Most of us will take down our Christmas decorations sometime in the next week.  Personally, I like to have everything down a few days after Christmas.  I love the decorations while they are up, and then I love when my house has breathing room again after they are down.  That means pulling down my three big Rubbermaid bins from the attic and filling them back up with all of the lights and mugs and tea towels and cute things.   

Here is permission, from me to you, just in case you need it.  

If you come across a Christmas decoration that you don’t really love, don’t repack it for another year.  Don’t put it in the Rubbermaid bin.  Don’t haul it back up into the attic.  

Chipped mug (that you don’t even like that much)? Stained tea towel?  No question- toss them.

The “perfectly good” stuff?  Somewhere, right now, there is someone who cannot wait to hit up the thrift stores after Christmas.  That person cannot wait to lay eyes on that one decorative item that you are pretty “meh” on.  So just do it- give it to her.  Make her day.  Donate that stuff.

Spent good money on it?

Loved it when you first got it?

You can still donate it, and I bet you won’t even miss it when you haul your stuff out again next year.  

I have a bunch of my mom’s old Christmas decorations- ornaments, of course, but also a wooden nativity set and some Christmas angels and Santas.  The kinds of things you put on tabletops and mantels.  Last year I was packing up our decorations and realized that there was this one angel decoration that I didn’t really care for anymore, and had not liked for a few years.  It always shed its angel “hair” and was supposed to hold a tiny candle but the candle always tipped over.  I never would have picked it out in the store.  But it was my mom’s, so I wanted to think long and hard before passing it on.

I pondered it for a bit and realized that I have a few specific things of my mom’s that I love- like the nativity set, for example- that I am excited to pull out year after year.  I also buy a boxwood wreath or two, which I love the look of and reminds me of her.  (My mom would litter the house with boxwood for about one week every December, making wreaths with and for whoever wanted them.)     

So last year I donated the angel to the Salvation Army instead of packing it up.  I donated a bunch of ornaments, too, and probably a few other things that I don’t even remember.  Sometimes I get to donating and really get on a roll.  

You can do it, too.  

Merry Christmas, from the pragmatic decorator.  

Pretending they all have the stomach bug. (One actually did.)


Brain Dump

When all else fails and I have not blogged in a while- there is always the brain dump.

The rarely seen (or taken) photo of just us

1.  How about this weather?  Mid-80’s for the high, in the middle of October.  WTH.  It seems I was premature on busting out the flannel sheets and down comforter a couple of weeks ago.  

The up side is that I got to go through my clothes and bag up a bunch of warm-weather stuff I didn’t wear much and pass it on elsewhere.  I am way into doing that sort of thing, as you may know.

2.  I’m back to a cash system for some of our budget areas.  Time to curb some of that impulse spending.  There is nothing like going back through my credit card statement and adding up all of those little purchases to the tune of hundreds of dollars for the month of September…  I am a pretty firm believer that knowledge is power, even if it made me slightly sick to my stomach to see the final tally.  

The ultimate side eye to the craw dad; camping 2016

I maintain that sometimes you gotta throw money at the problem, but this last stretch has gotten out of hand.  I withdrew cash for my personal spending, spending for the kids, and home purchases.  We have a debit account for our groceries, which keeps me on track with my spending there every month.  

3.  I read 11 books in September and have read 5 so far this month.  I read I Let You Go in a day, because I got all sucked in before realizing it was a suspense/thriller type book (never ever what I like to read).  But I had to know what happened!  Other notables: A Man Called Ove, The One in a Million Boy, Scary Close, Before We Visit the Goddess, and Love Warrior*.  All brought to you by your local public library.  Scary Close and Love Warrior are both memoirs and I liked a lot about both of them.  Hate to say it, but I didn’t actually LOVE Love Warrior.  Just liked it.  No offense, Oprah.  

*I am not linking to all of those titles on Amazon because I am lazy.  

Pretty into the pigtails these days

4.  A few other factors that have allowed for extra reading time: my rad husband took the three oldest kids on two separate camping trips.  I went to Bermuda with my dad, sister, and numero tres for four days (what is this life I am living?!?!) And I am mostly staying off Facebook during the weekdays.  (Here’s where I am embarrassed about how much time I have given over to Facebook, ESPECIALLY during election season.  That does not serve me well.) 

Bermuda was okay… If you go for that sort of thing…

Twinning with Poppies

5.  I have said something to this effect before, but I increasingly see life on the other side.  We are in the last stretch of diapers, nap times, 5 point harness car seats, and frantic bedtime searches for the lovey.  We are crossing over into more independence and into some headier parenting.  It’s not just kneeling down to break up a fight over a toy; it is also talking about anxiety and uncertain friendships and “I’m not sure I believe in God” sort of things.  It is bittersweet, for sure.  

My kids are extremely fun little humans and I am so thankful for our little crew here.  What a crazy gift (and responsibility) to be their mom. 

Life on our street. His name is Maestro, btw, and he pooped in our yard.