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Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Christmas Makeover

I am writing this post one day after my last exhausting college final. Inside my home, except for a half finished tree and a small advent calendar, you would not know that it was Christmas. There is no wreath on my front door. There is not a single garland draped anywhere.

I am a gal who, in the past, has decorated even her bathrooms. Given that I write a blog that is primarily about making a home pretty, you can assume that yes, this is unusual for me.

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This morning as I sat in the long awaited quiet and examined my heart, I decided that I was not going to do a mad scramble to decorate our home now that I have a moments peace. I will not be rushing around trying to put up our second (and third) tree or drape every surface in glittering lights. Because what I have found, in the contemplative stillness, is that even without all of the decorations, I still have Christmas in my heart.

bigstockphoto_baby_jesus_in_manger_2393872

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you didn’t:

Decorate every square inch of your house,

buy and wrap a hundred presents,

bake a million cookies

and generally get sucked into the commercialism of what now passes for Christmas?

I cannot tell you how happy I am that I now know the answer. While it has been a very hard year for our family, I am still merry and bright!!! Indeed my entire family is joyful.

Now don’t get me wrong. I still love scenes such as this where every surface is covered in “Christmas”. Come next year I will probably be back in full force and then some.

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But I am happy to know that even without all of the tinsel, lights and garland, Christmas can be found within me. It is still beautiful and even more importantly, peaceful as a dove.

light-baroque-christmas-decorations

“If there is love in your heart and your mind, you will feel like Christmas all the time.”

Laura

35 comments :

Country Wings in Phoenix said...

Hi Laura Sweetie...
Oh I am so thrilled that you finals are over and you can breathe. I know that is a big load off your mind.

I love this post. So precious. It isn't the decorating that is important anyway, it is the spirit of Christmas, it is the togetherness of the family, and the love in each of your hearts. God has richly blessed you sweetie, in many ways this year. Even in our times of trouble, he is right there with us. 2011 is going to be magical for you. Just wait and see. Your year to shine.

I so enjoyed seeing you. You so touched my heart sweet friend. I look at these bath crystals and smile as I see you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are such a dear friend.

Many hugs to you sweetie and SO much love...Sherry

Lorrie said...

This is so true, Laura. Sometimes I think that we lose the quiet beauty and deep significance of Christmas with our desire to decorate, bake, buy and be busy. It takes moments (years) like these to make us realize that Christmas is in the heart, in the realization of God's gift to mankind.

The Polka Dot Closet said...

This is great! I just did a post on my minimal holiday decorating, Laura, I never knew it was minimal until I started blogging. I guess we will have the last laugh as we quickly pack away Christmas and other people will be picking up pine needles for 2 months!

Carol

Marydon said...

Congrats that your finals are over, sweet friend. Laura, I think it is love, sharing & giving that makes Christmas, not the decor ... & knowing you, whatever you do touch with decorations will be awesome & more than enough, as you will inspire the atmosphere with your beauty ...

I wish everyone could just touch you to feel your awesome inner soul ... you just radiate.

Have a lovely winter's eve ~
TTFN ~ Hugs & love, Marydon

Lily said...

I took my last final today too, and my home is mostly undecorated. But like you said, Christmas isn't really about the decorations. :)

Susan said...

Laura ,we decorated very simply this year due to living in this small condo. I thought I would miss all the decorations I use to put out! I found that I am more rested and am enjoying our small tree much more.

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Such a beautiful post. I love that your heart is so full of love and that you treasure Christmas for the real meaning of the season. May this be the most Blessed Christmas ever. Hugs, Marty

Yellow Rose Arbor said...

Congratulations on finishing your finals! I love your attitude, you are so right on! I still haven't done a lot of decorating, due to some health issues, I've decided to do one vignette each day. I, too, used to decorate every square inch, and put up seven trees!! What gets done by next Friday will be what it is, no pushing myself to do more, more, more! There will be ten of us here for Christmas dinner and a few days before and after.

Katherine

Bonnie@Creative Decorating said...

Well, with you being so busy I must say thank you my friend for coming by my blog!! I have had years where the most I did was put up a tree and that was two weeks before Christmas. I was miserable. It wasn't because of not decorating and doing what I wanted as much as being so stressed that couldn't even enjoy not doing anything. So, if you are able to not be stressed, you are doing great!!

Johanna said...

Hello Laura,
thank you for your visit and the sweet commetn. So I discovered your blog and love all at it. The Santa sign COMSUME made me laugh. Congratulations that your finals are over. Now your spirit is free for Christmas. And yes, you are absolutely right, Christmas happens in ones's heart, not about the decorations. Since my kids are upgrown, my decorations is much less than the years before. Your decorations showns on the last posts are superfine and very inspiring.
Have a quiet and Merry Christmas.
Greetings, Johanna

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

What a sweet and sincere post Laura!
You really touched me. I am exhausted right now trying to get everything ready for Christmas.
It is hard not to get sucked in.
You reminded me of what is important.
Hugs Friend,
Cindy

Entertaining Women said...

Congratulations on earning your degree, now that your last college final is completed. I know that you must be totally exhausted. I pray that you have a peace-filled Christmas. Thank you for stopping by my post. Cherry Kay

Linda said...

This is such a blessing to read, Laura. I took that negative comment off my fb page because you are sooooo right. :)

And, guess what - I heard this song on the radio for the first time this season, on this morning's drive to work (I haven't been listening to all Christmas music stations, but had one on this morning). I adore this song - I was singing along and choking back tears for a number of reasons. For one thing, I love to sing, and for several weeks, I suffered through laryngitis and was very depressed. So.... hearing and singing along with this song this morning, was such a blessing and then I come here and read your blog and lo and behold - here's the song again.

I don't believe in coincidences.

I do believe in the Lord's intimate presence in our lives. ♥

Merry Christmas.
Love,
Linda

Willo said...

Brilliantly put. Good for you! And I love (in a, "I totally agree" kind of way) that "Consume" Santa.

Craftymoose Crafts said...

Lovely post, Laura! It is so, so true. It is not the decorations that make the holiday, but the joy in your heart for family, friends, the simple things.

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

Congratulations on finishing your finals, and congratulations on finding Christmas in the most important place - your heart. You are soooo right. We probably would focus more on the reason for Christmas, if we didn't stay so busy trying to create Christmas in our homes. Your pictures in this post are so pretty. I wish you and your family a wonderful Christmas.

bj said...

I know just what you mean. In fact, I think there's a lot of us not decorating every single spot in our home. I have kept mine very simple this year and LOVE IT.
Have a merry and bright Christmas,
bj

Lynne (lynnesgiftsfromtheheart) said...

Congrats on finishing your finals. This was such a precious post. Happy Holidays! hugs ~lynne~

Heidi said...

Hi Laura,

Wonderfully written...I agree! I love to enjoy and celbrate the people (my family, my Jesus) more than anything!
Merry Christmas, Heidi

Lady Dorothy said...

I am relieved for you that your last final is over! *deep breath*

It is awesome to follow God's leading in something like this -- out of character for you, but oh, so right. Maybe just for this year, maybe just for this season. Hey, even if it is forever -- that's good, too!

And, sometimes just for this day. Which is what I am feeling right now. Woke up this morning to a huge feeling of being overwhelmed with just today's tasks. Your post is putting things back into perspective. Thank you. :-)

Carmie of the Single Nester said...

I so love the picture in you banner of Mary and child. Just awe-inspiring. Merry Christmas to you!

FABBY'S LIVING said...

You said it perfectly! I like to wake up to see brightness in life, to be positive and dismiss my negative thoughts because they don't help me, they overwelm me when I feel I'm not going to finish all I have to do.
I think of baby Jesus and why we're celebrating this birthday and I go on. Thank you for visiting my blog and for your lovely comments. Wishing a very Merry Christmas.
FABBY

French Basketeer.com said...

I'm in that half-done stage too, but somehow not feeling stress, it's just fun this year. This has been such a busy year for you, I'm glad you are feeling peaceful as that sweet little dove. Hope you will put on some Christmas music and enjoy~

Deanna said...

Hello Dear One!
Busy years do this to many people. My decorating is wayyyy behind and i mean wayy behind. Illness can do this to people.

If I can sing Happy Birthday to Jesus that will make all the difference.

God bless you and may you have a very Merry Christmas.
d from homehaven

fairfieldhousenj.com said...

Laura,

As long as our hearts are prepared for Christmas all necessary decorating is done. Friends and family gathered around us are the only 'presence' necessary.

Your Friend,
Deborah

Karena said...

Dearest Laura you have accomplished so much this year....you can always count on me, I am so grateful for your friendship!

I have a New Giveaway from My Sparrow, do come and enter!

xoxo
Karena
Art by Karena

Liz said...

It is true! Everyone should take a year off. I think that it would make a huge difference in the condition of our heart as well as our wallets. We have scaled back but still are in the mix big time. Sometimes I almost feel guilty if I don't "do it all".... Need to get over that!

Thanks for the reminder! :)
~Liz

Bettyann said...

Congrats Laura on finishing your exams..we have kept Christmas simpler this year for many reasons..but it calmer and more focusd on why there is Christmas..thanks for reminding us..take care..

The Pennington Point said...

Since I started my etsy shop Christmas in our house is different. I am so busy filling orders that the decorations and baking and games get pushed aside. But Christ is ever with us and we always stop and make time for Him. I may be busy, but I'm home and we are together. Merry Christmas, my friend. So glad the finals are over and you can let your brain take a rest. :) Lisa~

krys kirkpatrick said...

I also think as we get older...and the kids start to leave home...we find all that busy-ness just isn't as important. We quit buying presents and just play games and cook together and it is so much better, we pay attention to each other...and not the stuff.

Kathleen said...

I cut way back this year, just enough to make us happy. We go to my sons for Cmas, and they won't be coming here, going skiing, so I decided to go easy on myself. I will be happy in Jan. but I miss some of the things I didn't do!
All the Nativities got done, and that is the most impt!

Blessedmom's Simple Home said...

We have done limited decorating around here too. We just put up our tree yesterday (there is a little kitten around here that has made us a bit cautious) :-) I've loved the small touches, without going all out. I think my kids think I've become a bit of a Scrooge though, because our house is usually more decorated.
Have a glorious Christmas!
Blessings,
Marcia

pk @ Room Remix said...

A beautiful post, Laura. Sometimes it's good to just breathe and remember what it's all about - Christmas in your heart is the most important thing. Hope you had a good weekend!

Privet and Holly said...

Dear Laura....
You have found IT.
And you are so right,
it ISN'T about the
things, but all about
the heart. I think
that as we get older,
the volume on this
message starts to
increase. Love all
of the images that you
chose. Hope you are
enjoying peace and joy
now that your exams
are over ~ hooray!
xx Suzanne

BonjourRomance said...

A lovely post Laura, and so true. Your heart is decorated and your have your home will be decorated with those you love!
I wish you and yours a very special Christmas!
Mimi