25 Days of Christmas, Day 10:

Today was another busy day, with a lot of coming and going in many different directions.  The morning swept by so quickly I only remember one accomplishment: we read two chapters in Luke, bringing us up to chapter 10, just where we should be.

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I’m still pleasantly surprised at how engaged the younger ones are in this process, taking it in as though they’ve never really heard it before.  They really wanted  to hear that second chapter, objecting when I suggested maybe we should do it later in the day.  I think doing this at Christmas time while we look forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus makes a difference.  It seems to bring home the reality of what we are reading – not just a narrative from long ago, but the real earthly life of Jesus.

I also managed to trim the trunk of the Christmas tree with the circular saw.  Not the ideal tool, I know, but it got the job done.

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As soon as it was done, Natalie and Becca hauled the tree into the house and we tried to set it up.  Since we’re helpless wimminfolk, we couldn’t make the stupid thing stand upright.  We had to lean it in a corner and wait for Perry to come home and fix it.

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I was afraid the trunk was too small for our base, and Perry agreed – until he took a closer look.  He had a good laugh over this, since the problem was pretty obvious: I had neglected to trim the lower branches, so the tree wasn’t seated firmly in the base.  It dangled and swung freely from the points where the four screws hit it.

Once he fixed that little problem, we realized there was a second problem: the trunk really was too small to be held firmly by the base we had.  Now it was my turn to laugh, but I held my peace in quiet dignity.  Then he mentioned that IF ONLY SOMEBODY HADN’T THROWN AWAY THE DOOR SHIMS, WE COULD USE THOSE TO MAKE IT FIT.  Yes, it was me.  I threw them away.  I threw away perfectly good little 10 cent scraps of wood.  See why my house is a mess?  One of us is an aspiring hoarder, and it’s not me.  If he had his way, we would be buried in an avalanche of DVDs, blankets, hand tools, and paperwork.

One of us is an aspiring minimalist, and it’s not Perry or any of his offspring.  That’s not to say I am a minimalist, because if I were, he and the kids would bury me in a shallow grave somewhere.  I just aspire, then go with the flow.

No, one look at our house and you’ll know we’re not minimalists.  We have more books, children and loveseats than any sane person I know, and the Christmas explosion is growing day by day.  Today we were the happy recipients of a beautiful little angelic candleholder, and a thick, heavy 8′ long piece of artificial pine garland.  It’s almost too big to go indoors, so we’re thinking it might make a very nice wreath for the front of the house if we coil it into a big ring.

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For a fun touch today, I dabbed drops of peppermint oil on some of the light bulbs around the house.  Bethany had no idea what I was doing, but after I visited the room where she was playing I heard her yell out, “Candy canes! I smell candy canes!”

What happened in your day?


  1. We love Advent and all it reminds us of…ah, the soft hearts of children! And the Mathum principle is great!! I missed it somehow… Ill ask my family and see if they picked up on it.
    Blessings to you!

  2. The peppermint oil idea is amazing.

    I think I might go and buy some, and do it while the kids are at school. They will love it. Our house already smells pretty good, I have discovered the joys of scented candles, but the problem with that is that I cant do it with the kids in the house (and have to shut the cats out of the room) as they will knock it over. Peppermint oil sounds safer.

    How do you teach the toddlers not to destroy the Christmas tree? Ours keeps stealing the baubles cause she thinks they are balls. The little jingle bells from the tree are also going missing, the cats love them, theyre batted all over the house by little paws.

  3. Amanda Wells says:

    Mathum. That’s the word you’re looking for. The Hobbits kept anything that might be useful one day and also gave it out as birthday presents to each other – and if you remember, on a Hobbit’s birthday he gave, rather than received, gifts. Whenever my husband says “this could be used for something” I smile and call it Mathum. Sometimes he still keeps it, sometimes he doesn’t. Sherry Hayes has a really great post about hoarding as an outgrowth of the lack of faith in God to provide for our future needs which really spoke to me. Of course, convincing your family of that conviction is another matter.

    • Amanda, the hobbit analogy is perfect! Maybe I’d have more success at convincing my family to regift the stuff than trying to get them to trash it…

  4. Peppermint oil! That’s what my house is missing….

  5. I’m an aspiring minimalist who discovered today that I’d deleted an email I should have kept. Hence, I had to bug my brother for some info, feeling especially guilty since he is in the midst of weather-related problems. I find it hard to reach a sweet spot on the minimalist-hoarder spectrum. Speaking of sweet, I appreciate the idea of putting peppermint oil on light bulbs. 🙂

  6. Shims are just those things you don’t throw away. Or paper clips. Or the straight pins from a new dress shirt package. Thank you for sharing your advent calendar with us. And that is a serene angel. Have fun tomorrow.

Don't just think it: say it!

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