Sunday, 6 January 2013

the purge after Christmas

Ah, the end of the holiday season, when I'm trying to make sense of our partied-out house, googling things such as "how to get candle wax off of tablecloths" and tossing things into the compost that are well past their prime. The purge after Christmas.

Three weeks ago, our family was interviewed on our local TV station. The show's producer wanted to do a segment on the "buy nothing Christmas" movement. A friend suggested she talk to us, because we're trying to do things more simply at Christmas time. Here we are, in all our glory! (it's just the first 3 minutes of the program, after you watch an ad for something or other)

It was a big day - our oldest daughter's birthday, a teacher's strike in our board (so a holiday from school!), and a TV interview at our house! Many unusual things all converging on one day.

And although I can talk a big game about doing things simply and blah blah blah, I was sure glad the TV cameras weren't in our home over the past 2 weeks, chronicling the accumulation of gifts.

Because even though we try to simplify, and our extended families do too, it's still quite a haul at this time of year. Which means it's time to make room. Time to go through closets and drawers and give the old heave-ho to not-quite-fitting clothing, books I'm never going to read, books I've read long ago and probably never will again but I just like the look of them on my over-stuffed shelves, papers, papers, papers, mismatched socks, and ...

Tomorrow it's back to routine. And it's time, but oh how I've loved the dog days of the Christmas holidays. Puzzling over puzzles, playing family games, building quinzhees and snow-women, performing Bollywood dances, eating scrumptious food, gathering with family and friends, sleeping in, watching classic Christmas movies, drinking hot chocolate with Bailey's, and reading suspenseful novels to the girls at bedtime and first thing when they scrambled into our bed in the morning. It has been lovely.

But is there any chore that is more sad than taking down Christmas decorations? Saying goodbye for another 11 months, wondering what will happen before we meet again? What will this year bring - what sadnesses? What joys? Christmas CDs stashed away, played not quite enough this past month because someone in this house feels that we don't need to listen to Christmas music every day of December, artificial tree dragged down to the basement, cookie cutters packed away, red and green Rubbermaid filled up with decor. I want it all to last just a little longer.

So while the house has been mostly transformed back to ordinary time, I want to hang on to these memories just a little while longer:

our Advent wreath (love the many lights shining in the glass -
so many more than the 4 that are lit)
wouldn't quite be Christmas without the hot glue gun and some crafting
from Eden's wish-list this year: a dozen school kits, ingredients unwrapped on Christmas morning
and assembled into bags
peeking out of a quinzhee
skating through the pond labyrinth 
skate before bonfire supper
can you see the rocks at the bottom through the ice? Is that amazing or what?
the only xmas decoration still left standing - our photo Advent calendar,
with a photo for each day - can't quite put it away yet - too many
memories to gaze at
Delivering the school kits to Mennonite Central Committee warehouse in Kitchener.
Bob told us that they will be shipped to Jordan this Tuesday
to be given to Syrian refugees living there.
Is there anything better than skating on a glass-like frozen pond?
I seriously doubt it.


  1. Look at you, TV star! :-)

  2. Rebecca, thanks for your reflections throughout Advent and Christmas. That has been a special gift for me.

    I love your pictures! Where did you get the advent candle arrangement?

    I'm also very much in the sorting, purging mode. I'm reading "Everyday Sacred - A woman's journey home" by Sue Bender
    which was one of several gifts from my daughter, bought at the Thrift Store, by the way. One of the quotes from the book which may be my guiding principle over these next weeks - "Get rid of things or you'll spend your whole life tidying up".

    Blessings, Sue

    1. Thanks Sue. I got the advent candle arrangement from a number of places - the middle part, Derek bought this past summer for backyard evening fun. Then I found the 4 candle Advent piece at the thrift store in Goshen this fall. I put it on a wooden serving dish (also thrift store) turned upside down. Then I bought beeswax candles at the One of a Kind show in Toronto. We've really enjoyed lighting Advent candles around our supper table over the years. We have a song we sing too, and the girls insist on it now.

      Sounds like a great book! I love your guiding principle. I think I'll adopt it too. :) I often feel like I'm just shuffling things from one room to another.