As far as I'm concerned, we're ahead of schedule.

OK, so this time last year there was too much crap piled up in my living room to even think about adding a tree to the chaos. So I'm feeling pretty good that this year, the tree is in the house and upright. Don't get pushy about lights and ornaments -- I can only do so much!

The sunny girl did put up some gel-filled sticky thingies on the windows. So that's festive.

Our Advent calendar is an annual tradition, but there have been December 1sts that have been calendar-free because I just could not lay my hands on it. Those were the years we played a game I like to call "Advent Catch-Up" when I did find the calendar. This year -- win!

It's not even time for our Christmas stockings, but I know where they are, too! You have no idea how big this is. Ask Grandma Donna about the Christmas Eve when I couldn't find the stockings, so I hung six Santa hats on the mantel. One of the "hats" was actually a cloth wine gift bag decorated to look like a Santa hat. That bad boy hung there with all the other hats, like it knew what it was doing. Pathetic, and absolutely true. How cool is Santa, though?! -- he didn't even mind!

And best of all, the merry old basket of Hershey's kisses has taken up its accustomed place by the front door. This means that the merry old Hershey's kisses wrappers have taken up their accustomed places all over every floor of the home.

Some Christmas traditions live on forever.


Behind the Advent calendar door on Day 14, we find Silent Night, written and illustrated by Will Moses. Coleen turned our family on to this gorgeously illustrated book; Will Moses is her favorite artist. With the lyrics to the lovely carol as section headings, it tells the story of the Miller family as they prepare for the Christmas Eve birth of a baby girl. It's a great bedtime story.