Tuesday, December 9, 2008

writing down the bones, or why I've posted 6 times this month

Amy once lent me a book called Writing down the Bones. I don't remember everything from it, but the gist was to give techniques to improve one's writing.

That is what I'm trying to do this month of December. I want to use my blog as a place to store those things I'd never put in my journal, or tell in a story. Things that are rolling around in my memories that I want to get down. But I feel like as soon as I say, "I'm going to write a Christmas post every day this month!" I'll jinx myself and end up with far less entries. It's kind of like I'm sneaking up on my blogging ideas, hitting them over the head and saying "Aha! You've been blogged!" Kind of like a mugging, but far less violent or scary. At least I hope.

So, since I talked about decorating in my last post, I thought that my next blog/attack would be to write about what I love about decorating. I kind of don't know where to start. My personal philosophy in decorating is this: I want to immerse my house in whatever season it is, so that each main room has it's own reminder of the current season. If there is a horizontal surface in my house, I want it festive. Or at least pretty.

This translates to a few years spent wanting as much Christmas stuff as I could gather. Some years I only asked for Christmas decorations. Lately, I try each year to pick up a few more items to cover my surfaces in red, gold, purple, and green (and any other color I happen to like). Last year, I found 9' garland at Roberts for 40 cents a piece; I bought 5 so that I could finally have garland around all the tops of my cabinets. And although I love Santas and stocking holders and whatall, I love having little reminders of the Savior out, so I have 1 "official" nativity, and several others that depict Mary, Joseph and Jesus.

One year, we visited Shane's grandparents on the day after Thanksgiving. We went to Tuacahn for their live Nativity. While wandering through the gift shop after listening to Luke 2 (I love Luke 2!), I found an angel figurine. I bought her, and used her each year as an extra angel to my nativity. Then I started using her as the angel to another nativity. Because she is so pretty, and because the angel part of the Luke 2 is so amazing to me, I started collecting angels a few years ago. My sweet husband has given me a new angel for the past 3 years (I hope this tradition continues, hint hint!). So angels are a big part of my decorating as well.

(A picture of the live nativity at Tuacahn. Ah, so pretty!)

Now, my Christmas tree is a hodgepodge thing. The first year we were married, we had the smallest tree ever created, standing about 3 feet high. But that tree was also the brightest, weighing in at over 7 strands of lights, and 3 packages of icicle strands. I had a few little ornaments (which I still have) to decorate it. The next year, we were in our house, so Shane and I made ornaments by pressing circles of fabric into Styrofoam balls (I still have them as well). Then a family member gave me all her Disney ornaments, just in time for our then-18 month old to enjoy. A few years later, my mom let me the box of ornaments from what we called our "downstairs tree," which we only put up a few years while I was in elementary school. Another family member gave me ornaments that you can put a picture in, so I have a picture of each of my kids at Christmas time for every year they have been alive (Ben has an extra because I put one of my favorite infant photo of him). Each year as I decorate the tree, I put a picture from the previous year in the ornament/frame, and hang it on the tree. Thanks to a smoking deal I got the day before Christmas last year when I found a 3 pack of trees for $6, I have these picture ornaments upstairs, sprinkled between the three trees. All the ornaments and their stories combine into a mosaic of memories that I enjoy during the month of December.

This year marks the second year that I get to decorate our piano. I'm not sure what I was more excited about when we got the piano, whether it was learning to play or having it to decorate. I think it looks best at Christmas, when I can ring the top with garland and decorations. And, thanks to a very beloved friend, I have a new book of 100 Christmas carols to learn to play. The playing of carols by this friend was what made me want a piano in the first place, and so her gift is that much sweeter.

I could probably go on forever, but these are a few bones that I want to get down about my love of decorating for Christmas. It is the one time of year when everywhere I look, I see a tangible reminder of the baby that was born in Bethlehem so many years ago. Because without his spirit to fill my house with light and memories, all these objects are just so much stuff taking up space. It is that spirit I am trying to recreate and invite to lend its warmth to everyone and everything under my roof.


Melanie said...

I want more pictures! Ever since the first time we visited you guys in your house, I've always admired the way you decorate for the seasons. I feel very un-decorated compared to you.