December 16, 2013

Giving Up the Perfect Christmas

Spending Thanksgiving away from home was a blessing. We enjoyed our beach retreat and are thankful we could go. Once we returned home, it was time to pull out the Christmas decorations. With only a day left in November, we knew we needed our Advent wreath the very next day.

I dug through the cabinet for the candles. {Yes, we reuse our Advent candles from year to year. Generally, by switching up the order we can get two years out of a set. When the candles are too low for the wreath, we use them in other places throughout the house until they are gone. You could call us cheap, but we prefer the term good steward.}

When I did find the saved candles, I realized they were too short for the wreath. A new set would have to be bought.

Ever try to find purple taper candles on the Saturday before the first Sunday of Advent?

Not easy.

Especially since we avoid the large shopping areas and malls like the plague 365 days of the year and did so on this day as well.

Consequently, we only visited two stores. The first, a craft supply store, {the one I thought for sure would have purple taper candles} was sorely lacking in purple candles. Lacking as in, not even a shelf space for them. Green and red varieties abounded. I snagged one pink and three cranberrish colored ones from the red section.

Three non purple candles. Could it work? Did it matter if they were purple or not? I couldn't decide as we traveled a short distance to the other store.

My Drummer husband dropped a daughter and me off at the store before he took the other children to the pet store. They were to pick out a bone and treats for our dog. Meanwhile, my daughter and I were on a quest for purple candles.

The second store, a card outlet, had a candle section filled with scented jar candles. Toasted marshmallow was quite interesting. {I think I liked it.} We asked the clerk for tapered candles.

"Advent candles?" she queried.

"Ah, yes," I smiled.

"Right over there," she told us as she pointed to the other side of the store.

We picked up the box. $8.00 for four candles. Hmmm, I slowly calculated what we had just spent. $4.80 on the other four candles, which of course could be used for two years.

Slowly, I walked over to the counter with the candles in hand, still debating on the 'properness' of using cranberry colored candles in an Advent wreath.

"Will that be all?" she asked.

"Yes," quietly, I answer. I pulled out a ten dollar bill.

She bagged the box and thanked us. We left. All during the short walk through the adjoining parking lot, I kept wondering. Did the color really matter? Had I just wasted money purchasing two sets of Advent candles?

As the Drummer started the van, I told him we had found the purple candles.
"Do you want to take back the other ones?" he asked.
"No," I sigh. "I think I want to use them. They may not look proper, but let's use them first. We'll keep the perfect purple set for another year."  
As we lit the first cranberry candle on that first Sunday in Advent, I realized we'll be having a cranberry Advent wreath for not just one year, but two. There will be two years of obvious imperfection.  
And, I'm OK with that.
~ Dorie

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