My Christmas Hearth and Musings

Christmas Hearth

This is my mantel for Christmas. Although I don’t buy new decorations every year, I do try to think of new ways to display them. I’m pretty happy with this one; it’s simple and sweet and repurposes some old items in a new way. In front of this hearth is where my children draw and play with Legos nearly every day.

My Mantle

I used an old store-bought (plastic?) garland of “greenery” and added our collection of Waldorf woolen angels. I think we’ve received one wool angel per year for the last six years or so. They didn’t go up on our tree this year because our tree is smaller than usual. But I couldn’t not put them out. I think they look terrific in a group this way.

Woolen Angel Garland

I indulged in buying one new Christmas decoration this year: a box of 15 straw star ornaments for $7.99. I adore them. They are so intricate and pretty, and look just right here.

Wool Angel, Straw Star

The truth is I have materials for making such straw star ornaments, which are a traditional German Christmas decoration, but I haven’t had time to sit down and try to figure out how. I have a package of natural color straw and red straw. I have gold thread and red thread for tying off intersections in the stars. I secretly hope to have a few free hours to play with this, however, I admit I’m doubting I will. It looks really hard to me.


This is the nativity scene that my grandmother bought me about ten years ago. It’s porcelain and fancy and very colorful and, although I never would have bought it,  I love it. Each year when I unwrap it, I say a silent prayer and hope that we don’t accidentally break it. After Christmas I carefully pack it back into the original box in the hopes that it will be safe another year. It is sitting on a cloth I wove myself.

My "Waldorf" Angels

These are my “Waldorf” resin angels. I bought them at a craft fair a few years back for $6 each. I call them Waldorf because they are faceless. In the vase are dried daylily stems from my garden. I collect them as they dry out because they’re interesting to me and I’m always trying to use found natural items in my crafting. Ian thinks I’m nuts because I save these, especially as I usually don’t have any idea how I’m going to use them. The group on the right is still merely rubberbanded together. I like that they are so tall and so bleached out.

Today I saw a blog with the most amazing Christmas decorations I have ever seen. The home that was featured was so exquisitely beautiful it looked like a whole team of stylists were on staff full-time and that no one lived there at all. There wasn’t a single item out of place or bit of evidence that a child even walked through. It was glitzy and glamorous and completely soulless. It also looked like entire villages of people could be fed for months on what was spent to decorate that home, and that realization made me feel rather ill. Frankly, it was obscene—a word I don’t use lightly. That display of wealth and glitter made me feel so weird and conflicted that I almost didn’t write this post about my nifty mantel that I hodgepodged together. I mean, isn’t this the same kind of thing on a “poor-girl” scale?

Aesthetics are highly individual. Surrounding ourselves with art and beauty is one of the pleasures of life. Doing so lifts my spirits and helps me to feel like I’m raising children in a happy, intentional home. The creation of and appreciation for art is a celebration of our humanness, one of the crowning jewels of humanity. I don’t need or desire to be judgmental about the way that other people express themselves. I just know that if I had that kind of money, I wouldn’t be using it that way. I’d be feeding people.

One Response to “My Christmas Hearth and Musings”

  • Suzy Goodwin
    January 18, 2012 at 11:20 am

    Our family had a beautiful nativity set like that, and it was always my job to pull it out of the packaging and set it up somewhere in the house. I looked forward to it every year. Then my parents moved, it was lost or tossed out, and I miss it every year now. sad. I’m not even Christian, but it was a tradition of Christmas that was special to me. My mom is a “bah humbug” sort for the holidays, this year she wanted to skip Christmas, so instead we had it at my house. It was nice, maybe I can start some of my own traditions.


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  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

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    “Love doesn’t just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.” —Ursula K. LeGuinn

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