that was about it. Besides, last year’s throw was destroyed by little claws and paws. But, we managed to keep warm and cozy. Here’s a picture of John.e demonstrating how:
And, of course, I did get to do my coffee table centerpiece. This is my third year doing a post like this about our Christmas, and the number one thing I get emails about is our coffee table centerpiece. So, here it is!
The one really cool thing I did this year, was the donation to Toy Mountain with the gorgeous people I work with. In lieu of exchanging presents, a few of us got together and donated toys to the charity. It was the best day ever at the office and a great feeling to drop those toys off to the collection box.
Baking this year was excessive! I hope you’ve taken the time to look at some of the festive recipes I’ve posted this year. If not, here are a few pictures. I brought a large selection of baked goods to my work potluck, as did John.e. Then, instead of packaging up goodie bags and delivering them to our neighbours, we plan on hosting an afternoon tea and having our neighbours and friends drop by.
You can find a full list of Christmas-related posts and recipes here: CHRISTMAS!
Lastly, I have to put this in here – this is probably the best Christmas present I received this year. Not only is it one of my favourite books, but the inscription embodies what Christmas is all about for me – him and her.
I think that about wraps it up, Dear Reader. Thanks for sticking with me through this very long-winded post. And, thank you for a wonderful 2016. I’m sure 2017 will bring us good health and prosperity. Happy New Year!