In A Charlie Brown Christmas, Charlie Brown asks Lucy what she wants for Christmas. She responds, “Real Estate.”

As an adult, I understand this response as a sad commentary on Christmas commercialism.

I am slowly feeling the spirit of Christmas. Looking back at summer, I guess I intuitively knew what was down the road and that this Christmas my heart would thrive on giving homemade gifts; I spent the summer planning.  I’ll have the pleasure of gifting jams, jellies, and loaves of baked bread, and cookies. It feels like I’m saying, “Take that, COVID. You can be intimidating, but you are not going to curb my passion for life and love.”

Blueberry Jam

Fig Preserves

Peach Jam

Dandelion Jelly 

Homemade Bread

I am slowly decorating the house.

Usually, the day after Thanksgiving, I magically transform our house into “Christmas Winter Wonderland.” For counting down the days to Christmas, this year the girls made a sparkly paper chain. This inspired me to make a paper chain to spiral our Christmas tree. To add to the old-fashioned theme, we used only ornaments that have special family meaning.  To reflect the clear lights, I may add some feathery touches of angel tinsel. Or not.

Christmas Tree 2020 

My favorite Christmas task is decorating the mantle.

Christmas Mantle 2018

It takes me a few hours of tweaking the mantle before I’m satisfied. I’m not yet sure what will evolve this year. I’m thinking it will have a country theme and be very simple.

Knowing that my family doesn’t get sucked into Christmas commercialism, gladdens my heart. Sure, we usually have lots of lights! Can you have too many lights?! Like myself, we tend to look forward to the assortment of homemade baked goods, Christmas dinner (especially “smashed” potatoes!), meaningful presents, and togetherness.

I think this year, the feeling of Christmas is flowing slowly into our home because there’s a cloak of uncertainty and grieving. This year, everyone everywhere seems to have much to grieve – lost jobs, homelessness, food insecurity, unrealized dreams, and loved ones who have passed.

Keeping it simple.

In our grieving, join me in offering ourselves grace. Feel the emotions and allow them to flow through. Remember to look for the blessings. They are everywhere, looking for you.