Merry Christmas 2020!

Lies, madam.

It’s all a pack of lies – the big, fat, juicy kind that drip with deceit and reek of fresh manure.

All this holiday season, we’ve led you to believe we’re living in some sort of magical Christmas Wonderland.

Oh, we have the posts and projects to prove it!

But words and pictures put together just so can paint a truly fantastical scene – a scene at dire odds with reality.

Because, you see, after such a year and such a move, with the improving and the painting and the day-jobbing, we sorta lost track of the plot.

We found ourselves in mid-December with a whole bunch of Christmas crafts…

…but no Christmas tree…

…and no Christmas lights outside…

In fact, the living room isn’t fully painted yet. Just look at my shame!

I’ve been working on this room, on-and-off for months (and it’s no secret that it’s been more “off” than “on” recently). The walls are painted, but not the trim, and I’ve only just started the laborious task of gel-staining the banisters.

It is a process, madam. But it is better than sanding and a damn sight better than paying someone thousands of dollars to do it for me! I will be posting about the process sometime in the new year, but see here, madam! This is the brush I used for all that gel-staining (well, it’s not the exact brush, but it is an exact copy).

Why so small, you ask? Well, I learned from trial and error that the only way to achieve realistic-looking results with gel-stain on these curved banisters was to use the absolute softest brush in my arsenal. And that brush is the softest.

Or was.

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Because I just bought the beauty below. It’s an artist’s brush from the artist section of Michaels, and it’s softer than a baby’s ass in a goose-feather snowstorm.

I look forward to completing my Herculean task a little easier after the holidays with this beautiful brush.

But it’s not just the bannisters, madam!

I haven’t yet built a proper TV stand! We’re still using boxes to prop up the speaker!

Oh, the shame of it all! Thank god for Covid, amirite? Otherwise, we’d be the laughingstock of the neighborhood.

Perhaps even the town!

And even with the stuff we did make, it’s not like we’re keeping up with it! Oh, woe is me! Remember our Christmas Countdown?

Here’s what it looked like on the day I posted it last month.

DIY Christmas Countdown -

(the shame the shame the shame)

And here is what it looks like today, madam!


Christmas EVE!

Oh, I’ll never be able to show my face in public!

We failed at Christmas this year, madam!

We failed, and we pretended!


Or did we?

I wonder…

Was there a Christmas tree in the manger when baby Jesus greeted the world?

Did the wise men bring lights and a generator and an electronic sequencer to make the lights flash in time with music?

Or was there something a little more important going on?

Something a little deeper than colorful lights and pine needles?


You know, we kinda missed Christmas this year, but we didn’t plan it that way.

Life just got in the way.

But does it matter that our tree is still boxed in the basement? (A basement that still looks like a FEMA disaster zone, I might add)

Does it matter that we’re one of the only houses on our street without any outward sign of Christmas cheer?

Does it matter that I didn’t get a single gift for Handan nor she for I?

Or does it matter more what is in our hearts right now?

That I have so much love for my wife and my son, that I am so proud of Handan and what she is accomplishing professionally, and that I am so proud of Baris as he navigates a stormy sea of college apps on his way to manhood.

That the greatest gift I could ask for, I already have – a family.

When all else is stripped away, is there anything more important?

So this year, we’ll be celebrating Christmas and reflecting on the truly important things in our life: our love, our happiness, and of course, our health.

We’ll celebrate with a small roast chicken, some Turkish rice pudding, a warm fire, and an 80s action movie played on a TV that sits on an unfinished stand.

It won’t look like Christmas, but it will be Christmas.

And it will be our best Christmas ever.

Christmas spirit!
Christmas craft dumping ground
“A” for effort on the mantel!

To everyone reading this –

Thank you! Before all else, thank you! Without your eyeballs on these pages, none of this would be possible. Handan and I can never thank you enough for sticking with us through the years.

We wish you all, first and foremost, a healthy holiday. Nothing is more important this year.

And we wish you all the happiness you can gather this Christmas, and may it spill over into the new year!

We look forward to entertaining and educating you for many years to come.

With love,

Greg, Handan, and Baris

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    1. What a wonderful way to end the year!! You are such a great writer. You have kept me laughing this year in spite of all we’ve been through in 2020. May you and your family have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year!!! Love you all!!!

    2. I laugh so hard at your spectacular detailed experience while crafting every time! This post put such a smile on my face. Merry Christmas to your family from my family in Texas. . .that is currently living in an almost finished new hardwood floors (the flooring company didn’t order enough wood to finish the last bedroom two weeks ago), no baseboards throughout the house, quarantined because of Covid, all Christmas decorations still in their boxes on Christmas Eve. This will definitely be a Christmas to remember and a fun story in years to come! Thank you for your blog! Merry Covid Christmas!

      1. Oh, no! Nothing worse than an unfinished contractor job! I hope they get you squared away soon. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family! 🙂

    3. You may not have a tree but, you have brought such joy into my life with the projects that I can DYI and share with my family! In deed you are a Christmas Gift!

  1. Lovely. Heartfelt. And truer than true.
    The best to you three (and the fur babies) in 2021 !! Thank you for teaching us, entertaining us, and reminding us of all that is truly important. ❤️

  2. Love you guys for keeping it REAL! As my Hubs and I are celebrating together with no extended family, we decided to look at it as a fresh new and different romantic holiday to just “BE” after all the craziness of this year. It’s not bad, it’s just different. We are strangely calm when usually we are hustling and bustling. It’s kind of exciting! Putting this year to rest and like you, valuing the fact we have our health and each other. Wishing you the best in 2021! Keep up the amazing work we al benefit from!

    1. Yes and yes. My family and I are missing exactly none of normal craziness of pre-COVID Christmas! Just loving being with each other and absorbing the beautiful significance of the season. Thanks for your work in the blog! I love it!

  3. Love your post! I’m a recent subscriber on your blog and have really enjoyed your writing and crafts. We are quarantined for Christmas and making the best of it. We are healthy so far and we have food, board games, and each other. Merry Christmas to you!

  4. What a beautiful post. We just moved 2 weeks ago, and while I did pull out and decorate the tree, we are sitting in camping chairs and have a plastic folding table in the dining room, and most of our mattresses are on the floor. But it doesn’t matter. We are together mostly (missing our teen that is sadly hospitalized while dealing with her depression, but we can talk to her and she is getting excellent care) and have all we need. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! Thank you for the inspiration you provide through this blog <3.

    1. Thank you so much, Aly! I’m very sorry to hear about your daughter – I do hope you’ll be reunited soon. Merry Christmas to all of you, and may 2021 bring you all together again. 🙂

  5. In our house there is no tree, no lights, not even my beloved manger is set up…
    So we too are doing a much simpler Christmas, focusing on who we are with… And what we already have…
    May your day be merry and bright.

  6. Merry Christmas! You have everything you need to have a wonderful celebration…. enjoy your beautiful family and what you have put out…. sometimes less is definitely more… especially this year. Last year we were in the middle of selling our home, packing and getting ready to move like you. We plugged in the star shower out front, set out a Christmas Mercury Candle on the coffee table and called it done. No presents either as we didn’t want to have more to pack…. Probably one of our best Christmases yet. Just us, no exhaustive decorating and a peaceful day….. really put the holiday in perspective. This year a couple of outside inflatables, a cherry wreath, and a holiday throw for the couch and we are ready for Christmas.
    Happy New Year

    1. That’s true, Stephanie! I even loaded up on junk food yesterday, so there’s no need to venture outside for days! Merry Christmas to you and your family! 🙂

  7. Merry Christmas to ALL of you!
    I don’t have a tree, either, but I do have a lovely loop it yarn wreath on my door thanks to you!
    Thank you for always making me smile and lifting my spirits when I am down.
    I hope 2021 is a year if fun and accomplishments!

  8. I LOVE this post. You have put into words the thoughts & emotions in my heart and I thank you for that. I’ve been very ill with Covid these past 4 weeks and to say Christmas looks different for our family this year is a huge understatement. Boxes of Christmas decorations strewn everywhere … nothing quite complete … BUT! D I am now able home with my family – what more could I want?!
    Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family!

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that, Debbie! I wish you a speedy recovery, and I’ll ask Handan to say a prayer for you (she’s better at that sort of thing). Merry Christmas to you and your family! 🙂

  9. Thank you for sharing, but it seems almost perfect … no stressing or all the running around and most likely the way our parents used to celebrate (without the friends stopping by of course). My husband and I are also enjoying how simple and basic a beautiful Christmas filled with love can be this year.

  10. Thank you, thank you! We didn’t get a tree up this year and I felt bad about it till I decided with the year it’s been, I’m just thankful my family is healthy. You do the greatest crafts that are fun, uncomplicated, and on a budget which I love. You are a bright spot and always make me laugh. Carry on with your bad self Mister!!! Merry Christmas

  11. Our tree is up and a few other things but from your pictures you have just as many decorations out. No outside lights either, just a wreath on the door. My advent calendar is still on December 2nd. And I really don’t care. No presents under the tree as we have all we need or want. After years of traveling around 3-4 hours Christmas Day we are so excited to be staying home. We’re excited to have our health. We’re excited that we can stay home and enjoy a white Christmas without traveling anxiety. Yes it’s different but sometimes different is good. It won’t last forever and I for one will celebrate with a full heart. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    1. Thank you, Barb! There’s a lot to say for a small Christmas at home, without all the hustle and bustle of “regular” years! Merry Christmas to you and your family! 🙂

  12. Ahhh, Greg. Only you could make me laugh and then tear up in the same post! I love that you’re willing to let us see behind the scenes. Makes me appreciate your “afters” even more. And really, I’d say with those other gorgeous Christmas displays (oh, your shelves), not having a tree is perfectly fine. And you’re right – the most important thing is being together, healthy and happy, for the holidays. Next year, you can go all out and decorate your tree like Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation and I can’t wait, but this year? Enjoy your beautiful new home and family. Happy holidays to your and your babes (love how you love her) and your nearly-adult son (wow, how did that happen? He’s looking at colleges already?) and thank you for a year of hilarious posts – they’ve been on one of the things that’ve gotten me through this mostly crazy, often horrifying, truly bizarre year! I’m looking forward to new and all the amazing DIY’s (no pressure) you’ll share with us in 2021. Here’s to all us staying healthy and safe. Merry Christmas!

    1. Wow, what a beautiful comment – thank you, Deb! I’m so happy that I’m able to bring a little joy in these bizzaro times. Here’s to your health and happiness! Have a very Merry Christmas – you and all those you love! 🙂

  13. Dude, we just put a tree up on Monday and ONLY so Santa has a place to set some gifts. Thank goodness it is prelit, or it would be very dark over there! ?? We are not the only ones, most of us are doing little projects that we have been wanting to do and letting the big stuff go this year. And to be honest, it feels pretty good. What matters most is the health of our loved ones.

    You guys keep doing what you are doing and we’ll keep on reading!! We hope you all three have a very Merry Christmas and a Lovely New Year!!

    The Leon Family

    1. LOL, we thought about it a few days ago and said “screw it!” Next year, we’ll get that thing back up, and we’ll celebrate like the old days! Merry Christmas, Leon family – The Navages wish you all the best! 🙂

  14. Greg and Lady “Babes”…As this Texas great-granny sticks close to home this year awaiting the birth of a new great-granddaughter (Zoey Eva), I must write to tell you how MUCH I enjoy your blog and crafting posts. I’ve made fuzzy trees, loopy yarn wreaths, gnomes, felt trees, paper bats, printed off and framed some of your artwork…some for me and lots as gifts. I could go on and on. Don’t stop!! Please enjoy your Holidays….Merry Christmas and a MOST happy, healthy New Year!!

  15. Christmas is so different this year. I was forced to get presents made and sent off earlier this year since kids and grandkids can’t travel, leaving me peacefully looking at my sparsely decorated Christmas tree (only my most meaningful ornaments since it is just for the 2 of us) and reading your post. I love reading them and catching a glimpse into your family’s journey and have even tried a few of your crafts. Keep crafting and blogging and sharing with your audience… obviously we love you even without a completely decorated house!!

    1. It is different, but I think it’s going to be a “good” different for a lot of us who are able to shift perspective and focus on the important things. Merry Christmas to you and your family and a happy and healthy new year!

  16. Dear Greg, Handan, and Baris,
    May each of you find what you need. I am fairly new to your blog, but I can always count on a smile plus a lot of handy information. I pray that your family will stay healthy and happy in the coming year. Merry Christmas!!!!!

  17. I always read my husband your posts and we both usually laugh till we cry! Have a wonderful Merry Christmas from my family in Louisiana. Oh, and keep on posting! You make my day!

  18. Thank you for reminding me to look at what I have. I still have most of my family and, at my age, that is a great thing. The tree is still in the storage and I am putting some snowmen out. My little snowflake tree is on the mantle. That counts as a tree, doesn’t it?
    Listening to a bunch of Christmas CD’s waiting for the cinnamon rolls to bake while I watch the birds at the feeders. Pie is done and cooling, and the casserole may or may not get done. So little stress this year.

  19. You know, I think this will be your best Christmas. I remember one in the past at which time I had lost my job and had to sell my piano to pay my rent. I was dating a guy and I did the thrift stores and came up with a pretty nice Christmas for him including a “medicine bag” filled with found objects, interesting rocks, bits of wood including one that looked like the bluebird of happiness and other odds and ends wrapped in deer hide and tied with a leather thong. He really cherished that I think and I wouldn’t be surprised if he still has it. You’ll remember this Christmas as will your son.

  20. Your post today blessed me SO MUCH, Greg. We did put up some decorations this year, but didn’t do any baking (yet). Thank you for reminding us of the true meaning of Christmas.

    Have a wonderful Christmas celebration with your dear family.

  21. Wishing a very Merry Christmas from our family to yours. It is so warm in CT today – I wonder if the state is trying to tempt you to come back? The put and take much have so many treasures now since Handan moved away! ?

    1. I think that warmth is about to go away if what I’m reading is correct, lol! But enjoy it and stay warm with your family! Merry Christmas, Laura! 🙂

  22. You are right. Christmas isn’t about the decorations or gifts. It’s about family. Enjoy your family. Merry Christmas! ?

  23. Merry Christmas, Greg, Handan, and Baris! One thing y’all need is a white stocking for Jesus! You can keep it up all year. Just write you troubles and prayer to Jesus on a piece of paper and put them in His Stocking. You are giving them to Him. Just don’t take them back. At the end of the next year, you can read them and throw them away. Or you can put your prayers in it. God bless you all,

    1. What a beautiful idea!! I’ll steal your idea and also share with our 2 children for their families. Off to search for white fabric. Thanks!

  24. Awww! What a beautiful post!! Thank you for all the wonderful ideas y’all come up with and have a wonderful holiday with the fam. Wishing you a happy & healthy 2021.?

  25. Love you guys!! This year I have been using the saying “the perfect is the enemy of the good!” And allowing myself to be content with LOWER EXPECTATIONS!! We have planned simple food and to enjoy family time and holiday movies together-I also put up LESS DECORATIONS!

    For 2021-Less is More!! More free time, more space, more satisfaction…I have found a website “the minimalists” that you might enjoy-I an eagerly waiting for the reveal of the stair way railing! I need to do that exact project!! Thanks!!

  26. Love your blog and you guys! You’re keeping it fun and REAL! Who could ask for more? Thank you for taking the time to share so much with all of us. We take for granted the time it takes. I think I can speak for many, when I say we appreciate all that you both do. From my family to yours,
    Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

  27. Merry Christmas to you, Handan, and Barish. As long as you have health, family, a roof over your heads, and food to eat, you have everything. And hey, we weren’t feeling the holiday vibe here either.i put up a small Charlie Brown tree with th single red ornament and called it a day. Hubs and I will eat leftovers from today and watch Netflix and chill. On New Year’s, we will toast the end of 2020 with a bottle of Sh!tshow wine that my boss gave me. Her humor is as twisted as mine.

    1. I totally agree, Laurie! LOL, I’m picturing a bare stick with just one ornament – I love it! Merry Christmas to you guys – have a great day!

  28. I agree that you should write a book. I would be one of the first in line (6 ft apart) to buy it.
    I don’t have a tree but I have a tree farm that I put on my island top and decorate with garland, lights, bulbs, cards, etc. It’s fun for me and all that sees it. Which is limited this year. I really have been enjoying your blog all these years and hope it goes on forever. Have a very Merry Christmas and a healthy New Year.

  29. I discoverd your posts a few month ago and enjoyed doing the crafts. You always put a smile on my face. We only put out a few things this year but still enjoy good health and happiness. We are letting our son and daughter in law make the Christmas meal so the two of us are relaxing!! Merry Christmas to you three. Can’t wait to see what projects will show up!!

  30. A very Merry Christmas to you all! So enjoy your blog. It is the only one I follow. Thanks to you Greg I got my new Kindle during Amazon Prime days and you will make my Daughter’s Christmas merrier too as she will get hers. I wouldn’t have known if you hadn’t reminded us all. Wishing you a safe and happy 2021!!!

  31. Merry Christmas Navage family! You crack me up and I definitely think a book is in your future and a reality show could easily follow. Your post today was a lovely one and a great reminder of whats important. Keep ’em coming! Love your story. It’s one in a million.

  32. Greg –
    Always love your posts! Usually they bring a chuckle, or outright laughter ( which we can all use more of now, am I right??) but today’s post brought tears , and I am not a crier!! Thank you for reminding us of the real importance of this holiday season and thank you for the love in your heart that you share with all of us!

    1. Hi Donna, I’m humbled to hear that it resonated so well with you. Thank you. Handan and I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

  33. I am in a woman’s shelter because my son beat me up in March. Now we have been moved 3 times because of the pandemic so not entirely bad. I tried to do crafts and was told nope. I did make a cone Christmas tree with ribbon and a few pinecones and colored headed push pins for decoration but it is what it is. My grand baby twins won’t get their gifts tomorrow but gamma gets her two bedroom apartment the first week of January. So I will be furiously trying to finish what I tried to start and we will celebrate then. I will make a real Christmas dinner for us and my heart will be happy. They are too little to know why Jesus is born tonight but as they get older they will. They liked my crèche last Christmas and I will teach them. We have no tree but this is the night Jesus was born. I praise Him, I thank him and I love Him. I am nothing without Him.
    Merry Christmas to you and Handan and that college bound son. Let’s hope and pray 2021 will be better.

    1. Oh, Jody, I read your comment last night and then read it again to Handan with tears in my eyes. I am so sorry for the situation you are in right now. We are both thinking of you this Christmas morning. I wish you all the strength, health and happiness on this blessed day and in the new year. I will be looking forward to hearing from you again when you settled into that new apartment, okay? Please keep in touch. Merry Christmas, Jody. 🙂

  34. Love, love your blog. You make me smile and laugh out loud. It is an art to put words together to make the reader feel they are right there with you. Thank you! A very Merry Christmas and a Happy 2021.

  35. hahahahahaha this is such a reality and almost exactly what’s happening in my house – it’s so good to know that we’re not the only ones being so disorganised this Christmas season.
    So long as everyone has each other and their pets all will be good with the season and with life.
    Enjoy your chicken and rice pudding and hopefully a few glasses of something pleasant to go with it.
    Here’s good bye to 2020 and almost hello to 2021

  36. Well, your Goldens sure look excited about everything!!!! Mine can look bored, too. I take it personally! Merry Christmas and thanks for sharing your gifts and talents. Many blessings to you.

  37. Merry Christmas to you and your family. Here, December went too quickly. We got our 4.5′ tree and Nativity set up 2 days before Christmas, the (tacky, but beloved) Light up Nativity scene in the yard on 12/24. 7 deliveries in 5 different towns on 12/24. Yet, it all came together with “Candles and Carols” at a small country church where social distancing was no problem, followed by dinner and presents with my nearest and dearest. PS: I have lived in this house for 30 years; 2 of the bedrooms are still primer white; the earth has not tilted on its axis!

    1. Sounds like you had a perfect Christmas, Kathy! I’m happy to hear about your two bedrooms – not everything has to be perfect to be perfect.

  38. I love it! So nice to see you’re just like the rest of us! This has been one Crazy Year and I wonder, with all the quarantine down time at home, why I didn’t accomplish so much more ?. Hoping you had the best Christmas ever and will have a Happy, Healthy and busy New Year!
    (I use my artist brushes lots of times on sections of my furniture. A nice soft finish)

  39. Oh my! Your Merry Christmas 2020 note sounded so much like what this year’s been like for us also. So (sorry to say), your note was somewhat comforting, (Ha!) knowing there are others out there that have also had ‘one of those years.’ We are extremely thankful that we all are in good
    health. That’s a huge blessing right there!

    We’ve had lots of rain for the past (2) yrs. here in MO & have tried to catch up on chores outside, but still did not make all of our goals for the year. So we’re rather frustrated. But God also sends the rain to keep things green, water to drink, & showers after we’ve worked so hard.
    Ha! So, we can still be thankful for soooo many things God has blessed us with. It certainly sounds like you all had a nice relaxing Christmas time, as we celebrated Jesus’ birth!
    P.S. Thanks for all your projects, ‘how to’s’ & things going on in your lives. Your blog is such a joy
    to read, & at times just downright funny! Thanks for those gifts you both send us.

    1. You have a beautiful way of looking at things, Kat. Lots of rain in MO is an understatement, I think! I’m happy to hear our blog brings a little joy to your life. May that joy increase tenfold in 2021!

  40. Belated Merry Christmas and a better prosperous New Year. Enjoy your posts. They are like a break to find out I’m normal. Love that you are not Martha Stewart perfect and as creative and crafty as me. Messes create, organization comes later.
    God Bless you all.

    1. Merry Christmas to you, Sue! Yep, there won’t ever be “perfect” around here (except me, of course, lolololol!). Have a happy and healthy new year! 🙂

  41. It’s a little late to say “Merry Christmas” now, but I enjoyed your post. May you be blessed in 2021. I did want to say “thank you” for the post on the village houses. I was desperate for an idea for multiple co-workers that could be accomplished relatively quickly and wasn’t too complicated or expensive. I ran across your village house post, and went home that night to enlist my husband’s help. The project turned out great–have made 107 little houses in sets of 3, 5, and 9. Most have loved their sets, so I want to give credit where credit is due. Thank you for sharing. Looking forward to more delightful posts from you and your family!

  42. Just found you and am so glad I did…’re great writers and sharers and… regards. Look forward to keeping up with your adventures….you really should write a book.