Over the past week we’ve been slowly dragging out our Christmas decorations and setting them up. Usually we try to get it all done in one day, but between painting our kitchen (more on that later) and my perpetual pregnancy-induced exhaustion, it’s been more of a little-bit-here, little-bit-there, situation.
This, of course, frustrates the kids to no end, who want everything up NOW.
On the first evening, we just set up our tree. No decorations or anything. When Brian and I finished this and left to do dishes, the kids decided to Take Matters Into Their Own Hands. Grabbing up a box of outdoor lights, they went to work on their toy castle:
TA-DAH! How festive is that? There are golden fake poinsettia flowers all over it, too. And in the center of it all, our much loved, much abused nutcracker in the shape of the Mouse King. (I don’t think it’s visible in the photo.)
The next day, we put most of the ornaments on the tree, excepting a bunch of handmade straw ornaments from Germany and the silver star topper. Once again, I was doing dishes, and Eleanor and William decided to Take Matters Into . . . well, you figure it out:
It’s an Ella tree! See the ornaments hanging off her fingers and toes? She’s using one hand to hold the silver star on top of her head.
This past Tuesday for Family Home Evening, we upheld one of our family traditions and picked out a new nativity set from Ten Thousand Villages. For those of you not familiar with this store (which is part of a national chain), it is a non-profit organization sells fair-trade gifts from all over the world, and is run mostly by volunteers. I love seeing all the different cultural interpretations of the Christmas story. So far we have creches from Taiwan, Peru, Indonesia, Kenya, Bangladesh, and a weinachtspyramid from Germany (which I found at a thrift store. Everything else is from Ten Thousand Villages).
Upon arrival at the store, Jeffrey marched in, scanned the wall of nativities, then cornered a clerk and began asking where all the Roman nativity sets were. Rome is one of his current obsessions. “Where are the Roman ones? Where are the Roman ones?” I had to gently take Jeff aside and explain that Rome really wasn’t a country anymore.
“What happened to Rome?” he asked, puzzled.
I explained briefly — not wanting to be dragged into a discussion of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire — that it was Italy now.
Ten minutes later, he was at the store clerk again: “Where are the Italy ones? Where are the Italy ones?”
Thank heavens for patient volunteer store clerks!
Brian and I can be notorious for being wishy-washy over decisions like this. Should we get the little crocheted set from Vietnam? Or the punched-metal display from Haiti? However, it was Jeffrey who spotted the nativity that we all fell in love with. I don’t have time to take a picture of it, but this is what it kind of looks like:
It’s from Uganda. Our set is just like this, only we have two shepherds, and the stable is made of stamped leather and triangle-shaped. I think it’s just lovely. The sheep made of twisted bark are adorable!