What I Learned in December

What I Learned in December | A Simple Haven

late Thanksgiving made this year’s holiday season seem a bit too brief, but I remember it as simple and special.  We generally don’t travel for Christmas and come December 1st I’d completed most of my shopping, so the month felt like a festive respite.

Can a respite be festive?  Anyway.

This month, I learned a bit about celebrating Christmas birthdays, fun coffee makers, and the importance of snapping pictures of the first snow before the rain comes.

Throw in some perfectionism-recovery and the discovery of Hobbit-loving friends and December is looking pretty good.

What I Learned This December

It is possible to have a simple, peaceful Christmas.

For me, it meant discarding some perfectionism, surrendering to my daughter’s ornament-hanging preferences (grouping by color) not pursing every single way to make my family’s Christmas amazing, and soaking my mornings in some good advent devotionals.

(I did this one, but will try this one next year).



There really is nothing like a nice, big dumping of snow–that doesn’t melt the next day.

The beauty of snow-laden branches and white-topped houses surprised me every morning for almost a week.

But my regret is not taking pictures of all the loveliness before the rain came.  I kept putting it off, thinking I’d remember later–and then it was gone.  Lesson 2b: Capture fleeting beauty while I can.

Making a homemade wreath is hard. See below.

Homemade Wreath | A Simple Haven

Sometimes a quiet family-only birthday celebration is just right.

Buckaroo turned two on the 23rd and while we’d planned to share cake with friends, it ended up being just our little family.  So I reminded myself of my own advice for a simple, stress-free Christmas birthday.

We filled the day with his favorite things–bath time in which Mommy bent the “no splashing” rules, lunch date with daddy, snuggles & wrestling, Big Red Barn, chili & cornbread–and ended with cake and presents.

And it was great.

Buckaroo is 2

My Hobbit-loving friends are disproportionately male.

Ok, so I already knew this.  What I really learned is that I do have a few Tolkien-enthusiast girlfriends.   Who saw The Desolation of Smaug with me.  And it was fantastic.

The Hobbit

I am ok with screenwriters taking liberties with books.

Case in point: see above.  I surrender expectations of the movie being the same or as good as the book, so I’m generally not too disappointed.

Film simply can’t portray characters and plots the same way books do.  And that’s ok.  If done well, movies can paint visual feasts that inspire and delight–while still honoring the book.

There are cast-iron French-press coffee makers.

I’ve thought about buying a French-press for a while but have hesitated due to my habit of breaking glass coffee pots.  Clearly, I hadn’t done much research, because until Anne mentioned this one I thought there were only glass models.

French Press

Beautiful, right?  And presumably Jenn-proof.

While we’re talking about coffee, this is a Chemex:


Though an avid coffee fan, I am by no means an expert.  So the existence of the Chemex was news to me.

Praised by the Illinois Institute of Technology as “one of the best-designed products of modern times,” it seems to be a step above the French Press in the world of coffee snobs (connoisseurs? experts?).

But my favorite is the Amazon description:

“The Chemex Glass Coffee Maker has no moving parts and will work forever, unless it is dropped or in some other way demolished.”

Right.  So, no, I will not be purchasing one.



Do not, under any circumstances, try to administer the Neti Pot on your stuffy-nosed three year old at 1am.

Understatement: it will not go well.  The same goes for using a nasal aspirator in a similar fashion.

(Confession: I call the nasal aspirator “the baby snot thing,” to the horror of my husband).

You’re better off turning on the shower, letting steam do its work, and then snuggling with her for an hour.

What did you learn this December? I’d love to hear!

And, if you’ve a moment, hop over to Chatting at the Sky to see what everyone else learned.

Disclosure: this post contained some affiliate links. Thanks for supporting A Simple Haven! 🙂


About Jenn

Jenn is a mommy of three and wife to her best friend. She enjoys good books, dinner guests, elevenses, and proper apostrophe use.

  • Amber Lo

    Have you heard of the Aeropress? We’ve heard lots of rave reviews from coffee loving friends!

  • That French press looks really cool! I followed your link-up from chatting at the sky. 🙂 Happy New Year! Elizabeth from BeautyObserved.com

  • Christine

    I love your blog Jenn! You’ll have to tell me what you thought about the additions they made to The Hobbit!

    • Thanks, Christine! On The Hobbit–it’s actually been about ten years since I read it, so I while I knew there were changes, I didn’t actually remember enough of the original plot to be bothered by them :). Are you a fan?

  • I am in serious love with that French Press. It is on my wish list for sure. And J got a Chemex for Christmas and I don’t touch it, I’m too afraid of breaking it. 😉 But it is really good coffee.
    And, I have no Hobbit-loving girlfriends that are local but my sister and I avidly discussed all the plot changes.
    And that wreath is gorgeous, I love the realness of it. I have a fake wreath and I’m kinda over it after this year.

  • mercynotes

    Fun…gosh, I understand about the neti pot. Never tried to give it to a little one!