love, laughter and Christmas trees

My hubby loves me.  A lot.  But there are some non-negotiables in our marriage ..... He will only do malls for movies, meals and necessities (buying me or the kids a gift, getting sports equipment for kids etc) ... no wandering, window shopping, trawling the mall, or as he so eloquently puts it "frikken faffing around".  Another non-negotiable is me eating anything at all in bed.  He wants no chewing sounds around him when he sleeps.  Bizarre. But that is not relevant here.  

Thank heavens I did not take him to the mall with me and the kids yesterday.  Given the option I would probably have rather lazed in the pool as well.  When we got to the entrance of Game and could not even get into the shop door properly, plus there were no trolleys available, we did a quick reverse.  

All this simply because for the first time this year we did not put up our tree on 1 December.  Yes it may be early but it is beautiful and we have our Nativity Scene and the flickering lights and the tinsel and our Advent Candles and wreath and our home says "love, God, preparation, excitement, prayer, togetherness and warmth".  And yes lots of bling. But then the older child went on Matric Vac on 1 December.  Only one day after finishing her exams, a day that passed in a flurry of packing, lists, excitement, shrieking, bikinis and instructions from me.  There was no time to buy and put up a tree (ours came to an untimely end last year when it broke in two).  I suggested that her brother and I buy a tree and put it up.  My suggestion was met with horror ... "put up the tree without me??????". Obviously failing Matric would be less traumatic.   Then aforementioned brother went off on holiday with his friend and my parents for a week .... and I should have listened to my inner voice ...... on 3 Dec ..... when the stores were quiet ... and gone and bought and put up the tree.  But no, waited for everyone to come home.  Then Sunday went to the mall ....... all the shops closed for the funeral.  And that is how we got there yesterday.  

I wanted a white tree for a change after 47 years of green trees.  Jess wanted a green one.  She was obviously going to put up quite a fight.  We were in the Hyper, facing a vast array of trees, the white one being the most beautiful.  We ended it easily ..... "Nic which one do you like?", I asked my son.  "White for sure", he said.  I turned to Jess, reminded her that it was 2 votes to 1 and white wins.  She said dad would want a green one which would be a draw then.  Dad was at home ..... too bad.  No voting if you not actually in the store.  

And then I decided we should do a bit of the Christmas gift shopping whilst there .... I am really cutting it to the wire this year ...... our gifts are usually wrapped and under the tree by the 2nd week of December.  I am still perusing and pondering but I must say that with careful planning and budgeting we did make some nice finds yesterday.  We are determined not to get caught up in the "let us spend every cent of our money completely overwhelming everyone with massive gifts" trap.   Maybe it is as I get older that I find a deepening sense of seeing Christmas as a wonderful, warm, stay at home family time with well thought out and not necessarily expensive gifts.   But so do my kids and hubby, so maybe it is the way we do it. 

Putting up the tree was magical ..... all four of us involved ....... beautiful tinsel and very ingenious LED battery operated tree lights that stay on for 6 hours and then go off for 18 hours and come back on again for 6 hours by themselves and then off again etc etc.  Low wattage ...... batteries last forever ....... no added electricity or extension cords and plugs everywhere ....... 400 sparkling lights in 8 light patterns for less than the cost of the normal ones .... (well done Checkers Hyper).  Most of our Christmas baubles have a story attached to them and we reminisce whilst hanging them up.  Our reindeer who sings Jingle Bells amused our new puppy no end as she did not know whether to bite it or lick it.  

At a Christian bookstore we bought a Nativity scene with statues that are 25 cm high.  It is so beautiful.  Unfortunately ours came to an end last year when both Mary and the lamb fell.  It was not pretty.  So we packed out the statues and put little lights around on a special table and spent most of the night staring at it.  It will have a special place in our hearts this set.  

And so the week continues .... I am still working up until the 24th, and even here it is quiet and very relaxed with only a skeleton staff on duty.  Time to clean up and prepare for the new year lying ahead. 

And in my head .... I am singing "How Great is our God" most of the morning. 

till very soon 
c'est la vie 

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