Unsurprisingly, I like to decorate for Christmas the same way I like to decorate the rest of the time--simply, putting hand-me-downs to good use, re-purposing in creative ways, making instead of buying when I can.
For me, this is the most wholesome and refreshing and in-the-spirit way to approach Christmas. I've been very conscious this year, perhaps more so than in other years, of keeping my focus on Jesus, of nurturing peace in my heart and in my home, and making this most special holiday simple, lovely, and joyful.
As I look around our home the words "Homemade Christmas" jump into my mind. My brothers and I were raised on gluing together our own ornaments, baking and frosting warm sugar cookies, stockings that were sewn by Grandma. And I suppose I've now adapted that homemade spirit for adulthood.
Instead of purchasing an expensive garland for our mantel, we asked for the discarded evergreen trimmings we saw in a pile at a local Christmas tree farm. From those I had more than enough to fill our mantel and transform my fall wreath into a wintery one. I found some holly (holly look-alike maybe?) in our yard and stuck a few sprigs on the wreath, and I dotted the mantel greenery with some of the leftovers from this unexpected fall bouquet. I foraged for the red berries during a walk to the park.
Our advent wreath is a little on the makeshift side but I love its simplicity. These greens also came from this bouquet. We arranged them in a rustic circle and set out four white votives and a larger Christ candle in the middle.
Everything is so simple and wintery and the only thing we've purchased (other than gifts) is our mini live tree. I felt so content and peaceful as I unwrapped things we already had and found a place for them in our new home, as I snipped berries from the tree outside our window, as I positioned baby Jesus and Mary in the place of honor on the mantel.
So while it's certainly nice to have the traditional pink or purple Advent candles, I don't think Jesus minds that we've chosen to honor him with plain white votives instead. After all, Christmas isn't about acquiring things and it isn't about perfection. It's about love and joy and celebration and family and it's about a heart-bursting kind of hope.
In that spirit, a Homemade Christmas sounds just right to me.