Sunday, November 8, 2015


Growing up, it was our family tradition to decorate our tree (even go out and TRY to find one) on Christmas Eve. Advent, the four Sundays before Christmas, was a time of quiet preparation for the big day. My father, an Episcopal priest, reluctantly went along with his family's holiday need to trim and tassel, but laid down the law that it couldn't happen until the day before our Lord's birth. Then, we kept our festive plumage up until January 6th, Epiphany, or the day of the Three Kings. We lobbied and railed and begged to be like everyone else we knew who decorated on the Friday after Thanksgiving-- to no avial. And, heaven forfend we should ask about putting lights on the house and reindeer on the lawn. I shudder to think...

By the time I had children, I learned something of the joys of quiet anticipation, and so we continued that tradition of last minute decoration and celebration as our own children grew up.

Fast forward to 2015, and I find myself in retail, and an artist who creates all year long, but knows in her practical heart that the next two months are the golden time of the year for sales. Puts me rather in a spot. I wrestle with the issue every year.

This year, I wanted to make a new ornament. Since I have fallen head over heels for bookbinding, I decided to make tiny books as decorations. One hundred and twenty-five of them. Six hundred little pages to measure, cut and fold, two hundred and fifty 1 3/8 inch square covers to measure and cut and cover, two hundred and fifty three inch square cover papers to measure and cut and glue. You get the idea.

As I worked, I discovered that for me, Advent came early this year. Folding paper after paper, covering a mound of small book boards, choosing from a rainbow of ribbon colors to match my collection of decorative papers, became a very contemplative, focused, almost prayerful activity.

So, I'm ready for Christmas early this year, and I'm going to decorate trees in my studios this week to be ready for the rest of you to catch up.

For those of you who celebrate it, may you have a blessed Advent and Merry Christmas. For those of you who celebrate other holidays at this time of year, may they be meaningful, prayerful and bright.