I can never leave my Christmas tree up past December twenty-sixth.
This is one of my favorite days of the whole year. I am itching (literally, because the dry and brittle pine needles on my tree and garland are none too gentle on my skin) to get all of the holiday decor out and get things back to normal. I also take the opportunity (i.e. pine needles EVERYWHERE) to do some deep cleaning. When I’m done, every new toy and gadget is in its place, there are usually several bags of Goodwill giveaways, and I sip on some hot chocolate and begin thinking about the new year to come.
I would say that eighty percent of my daydreams consist of bettering my home. I like to set apart an hour or two on the day after Christmas to make little goals for the house in the year to come. This year, I’d love to remodel my master bathroom (the thought of finally having a claw foot tub makes me absolutely swoon), finish installing crown moldings (living and dining rooms are all that is left), extend my front flower beds to the sides of my house, and brick my back patio. To save some cash, that latter project will be DIY, with the help of my mom and brother, who always come to my rescue when I get such hare-brained ideas. I also thought about how I will decorate for family gatherings, such as my children’s birthday parties and my sister’s high school graduation bash. I grin thinking of the possibilities and the memories.
Another integral part of my day of reflection is going through my magazines (Country Living, Southern Living, and Better Homes and Gardens mostly) from the previous year. I collect them all from the tiny bench in my living room and have at it, tearing those pages I can not live without and placing them in an expandable folder since I’ve had since high school. I like to think of this as the original Pinterest! After I have purged these books of their gems, I cart what’s left over to my classroom, to be used by my teenage students for collage projects on whichever literature I decide we will delve into that year.
I return to my old, expandable folder often. Sometimes, when I’m having a particularly dreary day, I get lost in its contents. This is my favorite therapy. It is filled with so many visuals that make my heart swell. When I am remodeling a room, I take out some clippings and leave them out indefinitely. Much of my home was birthed by this kind of inspiration. There is this one photo of these GORGEOUS, worn, barnwood floors that I found when I was probably fifteen years old and I can remember thinking, “If I could have floors like THOSE, my life would be complete.” It’s no surprise that the first thing I said when I walked into my current home for the first time was, “OH, those FLOORS!” They are nowhere near as beautiful as the ones in that long-ago magazine clipping, but they sure do make me happy, nonetheless.
Regardless of the time of year, it is important to take time to reflect and resolve. I find I often overlook any bad my year may have possessed. I think of the happy times, the goals I achieved, how far I (and my home) have come, and I send all those joyous vibes to the next year, knowing many more moments, and magazine clippings, of wonderful and inspiration are yet to come. I don’t know what I will do when I’ve completed all the projects I have for my home. Buy a new one, I suppose. It is the most wonderful addiction.
No matter what is in your expandable folder, may it ever be growing and bringing you joy.