I am a total cheese, but I don't care: it really is the most wonderful time of the year, isn't it? I love the anticipation of Advent and its joyful fulfillment at Christmas. Last year was my first married Christmas, and despite my not having a job, Andrew's tiny grad student salary, and our cold, cold little apartment, I treasure the memory of it. Now, though, it's been such a gift having enough money to enjoy decorating, baking, and hunting for everyone's perfect present. I've loved dreaming up Advent and traditions for my sweet husband and I, for this Christmas and beyond--I keep needing to remind myself that I don't need to acquire an entire arsenal of ornaments, decorations, and gift wrapping supplies all at once!
Katie shares in my excitement, I think. She blogs about married life, the media, NFP, and a culture of life at NFP and Me, and because she is awesome, she's been generous enough to host a Christmas decorations linkup! Click here for decorating inspiration from other bloggers. Here's my little collection so far. For later, stockings (no, we don't have them yet!) and a nativity set are at the top of my wish list!
Do you ever dream up the perfect craft project, then struggle to get it out of your head and into being exactly how you pictured it? I couldn't wait to make us our first Advent wreath, but I initially felt like I was coming up short on inspiration. To my surprise, trusty ol' Pinterest seemed to be lacking in this particular department. My search did, however, turn up many, many wreaths comprised of children's handprints and toilet paper tube candles. So there's that. Anyway, my friend Katherine and I went to A.C. Moore after work last week, and after deliberating over the million sparkly, pretty options, I picked out these metallic berries and tartan ribbon. It was really simple, more so than I expected, to wire the garland and weave the ribbon onto the wreath, and having a lack of candleholders, we just improvised by putting our tapers into votive jars with a few marbles to keep them standing. I love to consider that this will be our family Advent wreath for a long time!
Did you catch one of my first DIYs back in the beginning for these salt dough bouquet tags? I decided to do a similar project for stamped ornaments, using Christmas cookie cutters. Since I don't have many sentimental ornaments yet, and wanted to do something beyond just the basic bulbs, I'm so happy with these! One has our names and imprints of our wedding rings, and the others say Fiat, A thrill of hope, In excelsis deo, O come let us adore Him, Rejoice! Emmanuel, and Bind my wandering heart to thee.
This hurricane glass is usually home to a little crop of fake lemons (very pretty, if not very functional), but I wanted to display something a little more festive for the season. I was so, so glad to find these sparkly bulbs at the dollar store, and I love how they look overflowing the jar!
Andrew's parents gave us this beautiful image of Our Lady of the Millenium, our favorite, as a Christmas gift last year. We display it all the time, not just around the holidays, but I've been trying to meditate on it in a special way during Advent. I love thinking of Jesus peacefully growing in Mary's womb amidst such tumultuous surroundings, and bringing peace to His mother, as well. Oh, how I need to let myself be formed in her womb, too.
What about you? I'd love to hear about your treasured Advent and Christmas items! Also, I've been wanting to settle into Advent with some spiritual reading that has to do with Our Lady, a spirit of poverty, or just the birth of Jesus in general. Recommendations, anyone?