As the Black Friday mobs trekked through the malls, my Friday was a gentler, quieter day. By tradition, I always begin my Christmas decorating early. On Thanksgiving Eve, I place a single candle in each of my front windows, and I rise early Friday morning to once again carry boxes of my treasures down from the storeroom -- the Christmas season has begun.
When my children were young, my decorations were chosen with them in mind -- I recall a cardboard fireplace, a handmade Advent calendar, a Santa that squeaked, angel chimes, reindeer galore, and a tree decked with colored lights, tinsel and children's ornaments. Each year we made a special trip for each child to pick out one ornament for the tree -- a collection that they would take with them to their own homes when they were grown. Christmas in our home was child-centered.
I reminisced about those wonderful years as I carefully unpacked my "grown up" ornaments today. My tree is small now, with tiny white lights and Victorian ornaments in tones of ivory and mauve, and lovely fabric ribbons cascading from the top. My collection of St. Nicholas figurines graces the sideboard; a small group of delicate angels resides on the tea cart, tiny birds snuggle into the greenery, and miniature frames holding baby pictures of my children and grandchildren hang from delicate ribbons on the tree.
While I loved those chaotic family Christmases, today I find much peace and contentment as I sit quietly and savor the beauty around me -- the greenery, the tiny lights, the candles, the music. I am glad that I labored this morning with the many trips up and down the stairs and the careful placing of greenery and decorations. My home is filled with the warmth, the beauty, and the spirit of Christmas, and I am content to sit here alone and savor it all --