Monday, February 10, 2014
When I downloaded pictures from my camera, I discovered this photo on it, taken by my oldest daughter. It shows her freshly-iced loaf of gingerbread set out with chai tea (hence the cream and sugar) for the family to enjoy.
This is the daughter to whom I served started serving tea in china cups before she was two, and she has fond memories of the tea-parties we used to have where we ate cookies before dinner and practiced our manners. I was struck that she wanted to capture her little feast on camera. I for one hope it is one of thousands of teas that she will prepare in her lifetime. Culture is made of such little ceremonies, and our modern life is often desperately impoverished in this regard.
Friday, February 07, 2014
On Candlemas, we put on the Christmas carols for the last time of the season and took down our valiant tree (the kids stood it up next to their playhouse outside), and I packed away the Christmas ornaments. As I was doing so, I wanted to share a trick that I've discovered that makes the whole process less onerous: both decorating the tree and taking it down. Like many people, I have acquired many Christmas boxes, tins, and containers through the years, usually with sweets inside. I used to donate them at the end of the season, but now I save them, and sort my Christmas ornaments into them, as you can see above. I even use Christmas totes for soft items like hats and stockings. I then pack the filled containers in large plastic tubs and put them away in the attic.
This has made Christmas decorating so much easier, particularly for our family, since we decorate the tree on Christmas Eve after the children are asleep. On the Pink Sunday (Gaudete Sunday), our traditional Christmas decorating day, I take out the tins and stack them in decorative piles atop my desk and other display surfaces. It's easy to locate and use or hide groups of ornaments ("Let's put the crocheted snowflakes in the window this year!" "No, don't use the wooden hearts this year: too drab next to the blue glass balls"), and it's fun to keep using such festive boxes.
Above you can see some of the ornaments our family has made through the years, such as wooden mushrooms and felt owls. It makes for a more cheerful end to the season, and follows William Morris's dictum doubly: both useful AND beautiful. Blessings on your Ordinary Time!