Sunday, December 3, 2006

Making New or Making Do

Every year about this time I feel a crazy and almost irresistable compulsion to make all new Christmas decorations for our home. I visit beautiful shops with lavishly decorated trees and greenery and think 'I could do something like that at home'. Everything is so beautiful and appealing, and I would love for my home to have the same special appeal at Christmas. The problem is I don't have the time or energy to make all new decorations or even for a trip to Hobby Lobby to get all the 'stuff' I would need. There is also the matter of the 14 boxes of Christmas stuff we just brought down from the attic. The attic is at 'capacity load', so what I would I do with more stuff?

Every year, after this crazy compulsion hits me, I sit down with a nice hot cup of tea and think about one thing I could make or do differently - something managable, or as my mom says 'do-able'. Yesterday, I began to wonder what makes the Christmas season such a time of discontentment for so many.

I thought about my Nanny's approach to Christmas decorating. There was something so comforting about knowing that every year the same decorations would be brought out, carefully fluffed up and repaired as needed and placed in the familiar places of years gone by. Faded ribbons were lovingly replaced and the worn ribbons stored for some 'future' need. When an unfamiliar object appreared it was usually the result of a gift from my Aunt or Mom, or a 'new' craft idea picked up while on vacation in Florida. The new object became the center of conversation and it's virtues were pointed out to all with satisfaction.

My Nanny was content with what she had used for years - sometimes making small changes, but essentially making her home a special place for her family in much the same way each year. I think many of her generation approached Christmas decor in the same way. My Great Aunt had a more extensive collection of delightful objects, most of which were made by her own hand, but every year the same basic things went up in the same places and were enjoyed by all. They were raised in a 'make do' world and had that mindset. They had been through tough times, and they knew the value of making the most of what they had to work with.

We are living in very different times. Every where we look someone is telling us that we will be happy when we have that certain 'something' . In an effort to sell a product, advertisers are breeding discontent. No one wants to wait for the desired object of our 'happiness' and that's why we are a nation drowing in credit card debt.

It is any wonder that so many of us trying to reinvent our home each year? We cannot be content with the same things as last year. We need something new, something better, something different - we see what others have and we want the same things.

As much as I love to decorate and make our home beautiful, I don't want to do it because I am discontent with what I have. I want to decorate our home as an expression of my love for The Saviour whose birth we celebrate, and as extension of my love for my family. I enjoy the outlet of creativity, but I don't want to be in competition with an ideal presented in a book or magazine, or a friend who has creatively and beautifully made her home ready for the season.

My ramblings may not make sense to you but these are just a few thoughts that have been milling about in my head as I unpack the things that help to make our home a place of peace during the Christmas season.

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