Our host for November 15 Fun Monday is Julie at Another Chance Ranch and she wants us to get started thinking about decorating for the Christmas holidays. Do we pull out all the stops? Put up a tree? Have a decorating theme? Actually it has been many years since I decorated for Christmas--fourteen in fact, when I adopted Willie, a mischievous pit bull pup. At the time I had three older dogs who left the tree alone, but I didn't trust a three month old puppy to not bring the tree crashing down on his head and breaking all my precious antique glass ornaments. Sadly, after skipping one year I got out of the habit of decorating.
However, I do have definite opinions about what makes beautiful holiday decorations.
Here's my thoughts on decking the halls for Christmas, re-posted from December 2008:
I watched the Rick Steves' European Christmas special on PBS last night as I do each year because it reminds me of what Christmas done right is all about. Starting in London's Trafalgar Square and traveling on to the Swiss Alps with many stops in between, Steves provides an insiders look at how people of many countries celebrate the winter holidays. Regardless of the country, the essentials of Christmas--family, friends, community, customs, traditional decorating for the home, food, music, and faith--can be found.
Many years ago I really loved the holiday season. Starting in early November, I began cleaning the house from top to bottom; nursing live plants like paper whites, amaryllis, and poinsettias into bloom at just the right time; gathering the live greenery, berries, and ribbon to make wreaths, swags, and arrangements for all through the house. I studded oranges with cloves and rolled them in cinnamon for hanging pomanders and even buffed great quantities of Red Delicious apples to a high sheen and piled them in pine bough lined baskets.
Finally the first week of December it was time to bring home the Christmas tree--which was my favorite thing about the holiday. The tree had to be a fraser fir from the mountains of North Carolina because no other tree branches would hold up under the weight and quantity of glass ornaments that I'd collected at tag sales, auctions, antique stores, and Christmas shops throughout the year.
If you look closely at the tree you can spot some of my most treasured ornaments. There's
the six huge striped and decaled balls that I found at an auction. There's all manner of Shiny Brite ornaments with their bold stripes and glittery sentiments like "Silent Night" or "Joy to the World". Shiny Brites were popular in the 1950s. I also had a great collection of fancy shaped reflectors that went around each colored light. When the tree lights came on it was magic. In addition to the balls, icicles, and pendants, my all time favorite tree decorations would have to be the German and Czech glass ornaments of every imaginable shape--houses, fruit, vegetables, animals, lamps, teapots, birds, clocks, Santas, and even the good luck pickle.
Underneath the tree, all the presents were wrapped in simple paper and tied with real ribbon. That is, except gifts for Zack the crazy border collie, whom you all have met on many occasions, and his brother Frank the chow mix with his white "taillight"! Their presents went in gift bags, which as you can see, was not nearly secure enough to last until Christmas.
So Julie, this is how I'd decorate for Christmas if I did any more. This year I'll help my sister get out all her decorations over the Thanksgiving holiday. She leaves no surface undecorated. And good for her because she gets so much pleasure from it. I'll concentrate on sending and receiving Christmas mail, going to some holiday concerts and plays and movies, and adding a few new holiday CDs--usually Celtic artists--to my collection.