Ahhh...the time is close. I just finished wrapping the last of the gifts. Well, nearly. There's one last gift left to come, on Christmas Eve Day according to LLBean. Seems LH saw the catalogue lying about and took a hankering after some "Wicked Good Slippers" and off I ordered them while dinner was baking! So, it looks like I have one gift to wrap on Christmas morning while LH is showering.
The mantel is decorated with our Nativity set and the stockings are hung, although nothing ever gets put in them.
I got the Boys some special holiday cookies, since the treats they like best are from China and I will not buy them any more, until, unless, I can be assured that they will not adversely affect my Greys.
I still have to write the staff Christmas cards and put them in their gift bags.
This afternoon, I got my TJ's candle evergreen wreath out of the garage where it has been chilling, at times with a little added snow to keep it as fresh as possible. It now graces our kitchen table with a white candle that smells of balsam and snow; wintery and Christmasy.
That was the last of the decorating left to do.
No cookies were baked, nor was a tree bought, put up and decorated. Really don't have the time for it, especially with the mid-week Advent potlucks and services. How did I do it when I was working full-time? But with just the two of us, and with the two dog beds taking up space, and not having to worry about one of the greys thinking, "Hey! An indoor potty!", it just doesn't need to happen.
I have my Christmas Eve services together. I just have to go over my reflections sprinkled throughout the Christmas Story and the singing of hymns - pretty much a version of Lessons and Carols. It is very hard to preach on Christmas Eve. God's story says it all and the music expresses it all. Hard to improve on any of it. Yet, hopefully, my reflections will give folks something to ponder and treasure in their hearts, will impart the hope we need for our lives, inspire peace to come and manger in our souls, and share a love so great, so wondrous that it would creep in beside us.
I still have a bread to bake on Christmas Eve morning and some mushrooms to purchase on Monday for our Christmas Day dinner - pastaetli - pastry shell filled with turkey and mushrooms in a white cream sauce, along with asparagus. Simple. Wonderfully delicious. Elegant.
So, I am more of cinnamon this year and less of panic. I even went so far as to go to the local department store today where I purchased some new Christmas placemats, and Target for New Year's day paper plates and napkins. Thankfully, neither store was stuffed with people, nor were the lines long. I have avoided the shopping mecca of this area all of Advent. Traffic is always a gridlock there.
I did get to Macy's and had to park further away than normal, but it was worth getting a pair of dark grey cords that are simply sumptuously velvety soft and so comfortable and warm and they fit without having to be taken in at the waist. I just had to shorten them a bit.
I do like to see what's happening - hear the Christmas music play, see the decorations, and people looking for gifts. Since I shop during the year, finding things that family members will like, use, need, or simply enjoy, I can leisurely wander around a store stress-free at this time of year.
I have Christmas music for my van and will add a couple CD's to play in the next few days. That way I can hear my favorite versions and not Beyoncé's "All I want for Christmas is You" and "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree", etc. that just get looped around on the radio every hour.
I am ready for Christmas. My heart is open, my spirit has room. All is prepared or is as prepared as it can be. I am ready to celebrate. I am ready for the quiet of a Silent Night and the warm glow of candles as the Prince of Peace comes and imparts his love and grace, mystery and hope.