The tree is trimmed. The Hallmark Barbie ornaments are delicate with detail, the battery in the Linus ornament that plays the Charlie Brown theme song has died, the crystal Swarovski snowflake sparkles with the light and the Santa from my childhood tree sits atop mine.

The stockings line the fireplace. All purchased from the same store, in different years, with different names. They hang empty, waiting to be filled.

Slips of paper from the Advent calendar line our fridge, reminding us of the activities we haven’t had time to do.

The garland on the banister languishes on the upstairs landing, partially hung.

Half of our outdoor bushes are lit while the other half remains in the dark.

My shopping list is riddled with gaps, re-dos and incompletes.


Paper snowflakes have been meticulously cut and taped to the window, forever displaying the night we all sat around the table for 15 minutes and created them.

Decorated cookies, homemade ice cream, reindeer cake pops and lots of wine fill our contented bellies.

Slips of paper from the Advent calendar line our fridge, reminding us of the fun yet to be had.

Ten gifts are wrapped, all in the same paper, each labeled to the receiving child. The family we adopted this season will receive these gifts, thoughtfully selected by my children, carefully wrapped and labeled with care.

Christmas books are read each night by the tree.

Our elf sits on the shelf with the slyest of smirks, ready to fly home that night to report to Santa that Oliver cleaned the table, Penny made her Mommy yet another homemade gift and Lucas helped his little brother get ready for bed.