What were your fondest memories of Christmas growing up?
Me? I loved decorating the tree, participating in the Statesboro Jaycees’ Empty Stocking Fund, and spending time with my family. This year I am miles and miles away from my family, so my husband and I are trying to create our own traditions and memories for years to come. So this year we went on a search for the perfect real tree (per request from the husband) and found out that we are not the best at picking the perfect tree once getting it home and finding that it is just a larger version of a Charlie Brown tree. I will say it has character that I am trying to stifle and cover up with lights, ornaments and garland. The hub’s says, “my non-existent rest of the year OCD is rearing its ugly head,” funny I have to agree with him. In my defense, I want to decorate my home at Christmas time, as well as all year-long in a way that brings me joy and comfort.
So, I shopped this year for those fun but perfect pieces of decor that caught my eye. A few of these would be the silver and white deer, the centerpieces that boast candles, cinnamon sticks, and pine cones. I already had a good collection of Christmas gnomes so they too are on display. As I decorated, I found myself enjoying the process and my OCD simmering to a slow burn. I found my creative flow; and I feel in the end the tree with the gaping hole in the center, tree lights that tested my sanity, the ribbon bows around the deer necks, hunting down all the ornaments I bought from trips scattered around my house (organized chaos, or maybe just chaos), fairy lights that gave me a fit to untangle, LED candles that didn’t want to stay on, and presents wrapped under the tree; that I wholeheartedly accomplished the right level of Christmas joy and comfort for me to be proud to say I have decorated a house to make it feel like a Christmas home in a country that I never thought I would feel completely happy living in.
Traditions that the hubs and I have started here are:
- Advent calendars of some capacity – This year the hubs got a beer advent calendar and has been enjoying tasting craft-style beers throughout Germany. I also, sent my niece and nephew (that love to read) an advent calendar of books, and it has been a joy seeing them open them through photos.
- Christmas gnomes– I try to buy a new one each year, this year I did not have to do that because my really good friend gifted me one on my birthday. Instead of Elf on a Shelf in our house we have gnome on the roam.
- Collecting ornaments from our travels – Several of the ornaments above are from my travels since living in Europe. I have one from Paris when I went with several of the TABBC bunch for a literary trip to Paris, I have a Night watchman ornament from Rothenberg o.b. Tauber, and one from Strasbourg, France. I can’t wait to collect ones from my travels this year also.
- Visiting Christmas markets – We try to visit at least one new one each year. This year, we visited a very small, but crowded one in Boblingen, Germany.