Holiday Decorating Simplified
Its really all about creating memories. As we take out each box of decorations a different moment in time comes to mind.
Every year as I start to create each vignette I try to remember how exactly the previous year’s looked. My daughter suggests that I take a picture so that it would be easier to recreate. Now what fun is that? I like my mantel and my bowls and my front doors to look a little different each year! I pretty much work with the same materials but I feel like I’ve created something new by moving things around a little….
….And adding a little something new each year. For instance, this year on the mantle below, we’ve added 2 peacocks. These were ‘souvenirs’ from last year’s holiday home that Lumar Interiors decorated in Aurora, Ontario. When I pulled them out this year it was a pleasant surprise and a warm reminder of the great experience we had there last year.
Luisa inherited these pretty trees from that same event. She included them in her vignette on her dining room sideboard. I love when decorations tell a story.
Did I also mention I like easy? I have plates on stands in 2 or 3 areas of my home as part of my day to day decor. Over the years, the children received many beautiful Christmas plates as gifts. Every year I take a couple of them out and replace my everyday ones with the Christmas ones. Place a Christmas ornament or two near it, fill a bowl with baubles and voila – side table decked for Christmas! easy-peasy. Pretty much every piece on this table, before and after, is a souvenir from a place we’ve visited – Italy, Paris, California….did I mention its about the memories?
The bowl below sits in my dining room every day. Its a gift from a special friend for being godmother to her son. So I incorporate it into the holiday festivities.
Add a few sparkly fruit and pinecones, flank it with a couple of reindeer and there you go! Sometimes I also add fresh greenery if I have any leftover from my outdoor decor.
As for the tree, oh my! We have a ton of decorations for that. There hasn’t been a year in the past 28 years of marriage that I haven’t picked up an ornament or two. Lucky for me, I’ve never wavered from the colours I love : red, green and gold…So the decor comes together through colour. Again, these ornaments usually represent a memory from the past. For many years we took a trip to Drysdale’s Tree Farm with friends and family to chop down our tree. That was always an adventure battling snow storms, bundling up babies, picking the ‘perfect’ tree. We could have gone around the corner from home and picked one up for half the price but it just wouldn’t have been the same. Why? Cause its not about the tree. It was about the experience and I always brought home an ornament from their store:). One year, we also brought home a bird’s nest that was hidden in the branches of the tree….(we still love to laugh about that, though I wasn’t too impressed with my husband’s inspection skills at the time…lol).
After the birth of my youngest I started to collect Radko glass ornaments. Born on Dec 28th, my ‘Christmas’ baby, inspired me to buy these for years. I even gave out a mini Radko ornament as the loot bag for his first couple of birthdays! (I know-weird loot bag…lol…I thought of it more as a ‘bomboniera’ , a keepsake.:)) My husband and I are avid coffee drinkers so one of my favourite Radkos is my Santa carrying a Starbucks mug (bought at Starbucks, of course).
And yes, if you look closely, you will often see store/supplier tags still on the ornaments (or at the very least on the individual boxes. My Canadian friends would remember the old iconic department stores of Eaton’s and Simpsons that are now gone. I still have boxes with there names and prices on them..:)). I can’t claim to remember where each ornament was bought or if it was a gift, who it was from. So I write it on the back of the tags – makes me smile every time I read one of them.
But of course, some of our most treasured ornaments are the ones the kids made along the way in school. They get put in a special box each year and are placed last on the tree so I can see them amongst all the other baubles.
The top right hand Christmas bulb above is hand-painted by a good friend’s mom – a lovely lady whom I truly admire. It’s so special to take that out every year. We are very blessed to have these special memories.
We’ve made lots of Christmas crafts over the years but one of my favourites is the Christmas pillow. When my daughter was about 11 years old she had an idea to make a Christmas pillow for all the special ladies in her life: aunts, nonnas, mom… So off hunting we went for appropriately coloured leftover fabrics and bead trim from mom’s shop (this is where leftover scraps of silk and velvet came in very handy), picked up some ribbons, fabric paint and bells and baubles from the local craft store and created various versions of the pillow below. Each one had a special phrase on it. Mine says, “Holiday Memories”. My girl knows her mom:)
So, if I’m sounding a little nostalgic, I guess I am. Christmas does that to me. Dickens Village, White Christmas and all that….
Essentially the purpose behind holiday decorating is and should be simple. Perhaps it’s a bit of work…. but well worth it. Not because of the ‘stuff’ we put out and the ‘pretty’ we create, but because of the memories we accumulate.
Mr. Carson says it so well…