Every year, right after Thanksgiving, my husband goes deer hunting at the farm where he grew up. Every year he takes our daughter (who spends the weekend baking with Grandma) and the dog (whom our daughter can’t go anywhere without), leaving me the whole weekend to do whatever I want. So I turn on the Christmas music, dig out all of the Christmas decorations, and have a nice quiet relaxing time getting my whole house ready for the holidays. This year, however, was a different year; my oldest daughter, her husband and our two grandsons, ages 4 and 16 months, came to stay with us for three weeks before they started their new life in Naples, Italy. So instead of the quiet weekend I look forward to every year, with Christmas music and egg nog, I had toy trucks and sippy cups, dirty diapers and bottles of milk. There was no time to even think of decorating for Christmas, so by the time my oldest and her brood boarded for Italy, my house looked like three tornadoes had struck. And with only two weeks left before Christmas Day, I had to pull myself together and fast!! So instead of elaborate garland winding down my staircase, each chandelier festooned with greenery and bows, and a tree in every room, I pulled together a few simple creations and my house was ready for Christmas and Santa!!
First, for a simple holiday greeting in the entryway of our home, I used festive ribbon and tied sprays of greenery and pearls with a large pinecone on the newel post.
On the front porch, the same festive ribbon was tied onto each lantern filled with ornaments and greenery and a battery-operated candle on a timer for safety.
On our small ornamental tree outside our front window, I tied an assortment of acrylic and beaded snowflakes onto some bare branches, where they catch the sunlight and sparkle, and I love to watch as the “snowflakes catch the snowflakes”.
Second, for fragrance, color and texture, I found some branches of magnolia, pine and arborvitae at the local florist and arranged them in a red transferware urn; my house was instantly filled with that wonderful smell of the season!
The coffee table in my living room always seems an odd surface to decorate, so for my first layer I started with a silver tray, next I added a few books with titles that reflected the season, then I placed an old compote filled with vintage ornaments and tucked in a sprig of greenery. The layers filled a blank canvas and created a story, so to speak.
In the kitchen, a few apothecary jars were filled with colorful ribbon candy, and stacked cake plates were layered with sugar cookies and bon bons (definitely not baked by me!)
In the sunroom, orchids that were finished blooming were replaced with a Norfolk pine, poinsettias, and a Christmas cactus, all wrapped in burlap and tied with green and red ribbon. A large architectural piece above my couch was instantly transformed by hanging a long pine needle wreath covered in tiny festive colored ornaments, and a swag that sparkles with glitter.
After years of creating the ideal Christmas tree, picking a theme, and perfecting each layer like a fabulous dessert – first the lights (100 per foot of tree of course), then the garland for texture and depth, and last but not least the ornaments, each one carefully selected for my theme of the season, and of course, the precious ornaments tucked in, inconspicuously. This year there was no time, or energy…so I had to concede to my husband and daughter to be in charge of decorating the tree; and after a few agonizing, nail biting hours, the deed was done. There it stood in all its glory, a whole section of lights burnt out, garland randomly thrown on, so it looked like a koala bear with tufts sticking out of the side of its head. And somehow they found every ornament ever made in school and proudly placed them on the tips of every branch, not to mention it was very heavily decorated at about 4 foot high. But now that the tree is up, my daughter is sure Santa will come, and I can certainly live with that.
This year was a different year, and who knows, maybe next year will be different too – like Christmas in Italy!
Merry Christmas from Boxwoods Fine Furnishings!