Thursday, December 29, 2005

A Letter to toy packagers

Dear Sirs/Madams;

If you wish to have people purchase and use your toys would you please make it so that we can get them out of the packaging!!!!

This practice of tying the toy to the package with wire ties (many many wire ties) is bad enough, but do you then have to tape over those ties? It is hard enough to open a package while ensuring there are no small parts to get lost (while fending off the child who is terribly anxious to play with the new toy) without also having to deal with the over aggressive fastening of the to to the package.

THanks sincerely,
The League of Frustrated Parents.

A Travel Diary

Now at my parents, getting used to the LAptop Keyboard (so accuracy may be a little off).

FLew here yesterday. LEft mother-inlaws at 9am EST, arrived here at 9pm MST. Needless to say that the girls were a little tired.

ACtually the day was not planned to be that long. But at the Calgary airport we were set to have a 90 minute layover. Instead it was 4 hours. Try killing 2 extra hours at an airport with tired and restless toddlers--not fun.

BUt we are here and settled and everyone is safe and happy. Tomorrow it is often to the mountains for New Year's.

Happy 2006 everyone!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

THe Presents are done

Stopped to unload the digital before leaving so though I'd share some Christmas pics. This one was taken last night after Santa came--that silly horse was a bit of a pain to assemble .

And here they all are opened. The piles on the sides are the girls--the bit of stuff in front is mom and dad's. Mind you there is more to come--all the gifts from Patty's family await us later today

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas one and all!
In the morning we are off for holidays until Jan 4. So see you all in the New Year!

A CHristmas Story

This just arrrived in my e-mail
It was the day after Christmas at a church in San Francisco. The pastor of the church was looking over the Nativity scene when he noticed that the baby Jesus was missing from among the figures.
Immediately he turned, went outside, and saw a little boy with a red wagon. In the wagon was the figure of the infant Jesus. So, he walked up to the boy and said, "Well, where did you get Him, my fine friend?"
The little boy replied, "I got Him from the church."
And why did you take Him?"
The boy said, "Well, about a week before Christmas I prayed to the Lord Jesus and I told Him if He would bring me a red wagon for Christmas I would give Him a ride around the block in it."

Friday, December 23, 2005

From Our House to Yours

Have a Merry Christmas and God's Blessings for 2006!
Gord, Patty, Sarah, Devyn and Sheba

The RGBP Friday 5

  1. If you had to choose CDs as a soundtrack for the Christmas season, what would they be? SElections from Messiah, Linnea Good's Sometimes CHristmas, Kings College Choir. And probably others. Oh and you have to include Bing singing White Christmas.
  2. How do you feel about singing all the verses of "The First Noel?" (Six in our hymnal, but apparently there are nine.) I am not crazy about singing any of the verses. THe chorus always strike me as being terribly whiny. (Voices United has 6 verses, places it in the Epiphany section, and spells it Nowell--if anyone is interested)
  3. "O, Come All Ye Faithful" has a lot of verses, too. Which is your favorite? First I have to note that our older hymn book had the Latin words, now we don't. I always liked to sing the Latin words (partly because it really annoyed my sister). I think the one we have as verse 3 "Sing choirs of angels..."
  4. What music do you play while opening presents? Pretty much varies. LAst year we tuned the TV to "LOG: A Christmas Special"* and listened to what they were playing. Other than that we put in whatever CD strikes my fancy at the time.
  5. Which carols do you consider to be Christmas Eve essentials? O Come all Ye Faithful, at least one of the angel carols (Hark the Herald or Angels we Have HEard), O Little Town of Bethlehem, Joy to The World, Silent Night.
  6. and a Bonus Question: What, if any, is your favorite secular Christmas song? NOt sure actually, depends on my mood. But "Old Toy Trains" has always had a place in my heart.

*this is taped footage of a burning fireplace.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

For all you Canadian Voters...

Here is a little "quiz" to see which federal leader (well they don't include the Green party) your views are most in line with.

My results were:
Layton(New Democratic Party)---100
Duceppe(Bloc Quebecois)-----------94
Which really isn't surprising since, apart from disagreeing with his separatiste motivations, I do agree with Duceppe's left-of-center position.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Maybe the Terrorists actually have Won

Representatives from many places and races, representing all the free peoples, gathered together at Imladris. There they sat to have a council of War. Chief among their concerns was what to do with The Ring. The Wise among them, those with many centuries of experience dealing with Sauron, spoke strongly of the need to destroy the Ring--to take it to the very heart of Sauron's realm and throw it into the fire. Only then would the evil be defeated.

Among those who were gathered was a man of Gondor. For his whole life, and many lifetimes before that, his people had been at the forefront in the battle with Sauron. Realizing the potential value of the Ring as a weapon, he stood and advocated that it should be used as such. There were many, he said, with the power to use this weapon to full effect. Then Sauron could be crushed, all his armies and fortifications destroyed. Why throw away such a powerful weapon?

Indeed there were many with the power to use the Ring. Gandalf, Elrond, Galadriel, Aragorn could have easily taken it, called it their own, and vanquished. But they saw the error of that logic. They knew that to use the Dark Lord's weapon would, in the end, turn them to the Dark. The victory would be hollow and meaningless, and many good things would be never seen again. One cannot use the weapons of the Enemy without being changed.

I find in the Council of Elrond a parable for modern times. 4 years ago we heard a repetitive chorus from leadership. That chorus said that "if we do (or don't do, depending on the example) A then the terrorists will have one". The terrorists, they said, hated our way of life. The terrorists, they said, wanted to change and destroy our way of life. They hated our freedom, our liberty to say what we wished, to gather with who we wished, to be different from those around us.

In the past 4 years we have seen many regrettable things. We have seen captives get heads cut off. We have read innumerable stories about suicide bombings and insurgent attacks. But we have also read about abuses of captives at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib, about secret interrogation centres run by the CIA, about NSA officials spying on US citizens without the need for a warrant, about members of the US Administration openly arguing that torture is sometimes needed. Just recently, when members of the Senate scuttled a quick renewal of powers under the PATRIOT Act President Bush accused them of putting the country's security at risk. And I am forced to wonder if maybe the terrorists have already won.

Maybe the "war on terror" has led us to a terrible place. Maybe in our zeal to protect ourselves we have become too much like the enemy we fight. WE have backed away from ideals of freedom and equality and justice in favour of "win at any costs". We have forgotten our shared humanity with the enemy and treated them like a sub-group lower than ourselves. It matters not how they would treat us when captured--we still have the power to choose how we will act. We cannot act like the enemy acts without being changed into the enemy ourselves.

The Wise won out in Imladris. Despite the temptation of almost certain victory they chose the harder path. They turned their backs on the Dark road, in favour of one that seemed darker and futile. What path would the Wise choose for us today?

NB: In the foreword to LOTR Tolkien states clearly that the War of the Ring was not an analogy to WW2. Had it been, he said, the West would have used the Ring. And that would have been disastrous.

Monday, December 19, 2005

My Favourite Advent Hymn

Tomorrow Christ is coming as yesterday he came;
a child is born this moment- we do not know its name.
The world is full of darkness, again there is no room;
the symbols of existence are stable, cross and tomb.

Tomorrow will be Christmas, the feast of love divine,

but for the nameless millions the star will never shine.
Still is the census taken with people on the move;
new infants born in stables are crying out for love.

There will be no tomorrows for many a baby born.

Good Friday falls on Christmas when life is sown as corn.
But Jesus Christ is risen and comes again in bread
to still our deepest hunger and raise us from the dead.

Our God becomes incarnate in every human birth.

Created in God's image, we must make peace on earth.
God will fulfil Love's purpose and this shall be the sign:
we shall find Christ among us as woman, child or man.
--Fred Kaan (born 1929) © 1968 Stainer & Bell Ltd

I have had a fondness for this hymn since I was a child. It is best set to a tune in a minor key, that highlights it's somberness. I like the reality of the words, the way it reminds us that Christ comes again and again into a broken, hurting world. BUt still it ends with hope. FOr the Incarnation's hope is best seen when we turn away from the self-serving "it will all be alright" and look seriously at the reality of the world. Only when we know the meaning of darkness and shadow do we appreciate the gift and power of light.

May we all know the coming of light into the world!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Pageant Recap

This morning was our Christmas Pageant. Normally I am not a big fan of pageants. I think I have seen too many troops of angels with tinsel halos and shepherds wearing bathrobes and towels. But this year was different.

A couple months ago two of the children (ages 9 and 11) in the congregation announced that they would write the pageant this year. Always willing to encourage activity and excitement such as that I said "go ahead" and the rest of the adults involved agreed (I wasn't sure on that one--it might not be a traditional pageant and that might have been an issue). The parents of the children involved helped finalize the script--and add a bit of the "Christian, meaning of Christmas" part to it. And this morning was the day.

The plot was more or less a take off on "How the Grinch..." with an angel appearing to help the lead character understand what she was feeling. Many of the children we have to draw from are pre-readers so it was good that most of the speaking was done by narrators with a few bits of dialogue. Yesterday at rehearsal things were, to say the least, chaotic. But this morning went without a hitch, or at least with no major hitches. It was well-received and it was different--and that is a selling point in my opinion.

However, we seem to have forgotten the offering. Actually, there was a point in the story where the congregation was invited to bring their white gifts forward and that was meant to be the offering time as well (bring it forward at the same time). Unfortunately that isn't how the line was written (it only referred to white gifts) and of course the line was read as written. I had a number of people afterward ask why the offering-or "collection", I hate that way of referring to it-was missed.

The odd thing is that this is how offering has been done during the pageant for the last 4 years--and the people who asked were regular attenders. But those who were worried got their envelope to the counters, and really, is it a terrible thing to have a worship service without passing the plate for a change??

PS: I hoped to have a picture from the show to post but got so busy helping move/cue the players that I didn't get the camera out.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Friday Five

  1. Have you ever gotten a really good kiss under the mistletoe? Tell the truth. Spare no details. Was the mistletoe real, because kisses under the fake stuff do. not. count. Ummmm that would be a no. And I don't think I have ever seen real mistletoe. Although at high school dances there were always some people wandering around ready to hold bits of plastic over couples heads. Mind you you would have to find someone willing to dance with you to take advantage of that so that left me out. :(
  2. Do you know anyone who makes real eggnog, not the stuff from the carton? And if so, do you actually like it? Nope. Only remember drinking it from the carton.
  3. What's your favorite Christmas party album/CD ever? One of my favourites is one of my father's. It is called (I think) "Gold, Incense, and Myrhh" and it is by the Medical Mission Sisters. A newer favourite is one the local cable tech made for me. An eclectic mixture of things on that one.
  4. Does your office/workplace have a party? Do the people there ever behave the way people in movies behave at office parties, which is to say, badly? Current workplace, no. But at Kids Kottage we had great fun at dry parties. The best part was always the gift exchange. We brought un-named gifts and then drew numbers for choosing gifts. The sticking point was that no gift could be opened until all gifts were taken. This was important because a gift could be "stolen" from the original chooser. First year we did that there were no limits and the gift exchange took at least 45 minutes (for about 20 people). One gift was in every person's hands at least once--we all liked the gift bag. After that we had a rule where each gift could only be stolen a maximum of 3 times.
  5. If you have to bring something to a party, what is it likely to be? Do people like it? I was always asked/told/ordered to bring home made buns or chocolate-chocolate chip cookies. They were favourites of my co-workers (who placed such requests at random intervals party or no party).

A CHallenge Update

A couple weeks ago I made myself a challenge. THe challenge was to make a special donation to charity equal to at least 50% of the amount we spent on presents for the girls.

Well I have decided where I will make the donation. It will go to the crisis nursery where I used to work, Kids Kottage. TOday is their annual radiothon. Each year it is held thanks to the support of a Christian Radio station in Edmonton. They are also webcasting. Find it here or here.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

What is Being Born? Here. Now.

Last Sunday I preached about my ambiguous feeling around Christmas. These thoughts arose out of that

One of my many quibbles with the whole Christmas thing is the romanticism of it. Or more accurately the way the church has romanticized (and sanitized) the story.

As Luke tells the story (and that is the version most of us use on Christmas Eve) it is a story about a young woman making an incredibly difficult journey in the ninth month of pregnancy and then giving birth in "less than ideal" circumstances. Remember that this is a time and place where death of mother and/or child in childbirth is hardly rare, it may not happen every day but it happens. Remember that babies are babies. They cry, puke, belch, pee, and poop.

Now think of how we talk about the story. We sing carols about but little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes. We talk about how calm and serene a scene it was. To watch Christmas pageants and listen to Christmas carols one would get the picture of a painless, calm and quiet event. How many parents out there would describe childbirth as a soothing, calm, painless event? Joyful in many cases, even wonderful for many, but painless and quiet?

ISTM that the childbirth, the labour pains, the messiness and pain, is important to remember. The Incarnation is about the God who says "behold, I am doing a new thing". The Incarnation is a time when something new is being born. And with birth comes change. Life after a child is born is wholly and irrevocably different than it was pre-child.

So the question I have to ask is "what is being born now?" What are the labour pains of the world in December of 2005, for what do we wait with that mix of joyous/anxious/uncertain expectation? And when the birth takes place how will we react? How will our lives be changed?

Change is scary, stressful, worrisome. Change is downright hard. And if Christmas is about the coming of change, about the birth of God's newness, then maybe we should be ambiguous about liking it.

NEw Game for wasting time

Found over at Friday Mom's

Try out Smack-a-Penguin

I got as far as 329 once. Many times I either miss the penguin or get the angles wrong so he lands head first rather than skipping along for more distance.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

SOmehow I Don't know....

You Are Comet

A total daredevil, you're the reindeer with an edge!

Why You're Naughty: You almost gave Santa a heart attack when you took him sky diving

Why You're Nice: You always make sure the sleigh is going warp speed
Got this via the Round up on RGBP.
Honestly, not sure that I would count as a daredevil--other than this whole being crazy enough to go into ministry thing :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


THis is worth a read.

Carol Quiz Answers

HEre are the answers from the Quiz posted on Sunday:

  1. O Come, All Ye Faithful
  2. Silent Night, Holy Night
  3. Joy To The World
  4. Deck the Halls
  5. Little Drummer Boy
  6. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
  7. We Three Kings
  8. Silver Bells
  9. Away in a Manger
  10. Go Tell It On The Mountain
  11. Frosty the Snowman
  12. We Wish You a Merry Christmas

Well done everybody!

Monday, December 12, 2005

A CHristmas Story

The wind gusted, sending the fresh snow swirling around the lamp post. Miriam shivered, pulling the thin coat tighter around her chest. “Gonna be a cold one tonight,” she muttered, squinting through the darkness.

A little further down the block was the big old church. Miriam remembered going there as a child, remembered the beautiful stained glass windows. Suddenly a friendly voice boomed in her ear. “Merry Christmas! Please come and join us for worship!”

Miriam looked around, wondering who the cheerful man was talking to. Surely it couldn’t be her. Christmas Eve was a special service, someone wearing an old coat and wrapped in a hand-me-down blanket didn’t fit in with the fancy dresses and bright lights. But there was nobody else around. “Ar-are you talking to m-m-me?” she asked.

“Of course my dear,” the greeter replied. “Come in and warm up at least.” Miriam could hardly believe her ears; certainly a chance to get out of the wind was welcome. Gratefully she made her way up the old stone stairs and snuck into a pew way at the back of the sanctuary, just as the opening notes of the first hymn were being played.

As she listened to the familiar old carols Miriam couldn’t help remembering the Christmases of her childhood. Things were so much happier, so much simpler then. “What had gone wrong?” she muttered to herself. Then the pageant started. Watching Mary and Joseph get turned away from the inn Miriam felt her heart reach out to them. She knew what it meant to have nowhere to go.

After the service, Miriam started to wrap herself in the blanket again and sneak out without being seen. No luck. The greeter was right there beside her again. “Where will you sleep tonight?” he asked. Miriam said nothing, just looked away.

Finally she looked up, “I don’t know, there was no room at the shelter.”

“Well that will never do” the young man said. He paused for a moment then a smile came back to his face. “You will come to my parent’s house with me,” he said. The story we just heard reminds us that there should always be room at the inn somewhere.

It might have been a trick of the light and wind. But at that moment Miriam was sure that the greeter’s face was shining, just like the angel in the window behind her. And somewhere she heard voices singing “Hallelujah!”…

Sunday, December 11, 2005

A CArol Quiz...

"Here are some sesquipedalian verbosities based on Christmas carols, some sacred, some secular. Guess what carol each bit of gobbledygook refers to. Makes a great ice-breaker game for Christmas parties.
  1. Move hitherward the entire assembly of those who are loyal in their beliefs.
  2. Nocturnal time span of unbroken quietness.
  3. An emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good given to the terrestrial sphere.
  4. Embellish the interior passageways.
  5. Diminutive masculine master of skin-covered percussionistic cylinders.
  6. Omnipotent Supreme Being who elicits respite to ecstatic distinguished males.
  7. The first person nominative plural of a triumvirate of near eastern heads of state.
  8. Tintinnabulation of vacillating pendulums in inverted, metallic, resonant cups.
  9. In a distant location, the existence of an improvised unit of newborn children's slumber furniture.
  10. Proceed forth, declaring upon a specific geological alpine formation.
  11. Obese personification fabricated of compressed mounds of minute crystals.
  12. Jovial yuletide desired for the second person singular or plural, by us."

"From Ralph Milton's RUMORS, a free Internet 'e-zine' for Christians with a sense of humor." To Subscribe: Send a blank e-mail to: * Don't put anything else in that e-mail*

Answers will be posted on Tuesday. LEt the guessing begin!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

HEy! I could do worse!

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
You are 'Hark! The Herald Angels Sing'. You take Christmas very seriously. For you, it is a religious festival, celebrating the birth of the Saviour, and its current secularisation really irritates you. You enjoy the period of Advent leading up to Christmas, and attend any local carol services you can find, as well as the more contemplative Advent church services each Sunday. You may be involved in Christmas food collections or similar charity work. The midnight service at your church, with candles and carols, is one you look forward to all year, and you also look forward to the family get together on Christmas Day.

What Christmas Carol are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

And it was my favourite among the possible answers too!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Snow Day Friday Five

1) Snow: love it or hate it? Love it. Always have. OK, maybe when I was shoveling every second day for all of January and February 2005 there were days...

2) First snow memory Learning to X-Country ski when I was 4. The adults were slaloming down the hill using their poles as flags. And I was barely standing up in those silly bindings they made for preschool sized skiers.

3) Best Snow Day ever (actual or imagined) I have only experienced one snow day. That was in University. One night it was +5 and raining when I went to bed. When I got up it was -20 and snowing, kept snowing all day, bus system was a mess, over 3 inches of solid ice on the roads with at least a foot of snow on top. University of Alberta closed down for the first time ever the next day--the president thought having 30 000 students and staff coming in was too risky given the conditions. Unfortunately I got to spend most of the Snow Day shoveling out our driveway :(

4) Best use of snow in a movie, song, book or poem For some reason "The Cat in the Hat Comes Back" comes to mind--all that pink snow. "The Lion the Witch..." is also good. AS is the snow on Caradhras that forces the fellowship to go down through Moria (LOTR).

5) What you are planning to do today, with or without snow Well it is now evening so I guess it is more what I did. And that is pretty much nothing. Hooked up our new DVD/VCR (Christmas present to ourselves) and other than that had a nice day off.

A Quote about Marriage

Going through my files today I found this. I have always liked the quote.

Oh Yeah, this will work...

Saw this story on the news last night:
Premier Dalton McGuinty wants to cut the annual high school dropout rate in half, to 15 per cent by 2010.
McGuinty says the province will change the high school curriculum so it encourages kids to stay and next week Education Minister Gerard Kennedy will introduce legislation to keep kids in school until age 18. The Minister says kids will be encouraged to stay in school with more choice, more co-op programs and a specialized high school diploma.
NOw part of this I like. It makes sense to offer a variety of different programs. After all, not all teenagers are suited to academics. Working an apprenticeship-type program into high school would be a good thing to help meet their needs.

But the idea that the way to keep kids from dropping out is to force them to saty in school for 2 more years (currently you can drop out at 16)? What will that accomplish? SO you can't drop out. Big deal. Students who are not getting anything from school will still "forget" to go. Or you can force them to attend but nothing can force them to learn. Unless of course graduation is acheived by being a warm body in a seat and not by learning the curriculum.

Don't get me wrong. Anything to encourage teens-at-risk to get more education is a good thing. But forcing them to be there just doesn't seem the best way to do that.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

You must remember this...

Great new game going around. I started playing over at InnerDorothy's

Please post a comment with a COMPLETELY MADE UP AND FICTIONAL MEMORY OF YOU AND ME. It can be anything you want--good or bad--BUT IT HAS TO BE FAKE. When you're finished, post this paragraph on your blog and be surprised (or mortified) about what people DON'T ACTUALLY remember about you.

...THe fundamental things apply. As time goes by.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Whooooo HOooooooooooooooo

I must be doing something right because I actually believe that I am getting organized. Just finished the bulletin for Dec 18, which means that I am done all the bulletins for Christmas and JAnuary 8 (my first Sunday back from holidays). Well there are a couple names I need to get from people yet (choir anthem titles and so on) but the work part is DONE!

Now I just need to figure out of I like Christmas before Sunday (sermon title Do I like Christmas?) and what I am going to say about it. Dec 18 is Christmas Pageant so no sermon whoo hoo!

Not only that but I got the Christmas letter written last night and copied today--now I just have to address and sign the cards--never got around to cards last year AT ALL.

Things are coming together nicely. I think I deserve a drink. Oh wait, no rum for the egg nog. Darn :)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A Somber Anniversary

Ceremonies are being held across Canada on Tuesday, the 16th anniversary of the Montreal massacre, a day of remembrance of violence against women.

Classes were finished for the term. I was headed to campus to attend a Christmas gathering when I heard the rumour of something terrible that had happened in Montreal. Only later, when I was home and watching the news did I realize what that was.

As a young adult I always assumed that people my age and younger would have no difficulty with the concept of sexual equality. After all, we had grown up in the 70's and 80's. Our world was one that was different than our parents' world. OF course I have since learned that I was wrong. I have since met many many people my age and younger who still have very old ideas about gender roles.

In 1989 a seriously disturbed young man, angry at the world, at the school that had denied him access, and at the women he blamed for "taking his place" snapped. And 15 lives were lost, 15 families shattered. 14 families were left wondering what had put their daughters in the line of fire and one family was left to deal with the reality that their son had done this.

In the years since December 6 has been marked at campuses across the country. It has been a day of remembering not only those 14 but all women who suffer from violence at the hands of men. It is a day when many men reaffirm our belief about the need to speak out about gender roles, about the need for another way of living, about the need to teach our sons differently.

In memory of those 14 and hundreds of others, I urge you to take a moment of silence. In hope that we can never again have such an event to remember, I urge you to tak time to speak out. Only by teaching what is and is not acceptable to we stop the growth and escalation of anger, of violence, of pain, of death.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Hmm, this is, interesting...

jkkh are the plant of love! You are the
mistletoe! You are a loving, romantic person
who likes to do what is best for the one or
ones you care about mostly. You are very
affectionate and enjoy being close to people.
You believe that love brings you together,
which is a wonderful thing. You are most likely
going to have a very nice and marvelous season.
Your inventive mind could come up with anything
interesting to do. Merry Christmas =)

What Christmas Figure Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla


Here are some pictures from our decorating yesterday:

This is the Nativity Scene. It is a Fontanini set (actually 1 Magus and the Donkey are from another series--the first one was discontinued by then).

And these are the Christmas Dishes we received as a gift last year. There are 4 different snowpersons in the set. Also on the table are two ceramic loons and an athletic-sock-snowman made by mother and child last year.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

A Seasonal Friday Five

I was out-of-town until this afternoon so here we are on Saturday. But here are my five...
  1. Do you display a nativity scene, and if so, where? We might this year. I have one that was given in stages over a number of Christmases. The challenge is to find a place it can go which is both child and dog inaccesible.
  2. Do you put a skirt under the Christmas tree? If so, what does it look like? YEs, but you know what? I cant actually remember what it looks like (and it is at the bottom of the decoration box).
  3. Do you hang lights on the house or put them in your windows? Yes to both most years. HAven't decided about around the window this year.
  4. White lights or colored lights on the tree? Big bulbs or the small, pretty ones? (I'm not biased...much.) Coloured big lights. May invest in LED lights this year. Unfortunately this year we are using an artificial tree since we are leaving town Dec 25 for 10 days. That is too long to leave a real tree :(
  5. Do you have a tree topper? What sort? Who puts it on top of the tree? A gold-coloured star. I generally put it up since I can reach. This year I might lift a child up to help me.

Update: WE found a place for the nativity set. Cleaned off half the entertainment stand.

Update#2: While getting some stuff out of the decorations box I found another nativity. This one is in needlepoint and is now hanging on the door to the girl's room. Oh and tomorrow I may take and post pictures of our festive diningroom--complete with the Christmas dishes we got last year.