I have always loved Christmas. When I was little, it was all about Santa bringing lots of gifts. My favorite part of the holiday was running into the living room and seeing all the unopened gifts under the tree. The only thing that could have made it better was if they were all for me.
Of course, now things are a bit different. I still love Christmas, but for other reasons. It’s no longer about the gifts, though that’s always fun. It’s more about a feeling, a sense of community—most people are happy and joyful this time of year, going out of their way to help others for whatever reason. It’s a shame we can’t all always feel this way. My favorite time of the season now is that late hour on Christmas Eve, when everything is wrapped and under the tree, the baking is complete, there’s nothing left to do but sit in front of the tree with my husband, cat, and eggnog, music quietly playing in the background. I just love that moment. That’s the hour I savor most of all. It’s very restful and satisfying, not to mention that it gives me time to reflect on what it’s all about.
Growing up, we didn’t decorate until late in the month. I suppose it stemmed from the fact that my mother’s parents didn’t get their tree until the last week before Christmas. As much as I love a real tree, we use an artificial one for a few reasons—the real trees create quite a mess, they need to be watered every day, they don’t tend to last the entire season. Using an artificial tree allows us to put it up when we feel like it, leave it up for as long as we’d like, and there’s no mess involved.
Our decorating usually starts the weekend after Thanksgiving. The Christmas season is so short, I like to enjoy every moment of it that I can. We don’t do tons of decorating, mainly because we have a small condo and don’t have room for tons of stuff. Also, I’m not a “stuff” person. But I like what we have—it makes the house look festive without looking overdone and/or cluttered.
‘Tis the season of sharing:
Most of the ornaments on our Christmas tree have a special meaning or memory. Each year, my mom gives everyone a new ornament, something that represents an event from that person’s year. For example, when I graduated college, the ornament I got was the year (2000) with a graduation cap; the year my husband and I got married, we got a husband and wife ornament; and the year we got our cat, she gave us a kitty sitting in a basket (which is about all Winston does).
I especially love how the tree looks when its lights are the only ones on.
Each year, I dig out heirloom candle holders. I love them but they’re fragile, so I don’t like to have them out all of the time.
|Notice Winston getting in on the action.|
This year, they are accompanied by a bowl from Africa. My sister-in-law is stationed there for the year, and she sent us this cool bowl. As you can see, the rim is lined with various animals native to the continent. The bowl part is in the shape of Africa, and for Christmas, I added some small ornaments just for a little decoration.
We twirl lighted garland around the staircase. I just love how this looks.
We also put lighted garland around the front door and add a real Evergreen wreath.
|Sorry for the reflection of the lamppost.|
My family has always put out a Nativity set. I remember as kids we made a sort of game out of it—whoever found the baby Jesus won. Of course, we didn’t really win anything, it was just a matter of saying you won.
Then I add some additional Christmas lights here and there. This little tree is a small decoration for our office/guest bedroom.
We put candles in the window. It’s a simple, quiet decoration that can make a house look elegantly decorated.
We have only the one window that faces the street. Someday, when we get a house, I will put candles in every window. I just love that look.
Finally, after all the decorating is done, I love to partake in one of my most favorite Christmas rituals: watching Love Actually with a glass of wine with my hubby and his scotch by my side.
Another tradition we partake in is our annual Winston Christmas card. Since its inception, our friends and family now look forward to the famous card. We could never not include him on the card—there would be many disappointed people. More on that to come…
How do you decorate for the season?