Though Christmas is upon us, we are just now getting started in earnest with the Christmas decorating! One of my plans is to go through all our decorations and ornaments as we take them out (and later pack them away), and determine what we want to keep. We have lights that we don't use anymore, ornaments that were gifts that we never cared for, Christmas dishes that I can never remember to unpack in time for Christmas, and things that are just too much trouble to put out for whatever reason (I am looking at you, unreasonably heavy tree ornament!). There is a wonderful charity called the Holiday Bureau that takes toys, stuffed animals, and all kinds of holiday decorations, and finds new homes for them. The closest branch to us is in Anderson County, TN, so we have planned a post-holiday dropoff of toys, stuffed animals, and decorations when we go visit my parents, who live in that area. For those of you who are interested, the Holiday Bureau is one of the few places that I know that will take lightly used stuffed animals. (You can call to get tips on how to prepare donations of stuffed toys for dropoff.)
We brought four boxes of Christmas decorations down from the attic, and went through them as we decorated the tree. We touched and sorted through each item. The ones that we loved went on the tree. The ones that we chose to let go were packed into two large boxes for the Holiday Bureau. In the end, the tree was beautiful, and every ornament a treasure to us. And as you can see, Bridget approves.
I have noticed something since we started going through the house and simplifying. It appears that in the year or so leading up to our change of lifestyle, we did a lot of shopping. It's almost as if we reached some kind of tipping point with our accumulation of possessions that made us decide to jump off the consumerism bandwagon. I am not sure why this is the case, but I do find it interesting. It has been most striking as we unpack the Christmas decorations. I have said at least once, "I totally forgot we had this!". And though we are planning on parting with many things this holiday season, we WILL be keeping our "menagerie" - a large giraffe, a dinosaur, two flamingoes, and inflatable bears, all with Santa hats - who live on our porch during the holidays and make us smile.
Merry Christmas to everyone! I hope your Christmas is beautiful and bright.