Friday, December 5, 2014

Advent then and now

Goodness it's been a long time since I've posted any updates in this wee little space (but that photo up there probably makes up for it, right?). Since then, summer is really gone, fall is here, and winter might never come (I hear that's kind of how it goes in Texas). Seb, Bruno, and I enjoyed a two week visit in Ohio with our family, brought back a beastly cold to remember them by, and got our health back just in time to savor the magical time of Advent. When we lived in Durham, we went to an Anglican church. Our first time going to a church that follows the liturgical year closely. During those two years, I began to like Advent. When we spent last year in Germany, that like turned to love. And for the astute of you, yes I'm loosely quoting The Wedding Planner, you're welcome. Advent is such a rich time in Germany, and it was so refreshing to live in a culture, not just in a church, where Advent was celebrated by all. If there was any push for consumerism in Germany, it was to buy all the advent calendars. I've never seen so many advent calendars in my life. But the advent wreaths... a large one hung in Sebastian's Kindergarten, where St. Nicholas came to fill stockings on December 6th. The Christmas markets spread the joy of Advent and the coming of Christmas with hot mugs of Gl├╝hwein, lights, fresh greenery, and delightful crafts and ornaments. And oh the cookies. So many cookies were made! I don't know if you can be German and not make oodles of cookies, you guys. Here are the boys from last year:

Let me tell you, I needed a moment after seeing Bruno's baby chub and curls from last year. And then here is of course documentation of this year on instagram, and more below when I realized he's just as cute and chubby as ever hashtag cheeks:

Our decorations last year:

And this year:

Before I sign off, we really need to have a chat about Christmas lights. We are neither a firmly white or colored lights family (yet). We've done both. Normally I like the tidiness that comes with white lights, but whenever we use them on our tree, I just feel disappointed by the tidiness. Maybe colored lights just remind me of my Grandma's intensely fake tinsel covered tree that we would pull out of her upstairs every year, and decorate with glittery, vintage, and homemade ornaments? Or our family tree that always had a mix of both colored and white (which now that I think about it might have to do with my moms crafty, deep down folk-art-loving soul). I keep so many parts of my life tidy and simple, but a Christmas tree, to me, needs to be the opposite. When it comes to Christmas trees, one shouldn't hold back. So I'm curious... if you are firmly in the white lights camp, why? And if you're firmly in the colored (or at least sympathetic) I'd love to hear from you because I keep looking for your colored lights on Instagram and I'm not seeing them! Cheers to my brother-in-law and sister-in-law for the colored lights solidarity.

Happy Advent, friends!


  1. We grew up using white lights and I consider myself a "white lights only" kind of gal. I'm not 100% sure why, although I do love the clean, classic look. I think in the end it has more to do with the ornaments, actually. Ever since each of us kids was born, my parents gave us an ornament (sometimes more) a year. Most of them have a story behind or some other sense of significance (a roadrunner, cactus, clay chili pepper for the years we lived in Arizona...etc.) I told Mark just the other day that I feel like this set of ornaments tells the story of my life. The ornament collection is a tradition we'd like to pass on to our children. The white lights seem to highlight the ornaments; colored lights, to me, detract a little. They are, I agree, beautiful in a "messy" sort of way that can be fun, but I have found that I love the simple glow of the white lights and how beautifully they showcase the ornaments...

  2. I'm glad to see a new post! Advent has always been my favorite liturgical season; the dark and the lights, the quiet and the anticipation, the warmth...I love it all. I am swooning over your wooden advent wreath and what appear to be beeswax candles. I have had a hard time finding a wreath I like. I have always had white lights on the tree, but I agree with you. In my opinion, a Christmas tree is not to be "elegant". The garland and hodge-podge of ornaments on ours has always made it a friendly looking tree, in my opinion :-) Your space looks great- with the decor and the lovely people- very hyggeligt. Happy Advent!