About the Author

Myquillyn Smith, The Nester, is a home stager, redesigner and design school drop-out. Her last home (a rental) was featured in Better Homes & Gardens, Cottages & Bungalows, Ladies' Home Journal and in her upcoming design philosphy book, The Nesting Place: It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful....

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  1. I LOVE the very last line of your post: “And, if you’ve already got too much going on, I invite you to not join in and simply be and enjoy.”
    😀 I might just borrow it someday . . .

  2. What a beautiful post! It’s like letting your kiddos put a Strawberry Shortcake ornament on your “perfect tree.” Letting go to focus on the main thing is sometimes the hardest thing… we all too often get caught up in the details. Thanks for the great reminder!

  3. People are more important than things. I don’t want to be distracted from the people of my life, so:
    – I try not to have anything on display little children aren’t allowed to touch.
    – I avoid menus of labor-intensive foods.
    – I turn off my cell phone more.
    – If I bake, I make a few less cookie recipes than I think I “absolutely must have.”
    – I alternate between programs I attend from year to year instead of trying to go to EVERY marvelous holiday offering every year.

  4. Love this……this year what works for us for many reasons is not have as much decor as I normally do. It simplifies things, it meets my husband’s needs to be less cluttered, and it eases stress for me. So we are ok with that. Thanks for the good sense you put into your blog!
    suzanne

  5. My grandmother had a simple plastic nativity under her tree that my sister and I played with for hours on end – and now that I have my own two year old, he has a Little People nativity set this year. And he loves it. We have to make sure the music puts the baby Jesus to sleep, and the other characters get arranged and rearranged all over the living room. I can’t wait to see his reaction to the live nativity at church!

  6. One year I let my oldest guide her siblings in putting the decorations on the tree , I think they were ages 11 on down. Needless to say they were very heavy front and centre, with special emphasis on the ones I usually hid in the back dark depths. We were hosting a fancy dinner party for my husband’s company, and in the rush I didn’t get back to “fix” it .
    All of the guests were so moved and taken with it. It was a lesson for a getting too designer like mamma.

  7. This year I’m not buying any presents and I’m not sending any cards. (If my children read that, they probably just fell over dead from the shock! Let’s hope they miss today’s post until I get a chance to tell them face-to-face.) Instead, I’m focused on Advent, and searching for peace, and lingering in quiet moments of prayer, or reading the story again. It’s beautiful. I hope my children get it.

  8. My daughter loves playing with the animals in our nativity set. None of them has ever ended up with Barbie in her convertible, though (yet)! Can’t wait for your Christmas party. I’m hosting mine this Friday, so I’ll be sure to mention yours, too.

  9. We do family devotionals every night and to keep the focus on the “reason for the season” we will have a handmade manger resting under the tree. Hay is added to it everyday until Christmas morning when “baby Jesus” all wrapped up is placed in the manger. We will have a birthday celebration for him too. My kids are still young so we can get away with this fun stuff. 🙂

  10. I really listen to my heart and my body telling me how much energy I have to spend for the holidays. Just as you would appropriate money for gifts based on your ability, I think it is important to budget my internal resources so that I enjoy the season and not become a big grump from doing things that I don’t have time and energy for.

  11. I love the Fontanini Nativity Set that we have. They look very grown up but are not breakable so the kids can play with them. A few years back the baby Jesus from the set went missing for days. We looked and looked but could not find where our 2 yr old had put him. Finally one night as we were relaxing with company our 4yr old comes running in yelling “I FOUND JESUS!!”. Our guests were very impressed. 🙂 It sure is nice to find Jesus.

  12. This year we decided to do the decorating in phases instead of exhaust ourselves doing it in one weekend. We are in about phase 5 now, with maybe 2 more to go. It has been a joy and very relaxing! It has also allowed us to meet with friends, bake cookies and s–l–o–w down.

  13. Barbie was a real smart girl to choose a “wise” man!
    I agree. The decorations aren’t hands-off in our home, never have been.

  14. Now I see how you tied decorating in with Barbie and the Nativity. 😉 Good job! I am so looking forward to the party. 🙂

  15. My bf & I used to put the wise men on the record turntable & watch them travel at 33 1/3 rpm on their way to Bethlehem…so I can totally relate to Barbie’s escapades 🙂

  16. Hello Nester: My friend at Life in Grace added your blog to my favorites on my computer this summer. I check in with you from time to time, but I am no blogger. I am a public school teacher in a rural school. I know that God placed me there to love and nurture my students. Any way, I just wanted to share my story of how I played with the nativity. My mom had a dime store set, made of chalk. The blackest of the three wise men was my favorite. He now sports a white ring around his neck where I broke his head off so many times! We talked about this episode of my childhood in my class one year and my students were so intrigued that I rushed to my mom’s and asked to borrow the ragged, broken set to show my students. I wish I could replay the looks on their tiny faces as they tenderly touched each piece. I am so grateful that my mom allowed me the opportunity to act out the Christmas Story using her nativity. I now know that this is a wonderful literacy development lesson plan, especially if it is “unplanned”. Keep allowing your children to know and experience Him through all avenues.

  17. Everything you (and Emiy) write about Barbie gets me every time!
    It’s hard not being a slave to the season, even when you try not to be. And I think it’s even harder for kids who are bombarded with consumerist messages even while watching a Charlie Brown Christmas. Suddenly everyone’s feeling discontent in the midst of merriment because of what they don’t have. Oh, how this is hard to combat!

  18. […] I’ve got a post up at (in)courage today. There’s a sweet story about Barbie dating someone from the nativity set and somehow I end up tying that in with decorating. Meet me there? Like it? Print, email or […]