If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Decorating

I do so love the holiday season and the chance it provides for us to gather together and share time with one another.  I also love decorating for Christmas.  This year I have taken a rather minimalist approach - well for me at least.  I started to share our decorating a couple of weeks ago and got side-tracked by a little bit of re-decorating that my granddaughters had contributed.  You can read about that HERE

I started off with decorating outside.  I was pushed for time and knew I would have lots of dashing hither and yon.  So, I really focused on getting the biggest bang for my buck.  After spending most of one afternoon in frustration trying to get the garlands for the porch to all work properly, I wound up pulling out all the lights which were tangled and twisted up carefully woven into the greenery.  Then, I strung brand new lights into each one and tied them to the porch rails and around the front door.  I think it turned out wonderfully!

Here is a look at the entire facade of the house.  Aren't I lucky to be able to live here?

I started to strip this wreath and add new greenery and ornaments and a new bow so that it might look something more like a Pottery Barn creation such as the one mentioned HERE.  (Be sure to scroll down and watch the YouTube video that Susan, of Between Naps on the Porch, has posted.)
Front Door Wreath

When I dug it out of the box, though, I decided that it would be festive enough.  I still like the ribbon even if it is a bit faded and I love the greenery and the little heart Welcome.  So, it is gracing the front door one more time. 

Of course, my favorite shot of it is this one that my sister Brenda made at our wedding ceremony.  Doesn't it look like it is sort of a halo on this sweet man's head? 

I also strung the garland that my mother-in-law gave us last year across the back deck rail.  So, it is almost as if we have the entire house wrapped in garland and lights!  Even my great-nephew, Forest, noticed that we have lights all around the house.  (Of course, he thought I must have everything inside decked out as well and for a couple of weeks the outdoor decor was all I had done!)

I hung the two evergreen wreaths that are almost alike on the French doors leading into the kitchen.  At first I was a bit bothered that one is larger than the other - then, I stopped noticing that and just smiled after I found out what Forest had said.  (Do you see the little white spots on the berries entwined within the greenery?  I noticed the birds pecking at them yesterday.  I'm thinking that I probably need to get out there with a bottle of nail polish one sunny afternoon... Think that will work?)

The stockings are all hung at the chimneys with care...
These crocheted ones were made by Mike's mother.

Remember that I began to work on this post a while back and noticed where my granddaughter, Lillie, had been conducting a little educational experiment?  You can read about it HERE.  I wound up finding magnets all over the place.  There was one in the guest bathroom stuck to something.  There was one stuck to the French Doors in the kitchen.  Those things have popped up everywhere!  Anyway, I love the homespun look of hand-crocheted work.  (I don't know if that is because I have never been able to master crochet or whether I just really appreciate that somebody takes the time to hand-craft things.)  I spread a little holly greenery across the mantle and plopped a snowman up there and it is a warm, cozy, kitchen fireplace.  (Wish I had lit the fire before I made the photo - note to self for next year.)  Below is a shot of the mantle in the den right after I hung the stockings.

Needlepoint stockings with our names embroidered on them.

Looks sort of like last year's Christmas card doesn't it?  We wanted to have a big family picture with all the children or to have one of all four of our granddaughters together.  Somehow, we just never could get that together and this shot of all the stockings stretched across the mantle was as close as I could get.  You can tell in this year's Christmas card that I didn't even entertain such a pie-in-the-sky idea.  I just took snippets from here and there and combined them to make a collage of the young folks (besides one another) who mean most to us in life.  For a link to this year's card, click HERE.  Back to the mantle, do you notice what is different? 
Yes, there is one more on the right side - for Laura's fellow, Danny!

I added a little holly greenery to the mantle, a Santa statue and some cinnamon sticks to the hearth.  (Again, why didn't I think to light the fire before I took the photo?)

Here is another look as I'm moving in for a closer look at the mantle.

I also added a couple of ceramic Santas to the mantle and a bit of greenery to the urn.  I am not one who wants to change out everything with every season.  I try to choose things to decorate the house that I really, really love and leave them in their places or simply rotate them to another part of the house and swap places with something else I really, really love and want to enjoy in a new setting.  I'm just not one to buy something seasonal and store it if I can find a way to keep it out and enjoy it all year long. 

I painted these years ago when my children were small.  I had seen similar tall, thin Santas like this in stores selling for more money than was allotted to my entire Christmas budget.  So, when my mother and I stumbled across them at a friend of hers when we were making ceramic crafts, I picked them up, unfinished, for a song and plied my hand at painting them. 

Here is the guy on the right holding a Christmas tree.

At one time I had three of these fellows but moving a couple of times within a few short years takes its toll on some things and one of the Santas went kerplunk in one of the moves.

Christmas Cards

On the buffet that is adjacent to the mantle is a little basket holding this year's Christmas cards.  I also added a little greenery to the vase Mike's Aunt Peg gave me years ago when I moved into the new house at Rover.

Basket of greenery and seasonal blooms

One afternoon this week I looked down and there sat the basket pictured above.  It was still filled with silk fall leaves and a twig pumpkin.  It had been sitting there like that ever since my niece Julie's sorority dinner I guess.  You can read about that HERE

I stuck with the silver, blue, and holly concept and kept my kitchen table simple this year as well.


I don't usually like a lot of busy-ness on my table for day-in-day out.  We are bad about walking in the door and plunking things down on every available surface.  So, keeping something ornate, elaborate, or fancy on the table is wasted.  This year I went even more simple than I ever have before.  I slid a beautiful, tucked, silk Merlot table runner down the center of the table.  Then, I laid a second-hand wooden tray in the middle.  I already had the silver candle holders and blue candles out for my Thanksgiving table decor.  So, I set them on the tray and swirled a little silk holly garland around on it.  I added a few of the glittered pine cones that my daughter-in-law, Jessica had crafted as decorations for our wedding a couple of years ago and called it done.

Looks like somebody thought it needed just an extra little touch!

I think Lydia was trying to hide this from her sister so that she could play with it without competition.  Mike and I decided he needed to stay there to provide us with a smile and remind us what is really the meaning of Christmas.

Basket of pine cones

This big basket is one I got at the Presbyterian Christmas Bazaar last year.  Well, actually, Mike's mother got it and it was full of little snowmen ornaments.  She didn't really want the basket, so I took it off her hands.  I'm good to her like that!  The pine cones have a soft cinnamon scent and it sits nicely by the front door alongside the umbrella stand.

The Christmas Tree

I guess at our house, like at most folks' house, there is a main Christmas tree which seems to steal the show.  Last year I had a tree in every room and I love, love, love the idea of that and truly intend to return to it next year.  However, this year, we have just this one and a teeny, tiny one on the table in the guest bedroom.  This is the tree that I bought several years ago when I had first moved into my new house.  My mother went with me on the day after Christmas and fought the crowd at a local discount store to get it and a few decorations.  I still love the look of the silver and white.  Of course, I added in a little blue because what doesn't look a little prettier with some blue?

Simple and Special

There is a broad range of ornaments adorning this tree.  Most of them are simple like the white, opalescent, or blue ball ornaments and silver bead garland.  Some are a bit more detailed, like the beautifully engraved silver horn that I stuffed with a fluff of white feathers and some glittered eucalyptus. 

Nothing extravagant or expensive

I've mixed second-hand yard-sale finds with half-off painted and glittered ornaments and plastic glittered snowflakes with memento's like the blue and white ceramic one from Ellis Island.

Sentimental favorites

This is one that Bridgette or Bryan got when they were mere babes.  There is a hole at the top to stick a light in that makes it look as if there is a light on in the bedroom so that Santa peeking into the window can see that the little one is fast asleep.

Silver, blue, and white

The enameled snowflake ball ornament was a gift from one of my aunts who is also a blue and white lover.  It is nestled in beside a couple of glittery discount store half-price ornaments and a hand-painted ceramic memento that came from Ohio when we toured the Longaberger basket factory.

Porcelain Angels

I got this beautiful little piece and a companion for mere coins at the local Historical Society yard sale fundraiser.  Aren't these sweet little cherubs?  I thought it looked like any two of my sweet granddaughters.


This little hand-painted jewel was crafted from a little glass disk that is like a flattened out marble.  It is wrapped with silver and has a little silver wire looped intricately at the top.  I got several of these years ago at another craft sale fundraiser.

glass snowflake

more snowflakes

The one on the left is hand crocheted.  A co-worker's mother made several different designs of these and she gave them to me years ago.  The blue one on the right is an inexpensive plastic glittery one that I got at the dollar store a year or so ago.

When I first got this tree almost five years ago, I didn't think to get a tree skirt to hide the ugly stand while I was doing my day-after-Christmas-bargain-hunting.  Then, the next year when I put the tree up for the first time.  I was too chintzy to pay full price for the glamorous one I wanted before Christmas.  I happened to have this beautiful polished cotton fabric tucked away and swirled it around the base of the tree and my tree skirt was never purchased.  I just pick this up and shake it out each year and hang it in the closet with other fabric and table cloths and it is ready to go the next year. 

glittery baubles

Instead of crowding all the treasures for the children and grandchildren under the tree and distracting from its regal beauty, I've placed the bags and boxes in little piles here and there to serve as decor all on their own.  I did place this hand-painted box that housed a gift from a co-worker a few years back and this silver basket full of silvery, glittery baubles next to the swirl of fabric. 

There are a few stacks and clumps of wrapped packages and gift bags here and there in different rooms of the house.  I also stuck a couple of sprigs of holly here and there.  But, for the most part, that wraps up the decorating I did this year.  I've enjoyed what we have and not been stressed in the process.  Even decorating the tree was a new, fun experience since Mike's granddaughter's spent the afternoon with us one day and helped out.  You can read about that HERE

Usually I'm spending the day after Christmas taking down all the decorations and storing them away.  I like to have a fresh look to welcome in the new year and I'm usually too tired and lazy to want to get that done after the New Year's Eve party and before I have to start back into the school schedule.  However, this year we will keep the Christmas decorations up into the new year.  It seems that all of our children have different places to go and we didn't want them to have to rush from one to come here or to rush from here to go elsewhere.  So, we will be celebrating with them all together here on New Year's Eve.  We can share the love of Christmas, celebrate Mike and my anniversary, and welcome in a new year all in one fell swoop! 

I hope yours was a glittery, sentimental, special one just like ours has been!