‘Tis The Season . . .

The Christmas season is definitely upon us. If you’ve shopped (I laugh at this – of COURSE you’ve shopped!), you’ll know that Christmas stuff is on the shelves along with Halloween. If you have a Hobby Lobby in your life, you’ll know that there are some Christmas things out year-round. And that’s OK. Crafters can’t wait until October to start projects.

My projects at Christmas revolve around two areas – decorating and cooking.

2016-12-03-23-08-38For some reason I feel the need to decorate most of the nooks and crannies of my house. Every year I say I’m going to cut back, not have my house look like North Pole South, but once you get all those boxes OUT, I mean, you may as well do SOMETHING with it, right? I pick up a Santa or a Snowman and remember where I got it, a funny anecdote that happened in years past. When the ceramic nativity scene comes out, I remember that my sister-in-law got that for us early in our marriage, and that it was crafted by a special-needs sheltered workshop in the area. The mantle just doesn’t look right without the Holy Family in the center.

2016-12-03-23-08-08And then there are the Christmas tree ornaments. SO. MANY. ORNAMENTS. We’ve had to start putting them on from most important to least important. For some reason the Cracker Barrel store and the Scrabble board ornaments always make their way on to the tree when I’m not looking.

But the cooking – I’m talking fudge, peanut butter snowballs, truffles, spiced nuts, party mix, cookies. It’s the candy I love the most, although I have a new recipe for spiced pecans that are out of this world. Really.

spiced-pecansThe best part of the holiday prep, though? Getting ready to have both my daughters home for the holidays. This week the youngest finishes her next-to-last semester of college and will be home, and next week my oldest and her boyfriend will be flying in from NYC.

So, I have candy to make, more spiced nuts to make (because my husband and I have demolished the first batch), gifts to wrap, Christmas music to sing and play, and a house to prepare.

Then, I will rest. I will enjoy my family. I will sit on the couch and look at the twinkly tree and Nativity on the mantle. I will love the life God has so graciously given me.

I hope you all have a Merry, blessed Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

Warm hugs,


merrickchristmas2014P.S. Selfies and bifocals do not mix well – but I love this pic of us!


So Not Ready

Every year, my husband wants the tree up early. I’m talking practically Halloween early. I love Christmas. Love my tree, but if it goes up too early, it’s in the way and gets on my nerves. I held him off until the week of Thanksgiving. He brought it in and put it up himself.

But I’m the decorator. I didn’t have the time or the energy this year. I’ve had to really focus on the book I’m writing in order to meet my deadline amidst countless distractions. So the tree sat there for almost a month with no decorations. Thank goodness it’s pre-lit, so it still looked pretty and every night, my husband plugged it up.

I wanted to finish my first draft before my son got out of school for Christmas break. I was on schedule with two and a half days and four thousand words to go. But then he got sick, so I had to keep him out of school. I stayed up until three AM the other morning and finished the book.

It took all my energy and brain power, so now I’m catatonic. But my son and I finally decorated the tree last night. Why bother when it’s only six days before Christmas? For this blog. How could I talk about what we do for Christmas when our tree stood bare?

So about the tree—it’s white. You see, I have matching issues. Green just doesn’t match my house. Two years ago, I saw it. Beautiful, white, pre-lit with multi-colored lights. The lights look pastel against the white branches and I love pastels. I know that red, sage, and gold are the in colors. But I’m a pastel kind of gal even when those colors aren’t ‘in’. But I’m cheap. So I wouldn’t buy the tree.

The next year, I went out to the shed to get our green tree out and to my delight I found the white pre-lit tree. For a few minutes, I couldn’t imagine where it came from. Then I had a vague memory of snapping it up for twelve bucks the day after Christmas the year before. I don’t know how I forgot that. I usually remember when I get a steal of a deal.

Anyway, my living room is mauve, thistle, pale aqua, and off white. Thistle is my favorite color and no one knows what color it is. It used to be in the Crayola coloring box. It’s like a mixture of mauve and lavender. So guess what color my ornaments and decorations are. Yep, they match the living room, plus some gold thrown in just because I love gold.

Other than typical ball ornaments, I have gold ribbons and iridescent nativity scenes, stars, and doves. But remember, I’m cheap. I’ve bought ornaments after Christmas at half of half off for years until I finally got enough to cover the tree to my satisfaction. My son really doesn’t get why we decorate the back of the tree. I even got  a gold tree skirt last year for $1.50. It’s so pretty, I almost want to wear it, like Berniece from Designing Women. It’s way too pretty to cover up with gifts.

I try to make our tree reflect what Christmas is really about. Right down to the wrapping paper, which has Bible verses, nativity scenes, or angels which is increasingly hard to find. So each year when I find it, I stock up. And I’m willing to pay full price for it. That way for the years I can’t find it, I’m still set.

There’s only one slight problem. It happened last year. We bought new furniture. I love my pastel flowered couch, which was hard to find since that style is so out of style. But it’s bigger than the furniture we had before and there’s no room for the tree.

We ended up putting it in the dning room and I like it in there. But my dining room is peach and off white. So my ornaments and thistle garland match my living room, but the tree is in the adjoining dining room. I’ve put up with it for two years now. Peach is out or I would’ve hit the stores after Christmas last year. No peach this year either.

By next year, I’ll either have to rearrange the living room to make the tree fit or buy new  ornaments. Maybe peach will be in by then. Maybe I subconsciously put off decorating the tree this year because my everything-has-to-match psyche just can’t take it.

As far as traditions, we attend the Trans-Siberian Orchestra each year. It was as awesome as usual. And we put one of their CD’s in the stereo when we decorate the tree, even when we do it six days before Christmas. At some point during our family gatherings and church services, my husband reads The Tale of the Three Trees and he always cries, so others always join him. I love that Christmas is on Sunday this year. It just feels right to be in church on Christmas.

We don’t have any dinners at our house. I do my best not to cook the main meal and so far I’ve gotten away with it. I’m a side dish and dessert kind of gal. Other than the tree, I don’t decorate. I did when we first got married, but I soon realized it’s a pain to store and a pain to put up and take down each year. So the tree is all I do and I’m happy with that. Or I will be once I find some peach ornaments.

I even have shopping left to do and I haven’t done my Christmas cards yet. At least I know what I’m buying for the few remaining gifts I need. I just have to get it done. The Christmas cards have to wait until we get our annual family picture taken. We’re scheduled for that tonight. They’re supposed to be back on Christmas Eve and Christmas is Sunday, so we can pass out cards with our pictures inside at church. Can you say cutting it close?

Maybe next year, I’ll be more ready. With my peach ornaments and Christmas picture taken in November and my cards mailed on December 1st. But I doubt it. I’ll probably fly through by the seat of my pants like I always do.

I threw in the picture of my shoes just for fun. More of my matching issues. I just don’t feel put together unless my shoes match my outfit. In my defense, about half a dozen of my shoes were given to me, several in black. I don’t often buy black. Why get black shoes when you can buy orange, gold, yellow, pink, peach, aqua, and red? And the majority of them were on sale or I had store coupons. Hmm, I wonder if I’ll get any shoes for Christmas?

Do you have all your shopping done? Do you have matching issues, or is it just me?