Tag Archives: christmas

The History Behind Holiday Decor

8 Dec

 

While Gaffigan’s explanation to how our decorating traditions came to be is much funnier, it is obviously inaccurate. It got me thinking, “Why do we use trees, garland, and lights to celebrate this time of year?” I decided to take matters into my own hands and see what I could find out.

Did you know the ancient Egyptians used greens in the home to symbolize life’s precedence over death? The Romans, too, have a history celebrating winter solstice by decorating with lights, evergreens, and the exchanging of gifts. The decorations that are placed on the outside of the home have a rich history in which they were thought to have kept evil spirits away and provide promise for a good spring season.

Our modern day Christmas tree has evolved from these traditions. It’s rumored that Martin Luther was the first to decorate trees in celebration of Christmas. The candles he placed on the evergreen he had indoors symbolized and honored the birth of the Christ child. It wasn’t until much later that the tradition became popular and spread to the United States. By 1900, one in five families had a tree around this time of year. The tradition only grew from there until it was commonplace in most homes twenty years later.

(Reference: obtained from this article by David Robson, Horticulture Expert)

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Christmas things

5 Dec

I’m a little scared to say it, but….

I have a new baby.

A happy one.

One who only cries when he wants his diaper changed, fed, or his beauty rest.

Today, I’m thankful for modern medicine!

And time to peruse Amazon.com. I just keep finding so many things I want! But I promise I’m only shopping for others, though 😉

Still, I’ve got my eye on these things:

Nikon COOLPIX L120 (so that I can take more pictures of my sweet boy!)

Sewing Machine (Does that come with someone who knows how to use it? )

and the Kindle Fire (because it seems like the affordable, awesome alternative to the iPad2.)

Why is everything I want expensive? I might just treat myself after Christmas to one of these items with the birthday money or Christmas money I have left over after I purchase gifts for everyone else. We’ll see. For now, though…I’ll just visit them online every now and again.

This weekend was nice. On Saturday J, K and I went to the local parade for a few minutes. It was sprinkling so we didn’t stay long because I was worried about Baby K’s little ears. I didn’t want him to catch a cold (even though those two things aren’t really linked. lol). Still, we saw enough to get into the Christmas spirit! Then yesterday I went to a presentation of the Living Christmas Tree at a friend’s church. It was awesome! I spent much of the service intrigued by ‘how they got the lights to do that!’ It doesn’t take much to impress me. Anyway, the Christmas music put me in the mood and I wanted to hop in the car and drive to Tennessee right then and there, but we still have a few weeks left before that can happen.

Who else is pumped about Jesus’s birthday??

Christmas Craft Part 2

3 Dec

Today, I learned I’m no Martha Stewart.

I saw this cutesy pin on Pinterest from Ms. Stewart’s website:

And it looked so easy I just had to give it a whirl. I didn’t plan enough and well, my ornament was a big fat fail. The hot glue I decided to use peeled right off in no time and the pretty paper fell to the floor along with the pine needles from our live tree. Oh, well. Maybe I’ll put a little more effort into in next time. Still, I hung the cookie cutter on our tree because we’re still trying to fill the many branches of our perfectly humongous tree.

It’s looking a bit bare toward the back of the tree, but we’re working on it.

I do love an over-decorated tree, ya know? Or is there such thing?

Anyway, not one to quit crafting before I created something lovely I like…

I made this snowflake ornament-

I just cut up large strips of Christmas(sy) scrapbook paper and arranged them inside a plain glass ornament with my pinky finger. Talk about decorating on a budget!

(I know what you’re thinking- “She wasn’t talking about decorating on a budget. Awkward.”)

I also used what’s around me to my advantage. There are pine cones all over my yard so I’ll definitely be putting them to good use in the future, too.

Have fun creating, y’all!

De-Stress Your Christmas

1 Dec

With tree number four up and decorated, I have started thinking more and more about the holiday season that is upon us. There are so many people who become stressed rather than comforted by the Christmas season, myself included sometimes. In effort to prevent that from happening this year, I did a little research on the topic as a reminder for myself and for you to take a chill pill and remember why we celebrate. To me Christmas is about celebrating the birth of my Savior, spending time with my loves, and the spirit of giving (even if it’s simply baking cookies and gifting those out). Actually, scratch that…nobody wants my homemade cookies! 😉

Anyway, here are some tips and tricks to chillax and enjoy your winter break. Some of these are borrowed from PsychologyToday.com and some are from my little, ole wrinkled brain:

*Be realistic. You know you can’t be in two places at once. You (probably) know you can’t buy someone everything they could possibly want. And hopefully you are keeping your expectations of the holiday season in check. I have found that if I expect a certain day to be perfect, I am more aware when the day doesn’t turn out as I had hoped. Additionally, I’m well aware that I can’t afford to buy a ton of people a ton of presents. Being a stay at home mom means that we’re living off one paycheck (one that congress keeps trying to delay…ahem) so money can be tight each month. To remedy this, we try to set a budget each year and stick as close to it as possible. Sure, we go over a bit every single time, but tis the season!  The main thing I struggle with in this realistic category is the first one. Because we live so far away from family and friends, when we get to town our time is stretched very thin. It’s difficult to fit everyone in. This year, I am going to attempt to not worry about not being able to make this engagement or that. I’m just going to do what my little heart desires and actually enjoy the time off I have with my people back home. There’s no need to dwell on and stress little things like that. That’s not what Christmas is about at all.

*Be thankful. This is sort of a carry-over from last month, I suppose. It’s just so easy to pick out things each day that I’m thankful for. And you know what? When I write them down, I have a better day. I’m going to keep up my blessings list throughout the Christmas season just as a reminder of what all God has given me. There’s a pin floating around Pinterest that states, “What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?” That’s the spirit of thanksgiving that I want to create in my life during the month of Christ’s birthday. There are so so many people who are less fortunate than I am. If I can remember this in my lowest moments and choose to focus on a positive in my day, then I’ll be doing good. Here’s my list from yesterday:

*Exercise. What you say?? Yes, in the midst of all the eating it might be a good idea to get some exercise. Clearly, this isn’t one of the suggestions I thought of because I’m still sportin’ an extra 3lbs from Baby K. But I think it is a noteworthy tip! The author of Tis the Season emphasizes the importance of self-care during Christmas (and the rest of the year!). The impact that exercise can have on one’s mental health isn’t lost on me as I have focused on this very notion in research papers past. My senior thesis was on enjoyment and exercise. 🙂 Now, let’s see if I can take my own advice!

*Make a list. And check it twice. Ok, I just wanted to write that. You don’t have to check it twice. But if you’re a list maker, then get to writing! Organize your gift list. Organize your schedule. And maybe your plan is to not plan. You can write that down, too. I’ve made a list of the things and events that I want to do (on my iphone, of course) and the rest of the break is dedicated to not having a plan. I’m going to enjoy my time at “home” and do what I want when I want. Although it may sound like it, it’s not selfish. I’m in charge of only myself (well and Baby K) so in order to keep the stress away, I’m going to focus on what’s best for me and what’s best for K. Having a visual of the set plans will allow me to see the freedom I have in the un-planned days, too.

I hope these help you. Happy December!

Reference

Mintz, L. (2011, November 30). Tis the season.Psychology Today, Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/stress-and-sex/201111/tis-the-season

Christmas Craft

24 Nov

If you like my page on facebook, you probably already know that I’ve been Christmas crafting! I become a giddy little school girl at the mention of Christmas and all its possibility. Throw in pinterest and I’m in Heaven. I saw several pins with ideas to repurpose old wine bottles. You know I’ve got lots of those! I found some cutesy stuff, but nothing really inspired me. I had so much fun creating these for Halloween-

that I knew I wanted to paint more wine bottles for the most wonderful time of the year. Because nothing says Christmas like old booze. I’m kidding.

Anywho…

I thought it’d be funny to stuff Santa head first into a chimney:

…so that’s what I did. I’m no artist, but I had fun creating 🙂

More Christmas cheer to come.

XOXO,

Mrs. K

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

23 Nov

I know what you’re thinking- slow down, Mrs. K…tomorrow is Thanksgiving, not Christmas! But we’re a military family (and a broke one at that!) and we can’t afford to go home for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Furthermore, we leave our home to head to our real home in Tennessee so early in December that there’s not much time to enjoy all the festive decor. Besides, last Thanksgiving we were on a boat eating cafeteria food somewhere around Alaska and Canada. This year? We have plans to order a pizza tomorrow. So perhaps that’s why my mind is elsewhere! Either way, I’m still very, very thankful for so many blessings in my life. Come back tomorrow and I’ll tell you alllll about it!

Merry Thanksgiving Eve.

Shutterfly Giveaway!

20 Oct

Hey y’all! Boy, do I have a treat for you! Keep reading for details.

It’s no surprise to you by now that I love this time of the year. The leaves start to change (well, they do if you don’t live in Louisiana!), the weather gets cooler, and at the end of the month I get to dress up and be whoever/whatever I want to be. How fun? But the fun doesn’t stop. Thanksgiving comes and then we’re all ready for the most wonderful time of the year!

Christmas! Ahh, to me it means family, friends, and most importantly a celebration of the birth of my Savior. Last year around Christmas, Captain J and I sent out some cute little Christmas cards from Shutterfly. Remember?

Our little furry friends even made it on the card. My experience with Shutterfly last Christmas was great. If you got a late card, it was only because we were traveling across this beautiful country of ours and we were slacking in mailing them. I received them from Shutterfly in a timely manner and they were everything I hoped they would be- good size, colorful, and Christmasy. They have tons to choose from this year, too. Just look-

Those are two of my favs, but you can check out more by clicking here.

Even more holiday cards are found here.

They have  thank-you cards, greeting cards, and more. We used this company for our wedding announcements, too. We just keep coming back for more! Our experience has been so good that I’d like to spread the joy around this year. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about? 😉

This year on Mrs. K and Captain J, you have the chance to win 25 FREE cards! And guess what? I’m going to randomly pick THREE winners! I’m super pumped about this. I always love to see a giveaway with multiple chances to win, don’t you?

I’m not big into rules so I’ll try to make this as easy as possible. You do not have to have a blog to win. You don’t have to follow me or any of that, you simply have to leave a comment on this post throwing your hat into the ring. I’ll also provide extra opportunities to up your chances-

To Enter:

Mandatory: Leave comment on this post linking to your blog/email OR leaving your email address for contacting purposes only

Extra Entries:

  • Follow me on Twitter- KSJD22 and leave a separate comment telling me you do
  • Like Mrs. K and Captain J on Facebook and leave a separate comment telling me you do
  • Follow my blog via email subscription, google reader, or whatever other method you choose and leave me a separate comment telling me you do
  • Tweet or facebook about my giveaway with a link to this post and leave a separate comment telling me you did.
Too easy. You have a really good chance to have personalized Christmas cards sent your way…25 of them…FREE! Happy (early) Christmas!
(* Note: Shutterfly contacted me with this opportunity, but I was thrilled they did! These opinions expressed on their products are strictly my own.)
I’ll announce the winner early Novemer. Entries after Oct 31 will not be accepted.