… Having awoken from my Thanksgiving food coma, I am ready to tackle the season of Advent with pious gusto. The first order of business, get an Advent wreath. Last year I set the greenery on fire. I like to use real greenery around the house for wreaths and take holly boughs from my bushes, mostly because it’s free but also because it smells oh so good. When everything else is dead and bare the bright green of real garland strung around the house livens the dreary cold atmosphere of winter. I explained it to The Boy one year, Christ is coming to bring new life to the world and so we prepare our homes in anticipation of His birth with fragrant evergreens because the evergreens never die and represent that Christ will conquer death… and some other stuff I got from an Advent book.
Anyway, that part about evergreens never dying was a lie. They dry out and make perfect kindling and catch fire on your kitchen table leaving you to look helplessly on as all your dreams to be that mom go up in smoke.
Oh, and then there’s the whole Jesse Tree. And the Advent calendar. If only someone had warned me in RCIA that there were so many arts and crafts projects required to be a good Catholic mom. One year I tried to incorporate all three, in between decorating and shopping and sending out cards – which , by the way, it never fails for every 25 Christmas cards I send out there is only 1 in return. And no, ecards and texting me “Merry Xmas” most emphatically does not count. I digress. The year I tried all three looked something like this;
“Oh damn, I forget to put the little trinkets in the Advent Calendar this week. Wait, we need to make those Jesse Tree ornaments now, then we’ll sing the O Antiphons. Shoot, I forget to light the pink candle. Tom, did you sign your name to the Christmas cards; I need you to do that now! They should’ve been mailed 2 weeks ago. Now finish your prayers so I can wrap these presents. Where do you think you’re going young man?! We need to glitter and hot glue gun these ornaments. What do you mean you’re not having fun! This is what Christmas is about. Now go fix mommy a drink.”
This year I resign from all that. I got all my shopping done the weekend after Halloween. The Christmas cards are all signed and sealed. All that is left is the fun stuff – decorating the house and tree. I’ve intentionally made the pace slower so I can savor each moment of the season.
And as for those arts and craft projects; behold, my Jesse Tree!
So you see, you don’t have to try and do it all. And don’t let other moms guilt you into feeling that way either. Your kids won’t remember every artsy fartsy thing you did with them, but they will remember whether or not Christmas was a happy one with a happy well balanced family.
A very special ‘thank you’ to Sancte Pater for photoshopping the above image at my request.