This December, in our daily Advent box, some drawers open to reveal a sticker for each child to put in their sticker collection book. There are a few drawers, though, with slips of paper tucked inside describing an activity, an outing, or a treat to share.
Today, our first activity arrived: decorating! Coo and I took a trip to town yesterday and chose the tree for this year: a short, potted tree with a fragrantly yummy scent. It has been aptly [albeit ridiculously] christened "Prickles". Mama's secret plot to stop the shorter people in the family from playing too much with our Christmas ornaments, many of which are ancient and fragile: buy the tree with the sharpest needles!
Prickles is adorned with lights, a rather short string of popcorn, and an even shorter string of dried apples. Much of the original amount of apples and popcorn had been consumed before I'd begun the strings!
The Christmas ornaments, whose familiar faces we missed last year when we decorated our tiny tree with only paper snowflakes and lights, came out of their two-year retirement to take their place on Prickles' protectively sharp branches.
We joined a group of friends on Friday morning for a wreath-making session and came away with two wreaths: a larger one for the front door and a smaller one to hang inside, above the door. Both are made with fresh pine branches and they smell lovely.
Decorating in the kitchen/dining room area is still not finished; I need an evening sewing session to finish the Christmas bunting and flags that will be hung in the dining room. And there are a few things yet to be done with our Nativity table, which is being enhanced by the bonkei garden this year. The rather Mediterranean-looking, mossy, stony garden is surely an improvement on cotton snow, considering that it's highly doubtful that Bethlehem was covered in snow for Jesus' birth!
In our daily Common Prayer reading this morning, we enjoyed this beautiful rendition of the Magnificat:
It was a fitting, uplifting start to our day, which is ending now in tiredness, reading, and rain. But with a beautifully yet simply decorated house, ready to receive the festivities of the season.