The Magic of Santa

I was raised in a Christmas house. Both of my parents love Christmas. My mom shows this by over-giving. She has a hard time drawing a line. If you ask for it, you seem to get it! (Sometimes even things you say please don't get manage to show up under the tree, like a guitar.) My dad loves Christmas music and lights. I remember him telling me stories about studying by Christmas light in college. He sets up a beautiful Christmas village every year. The point is, between the two of them, my brother and I were raised in a house where Christmas begins the day after Thanksgiving and lasts until New Year's Eve. And not believing in Santa was never an option.

A is 4 (4 1/2 technically) and this Christmas was the best we have had yet. It had nothing to do with the presents, though they were fantastic. It had nothing to do with our lights, which looked pretty good. It had nothing to do with the inside decorations, also nice. The reason this Christmas was so amazing, a word often overused, is because of the joy and pure belief that A has.

The belief of a child. The belief that one man can travel the globe gladly giving presents and asking nothing in return is amazing. (There is that word again...) But really, think about it. We ask our children to believe this. We work to make sure their belief is fostered and supported. I think it is one of the best gifts we can give our children, this belief.

Santa is magic. Santa is hope. Santa is kind. It is not about presents. It is about the joy and amazement. The cookies are gone! The milk too! It is about the belief in something a little special, a little magic, a little too good to be true. In a world where we ask (and often force) our kids to grow old before their time, they need Santa. They need the chance to be kids. To believe.

And as a parent, I need that too. Yes, she is 4. But soon she will be 14, then 24, and so on....

But for now, she is 4. And I know the magic of Santa is real. I can see it in my daughter's face.

DIY Christmas Garland for the Mantle

A few weeks ago my mom and I went to Hobby Lobby. We were looking at the Christmas decor and oohing and awing over the giant beautiful garlands. These were not rinky dink garlands, these were massive, 6 foot long, covered in decorations, and 200 dollars. Um. Excuse me? $200!!!!! Even with a half off special, there was no way I was going to be able to get one. I told Mom, I could probably make one, but who has the time?

Well, thanks to a surprise ice storm granting me a day off I did.

Materials Needed:

  • Lighted garland (I recommend a battery operated one and will explain why)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Glue sticks
  • Decorative balls
  • Additional decorative accents (I used butterflies, pine cones, and snowflakes)
  • A large clear work area (I recommend the floor!)
Our tree has been silver, gold, bronze, and white for the past 5 years. What can I say....However, this year and last I started moving away from butterflies and towards deer. I also purchased two sets of larger white snowflakes in place of the previous years' smaller gold and silver ones. So, with the accumulation of snowflakes, glitter balls, and deer I found that I had snowflakes and glitter balls to spare, plus all the butterflies left over. I also already had a 6 foot lighted garland. In the past I put it up on my mantle as is, but I found myself with the perfect opportunity to try and jazz it up. I also already had red and green smaller balls on hand (sadly my beautiful hurricanes that held them last year did not survive 2013). So really all I bought for this was one more set of a lighter gold/silver mix and the pine cones. Total cost--$10 thanks to re-purposing things I already had. I'm not a math teacher, but I do understand the huge savings in the situation!!

So now, on to the process.

  • Step 1: lay out the garland.
    • You will probably need to fluff and rearrange the branches of your garland, especially if you do buy a cheaper one, speaking from personal experience.
  • Step 2: lay out the materials.

    • I essentially did a test run where I placed everything before committing to glue.
    • The butterflies all had clips, so I started by spacing them out then I sorted all the balls I had to make sure I didn't end up with all the greens in one section.
  • Step 3: once you are happy with your layout, start gluing. 
    • I started at the end and worked section by section. 
    • I glued the pine cone for that section first, then worked from butterfly to butterfly. Once I had all the glitter balls in place I added a snowflake.
    • I adjusted and made small changes, but I can say for certain that laying everything out first helped!
  • Step 4: Place on your mantle and enjoy!
This was honestly one of the easier DIY projects I have done. It is time consuming, but the process itself is quite simple. The only issue I have is with the cord. The garland is basically the same length as my mantle, so the cord just sort of hangs there. I really wish I had bought a new battery operated garland, as this would solve the issue. However, I am working on a solution!