Creating a prefect Christmas

December 13, 2006 at 3:17 pm | Posted in charity knitting, Christmas, country living, dating, faith, family, free knitting patterns, Holidays, humor, knitting, love, romance | 17 Comments

Fireflys Teddy Bear TreeThat’s what we dream of each year … isn’t it? And, what is the perfect Christmas?

Is it the vision on a television commercial, or is it reflected in a perfectly decorated set on a movie? Is it the scene you see drawn and painted on Christmas cards? Perhaps a vision of Christmas from when you were a child and everything still felt like exquisite and unchallenged magic?

Side Bar: My eBook, “A Christmas Story” is available now to download. You may click on the picture at the right, or follow this link to get to the download page for more information about the story, the price, etc. Please remember that at least 50% of the proceeds from the eBook sales will be donated to our local Habitat for Humanity affiliate. The money donated from the sale of this eBook–100% of it–will go directly into the funds needed for the house that is currently under construction for a local single mother and her three children.  You can either download the book online then print it out, or order a CD to be shipped to you.

Back to the Blog: Each year there is a plan that begins forming in the mind. The gifts, the food, the decorations, the activities, the smiles, the joy, the … perfection.

When I was in my twenties, a young mother, an awkward housekeeper, an aspiring writer … the dream would begin forming sometime in early fall. It would grow, and I would work, and the dream glistened and called me forward. The closer to Christmas it was, the harder I worked at bringing the elements of my physical world into alignment with my golden city dream, sitting on the glowing top of Mt. Imagination. Stress would inevitably take hold, often I would get sick just before the holidays because of the stress and the worries and the overspending and the pressure of it all.

Fireflys Teddy Bear Tree detailChristmas would come, many things would yet be undone. Of course the holiday was beautiful and sweet, but bittersweet a little bit too because of the stress, the flu, the breads that were never mixed and baked, the extra special touches to the presents that never quite materialized. The golden glitter of the perfection I had dreamed was sprinkled here and there across reality, but did not fully adorn the picture as I had dreamed it would.

What is amazing to me, looking back on it, is that it took me so many years to realize that was how it worked and that, the truth be told, it’s all good. It’s all cool. There was no need to stress, ever. Not ever.

The truth of the matter is, at least for me, I know for a fact that I will not ever reach the summit of Mt. Imagination when it comes to Christmas. Christmas has a deadline, each and every year. And I have a BIG, BIG imagination. My Mt. Imagination is tall and the fact of the matter is, I get tired sometimes and have always had a lot of other responsibilities than just this Christmas season game.

So, one year I realized I could just let go. I would dream my dreams of the perfect Christmas, but I knew the mathematical probability of my ever pulling it off was very slim. Slim indeed.

However, I could dream the perfect Christmas up in my mind, and I could add to it all I wanted. After all, Mt. Imagination is free to become and be whatever you can make it. And I say, make it big and grand because you need to aim high. Not just at Christmas, but in life. Aim wildly high. Wildly high.

Your aim at Mt. Imagination will pull you along. And here is the secret I have discovered … enjoy the road along the way. Relish and delight in the obstructions and the glories and the momentary accomplishments and details and don’t forget to look at the single individual flower growing by the side of the road along the way. The details of the journey are grand. They are in fact grander than we give them credit for I believe.

Fireflys Grapevine WreathWhen I share my photos with you and I tell you of the beauty of the cornfields, the temperature, the cottage, the rain, the knitting, the food … I’m just sharing my love of the details with you. I believe key to my own personal journey and finding this lovely place along the way is that I came to feel such utter and sincere and simple, clean gratitude for it all. I even came, finally, to love and appreciate Los Angeles a bit before I left to come here. I had resisted Los Angeles for many years; resented Los Angeles for tangling me up in its twisted vines and brown grasses for so many years, lost in details I didn’t much care for.

But, I did come to love and appreciate Los Angeles and Southern California there at the end and I was glad it had come to that, because really so much of the things I am grateful for in life happened in Los Angeles. That’s where we were cowboys, where my children were born, where my family (mother, father, brothers, sister) shared the best, the very best years of our lives together.

So, how do I create a perfect Christmas now? I dream, just as before. I picture it all perfect in my mind and I build Mt. Imagination up to and beyond the clouds. And then I relax and start creating. Whatever I can manage to do within a sane budget and without making myself or those around me crazy, I do. And, I am willing to let go of any number of things that are very nice dreams, but are not make-break points in the creation of a perfect Christmas.

To create a truly perfect Christmas this is what I do: as I create, as I work on decorations, or food, or gifts, or stories I consider and reconsider the true meaning of Christmas. Because Christmas isn’t in any of those details anyway. The Whos down in Whoville had it right: it is all within us and what we create together and it is all about love. Brotherly love, love for mankind, generosity in spirit, kindness of heart and temper. Smiles, touches, gladness. It is about the healing touch that someone named Jesus Christ brought to a troubled planet a little over 2,000 years ago. No matter who or what Jesus Christ was or is in your own opinion, he did bring a healing touch to this planet. Man, prophet, or son of God he brought a much needed healing touch that left a profound and ever growing mark upon our world. We could use that touch today and today we each have the capacity to deliver that healing touch unto each other. That’s Christmas, in its perfection.

I was planning on telling you this morning about my teddy bear tree. It is a creative solution to a problem. For me, Christmas trees have always been a very important part of our Christmas celebration. Large, live, beautiful trees bedecked with ornaments made by hand, ribbons, popcorn, etc. For my husband, not so. He lived here on this farm for a long time by himself and for the past nine years did not set up a Christmas tree. He doesn’t like the idea of purchasing a cut tree which is what I have always done. We agreed early on I would compromise with him and we would have an artificial tree. He had one stored in a closet that he had not looked at in many years.

When he got it out the other day, it wasn’t what he remembered and it wasn’t what I expected. It was smaller than I had hoped, and more artificial looking than he remembered. It was actually a little depressing for me when I saw it, and I struggled with what to do. I didn’t want to create a problem with my dear husband, but the tree was a bit of a culture shock to me. I felt a bit like Charlie Brown’s little sister when she is out in the pumpkin patch with Linus on Halloween.

So, I did the only logical thing a woman can do at a time like that. I took a nap. A long, long nap.

When I got up we talked about the tree and as it turns out we both agreed it wasn’t what we wanted. I told him I was willing to try to work with it and see what I could do, and he said he was willing for us to buy a very nice, large, scrumptious looking artificial tree. Still, I wanted to try to create a feeling of love for that little tree. Even though it was artificial, it just seemed wrong to reject it in my mind the way I did. I literally felt bad for the little thing.

As it turns out, my sister-in-law has an “extra” artificial tree that is large and plush and so forth and we are going to use that this year, rather than the littler one we were struggling with. My husband offered to take the littler tree upstairs for me to use in my “teddy bear” area. I haven’t told you about my teddy bear area yet.

Fireflys Teddy Bear Tree detailBefore I met my husband face-to-face, we already knew we were getting married and had discussions about the house and what we might do with it, how we would create it into a home for the two of us, etc. He told me about a little landing at the top of the stairs that he thought would be a good place for my teddy bear and miniature furniture collection. Though most of my belongings are still in Los Angeles in storage, I did ship my teddy bears and some of my miniature furniture here just before we got married.

Last night I put lights on it, and as I was arranging my teddy bears around it, I started putting teddy bears in it. And soon it was the center piece of a glowing, warm, and perfect Christmas setting. When my parents and son are here this Christmas, that is what they will see when they come upstairs to go to bed at night. So, the little tree that wasn’t quite right as it turns out is just perfect.

And, life continues to be beautiful. But, I have to say, I do have a hand in making it so. This incident with the little tree could have become a real “incident” if it weren’t addressed with love, affection, and regard by both of us.

The spirit of Christmas reigns and it is perfect in its imperfection.

Here’s wishing you a perfect day.

~firefly

P.S. The wreath is one I made from grapevines that were growing on our barn, pinecones gathered from our yard, and other ingredients provided by dear friends and loved ones nearby.

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17 Comments »

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  1. The perfect Christmas, I agree, I always have in my mind how I want it to be. I love the traditions that come with Christmas. Finding the perfect tree, decorating the house, making cookies with the kids, being with family & friends, spending time with my husband, delivering gifts & food to needy families. I wish I could slow time during Christmas then maybe I could do more but then again they are all things that I should be doing all year long.
    Love the bear tree, it looks like a happy tree!
    Hope you have a happy day!
    Ann

    PS Thanks for writing! I plan on checking out the book too!

  2. I agree, I’ve become much more calm during the holidays after lowering my expectations. I’ve also found it helps not to expect the same things every year. Some years I just have more energy and inspiration than others!

    I love how you found a use for the little tree. I can imagine it on the landing where your family will be staying, and it sounds lovely. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

    Oh, and I ordered the book…it’s a very sweet read and I love the pictures. The kids in it are darling!

  3. Love to read the comments of your readers as well as your writings. I am thankful that you are 1) using your gifts to brighten up all of our days(readers) and 2) You are sharing your life with us. You give me hope.

    After this last blog I am left with the realazation that I have stopped “dreaming” altogether and just take what I get at Christmas in terms of how much money I can spend, whats on sale, the mood of my household. I am in total reaction as opposed to creation of my holiday. That explains where I am in general.

    You are a “er” writer, painter, knittor, crafter, photographer, baker. You are a verb in action. Interesting thought for me to ponder.

    Thank you for this blog- for making me think about dreams, and faith, and joy.
    Cindy

  4. Once again, you beautifully sum of the feelings of the season. Thank you.

  5. Your teddy bear tree is adorable. I would never have guessed its “Charlie Brown” roots if you had not told us. Instead of wrapping your tree with Linus’s blanket, you wrapped it with treasured bears. No wonder it looks so happy.

    The wonder and spirit of Christmas is within us all. Just reach inside to find it.

  6. You are just so good with words, I just wish to let you know you bring joy to my life every time you share a little of “yourself”.
    The dilemma of the artificial tree, versus the live tree – Here in Denmark it is possible to buy live trees with roots and soil. Of couse they’re only about 3-4 feet, but you get the joy of being able to plant the tree in the garden afterwards.

    And we can buy the really big cut-down trees here too, that is what is most common. To me it will not be a real Christmas without the smell of the tree on Christmas Eve.

  7. Just fabulous! I never would have suspected that gorgeous tree was the “little” one you were talking about. OMG, I hear my feelings in your writing sometimes. I would have felt sorry for the tree too. Just like your teddies and critters, I swear I can see their personalities.

  8. I thought the little tree was your main one two, but having more than one tree seems to be unique to North America. It looks lovely and homely and radiates love.

  9. When I was a kid, my mom bought an artificial tree (the horror!!). It was a stunningly ugly tree, like a bouquet of green bottle brushes. Oh, it was awful! So we kids decided that we would have our own tree. We “liberated” a small tree from the woods near our house, and decorated it with the old, cracked glass ornaments which had been our grandparents’ in the early part of the century, old Christmas cards hung with red yarn, and popcorn strings. It was the most beautiful tree I had ever seen, and a tradition was begun that year to have a small tree for the very old ornaments. This tradition has come in handy when little babies and new puppies have joined the household, as the tree will always be small enough to pick up and put in a safe place (I don’t want those ornaments to break!). Oh, and your wreath is very beautiful.

  10. Oh, so cute teddy bear! I always loved Christmas, just that Christmas doesn’t seem too real at my location — summer all year round 😦

  11. The tree is perfect. I love the Teddy Bear tree. I just love reading your blog and the comments.

  12. Thanks for your writing. Again, I read and feel both comforted and inspired. I too have big Christmas dreams and always seems to lack the time, money or energy to bring them all to fruition. I am in the midst of the tug of war between being overwhelmed with worry & stress and enjoying the journey. With a daughter who is in love with Christmas, I think that enjoying is really the order of the day. Thanks for your truthful observations of your own life.

    I also thought that tree was your big own. It is so cute. It really is amazing what decorations and lights will do for something. Light’s improving effect upon things, like the Light of the World Jesus.

    Thank you.

  13. I love your Christmas tree, your Teddy Bears and especially the Grapevine wreath! You are so Artistic and talented in many domains! 🙂

  14. Thanks for sharing so much, Firefly. I am new to knitting, this year (along with daughter one and daughter two), so we are learning as we go. And, I am MORE new to blogging. (I’m sure wordpress is much better than what I use. Hmmm. . . ) Knitting has become so important, so therapeutic to us all. Your Teddy Bear Christmas place is wonderful. We, too, find that to keep in mind the real meaning of Christmas keeps the season “bright”. In fact, we have sort of a Christmas-state-of-mind all year long. I’m going to remember, and follow your wisdom, as needed — sometimes it would be wise to “take a nap” and see what happens LOL. There are many days that I stop and have tea with you. Which reminds me that you would love one of our favorite recipes. . . . “Dark Brown Nut Bread”. I will try to post it soon. Merry Christmas to you and your family, and we appreciate all that you share.

  15. Thanks for sharing your story. The tree looks “much loved”, and looks like it was always suppose to be. You are right that Christmas turns out alright. This past Saturday, we had a drip in the ceiling that turned into a large 2’x2′ hole. It cannot get fixed until after the holidays, the contractor is so busy. I have two choice, get mad or just deal with it. My family just shifted the plans, SIL offered to have the party, and life will go on. Merry Christmas.

  16. Reading your blog this morning made me feel I was looking into a mirror. I love this time of year mostly because it’s family oriented and I love to be creative and it is a very nice outlet for that part of me. Your words summed up how I feel every year. I work full time outside the home, so I try to take what days off I can before the big day to relieve the stress of getting “everything done”, then when that doesn’t happen, it really isn’t so much a big deal. It works for me. This year, there aren’t much creative juices flowing. My husband and I are going through something…not sure what….It all began (with me) about decorating the outside of our home. I guess I should have taken a long nap!

    I wish you and your family a perfect Christmas holiday! It looks as if it is already there.

  17. My mom, brother & I would fight about the tree each year too. She wanted a live tree and Bro & I didn’t agree on the “killing” of trees for xmas. The last couple of years my mom was still alive, we compromised and she got her live tree, a smaller one, with roots, planted in a pot and which after xmas got planted in our garden or someone elses. That way we all had what we wanted.
    The past 2 years, my dad gets a center piece that is made of cut off branches from other trees and looks like a miniature xmas tree. I’ll make a picture of this year’s version and put it up on my blog 🙂
    Cheers Eva


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