Our holiday music usually gets us in the right mood to break out the trimmings. This is a topic of great interest to me. Certain decoration memories are the first to pop into mind at the thought of Christmas. My parents didn't deck the halls with everything Christmas, but a few festive pieces made the month memorable for me. First, the jewel tree - a framed, velvet-backed tree made from old brooches, earrings and other jewelry. It also had red lights poking through. Hard to describe. Maybe I can get a picture of it. But I loved it. Also that German tiered, candled carousel thing - please, family, help me out here. The Christmas tree advent calendar - how I loved pinning a new ornament on it each day. And perhaps my favorite was when we went to Grandma's house. She wrapped her stair banisters & railings with thick pine boughs and white lights. A totally simple decoration but convivial beyond description.
This is our seventh Christmas together, and we have always spent it with one or the other of our families. Somehow not spending Christmas at home has also meant not really decorating for it. Our first Christmas married my Mom sent us a full-size tree skirt she had made. We had no tree so I went over to McGuckins and bought a 2-ft artificial tree with lights in it. Every year since then, we pull out the pathetic little guy, on which ornaments are disproportionately huge, wrap the tree skirt around twice, and top with a lopsided star. That same first Christmas my mother-in-law gave us a white porcelain nativity set. Since then we got a sign from my Mom that says, "Dear Santa, define good," and another nativity set I fell in love with last year. This year I searched on ebay for a hanging advent calendar, thinking Hazel is old enough to enjoy counting the days that way. I was looking for a tree like my Mom's but ended up unable to resist this Santa.
It's not much but it's a start. This year we are spending Christmas with the Hickmans in Colorado, but starting next year we will do Christmas in our own home. I want to make it meaningful, memorable, and - an ultimate goal I always seem to fall short of - classy, even though I lack a natural gift for decorating. We'll get a real normal-sized tree, and ornament it. Maybe hang lights and make popcorn cranberry strings. A holiday centerpiece.
When we were in VA for Thanksgiving I snuck out one night for a solo trip to Target. I got a few things on my list, then wandered slowly through the aisles, savoring the luxury of browsing. I spent a long, long time in the holiday aisles, admiring the modern decorative pieces, from stocking holders to swags to trees, daydreaming about a home decked out holiday-style. I did go to our Target here for some things today, and with this post on my mind, I spontaneously sprung for a wreath kind of like this one, but more berries & less green. It's pretty, and hanging on our door to greet us whenever we come home. I've also taken note of pieces and ornaments I've seen that I like, and plan to check back at the stores and websites after Christmas to see if I can take advantage of post-holiday sales. After all, things get expensive, and I don't need anything else for this year anyway.
Mention of ornaments brings us to the final subtopic here - the tree. I had an interesting discussion with Dave & Michelle last year about decorating it. Like my family growing up, they have a hodge-podge, eclectic ornament collection and Dave felt it looked too messy so he bought some ornament sets to bring a little cohesiveness to the look. I agree that a tree looks beautiful with coordinated pieces, but if it's too coordinated it doesn't look homey. Every year my Mom sends us an ornament-of-the-year of her own choosing, so I figure we can use those for the variety, and buy some sets for some aesthetic harmony.
What I hope to eventually achieve is a merry but peaceful atmosphere with all holiday decorating, a place that feels special for a special time of year. I look around and see I have a long way to go.
How do you decorate your home? What have you seen in other homes or stores that you like? How do you decorate your tree? What have you seen that you liked? Have you seen the most awesome ornaments anywhere this year (that I should look into?)