This time last year, when our house was just framed, I dreamed about Christmas 2011. I planned to go all out with the decorations during our first Christmas in the new house. However, that did not really happen. Because the kids' Christmas vacation ended up being very long this year, we decided to spend a week in Colorado before Christmas. The holiday party we had planned for the Atlanta office of my husband's company fell through and was rescheduled to January, so I did not have the pressure of entertaining to get things in order. I did buy some wreaths and place them on the windows, as noted in my blog post from early December, but other than that our decor is decidedly low key this year.
People have told me that the first Christmas in a new house is a challenge in many ways. All of the ornaments and decorations were packed up for the move, and sometimes it is difficult to locate the favorite items. The chests and consoles where I typically displayed some of my favorite decorations have been sold or moved to different locations in the house, and no longer work. On top of that, I seem to have a lack of surfaces on the main floor of the house as we are still working on filling out the decor.
|A glimpse of the mantel - I am a bit embarrassed that I have not done anything to spruce it up!|
Even the new fireplace was a challenge - my old mantel was wood, and we discretely placed nails under the molding for the stockings to be hung. The living room fireplace in the new house has an antique limestone mantel, so I purchased some metal stocking hangers that have a weight that rests on the mantel. They really should be covered with greenery. Maybe next year! I am assuming that after Santa comes, the stockings will have to rest on the floor as a full stocking would be a risky proposition on those weighted hooks.
One key element that I always insist upon, however, is the Christmas tree. Because we knew that we would be gone the week before Christmas, and wanted to enjoy the tree for as much of the month as possible, we purchased the tree the day after Thanksgiving - very early for us. It was nice to have the tree fully decorated by December 1st! We always knew that the tree would go in the living room, which right now only contains a grand piano and a Christmas tree - the living room decor will come together at a later point. The tall 11'6" ceilings called for a large tree this year, although disappointingly the tree we selected ended up having very little pine fragrance. We have had to supplement with a Thames frasier fir diffuser, which has an amazing scent and gives the house that fresh cut tree smell.
I am not one to have a color coordinated or theme oriented tree. Perhaps because the Christmas trees of my childhood were always colorful, our lights are always the multi-color type (we tried a white light tree one year and it just did not resonate with us). A brighly lit star is always placed at the top of the tree (a bit of an homage to the 1970s and 1980s trees that were part of my childhood).
The ornaments are varied - from the handmade school ornaments, which sadly are fewer now that my oldest is in junior high, to the cherished needlepoint ornaments that my mother-in-law hand crafts and sews for each member of the family every year.
|The handpainted glass ornament on the upper right was a gift from my mother to my oldest daughter.|
There are the favorite ornaments that have been collected through the years, and sentimental favorites, such as the beautiful hand painted ornament that my mother gave to my oldest daughter, her first grandchild, the year before my mother died. We have so many ornaments that I could not even fit all of them on a 10 foot plus tree, so we are planning on getting two trees next year! By then, we will be more settled in, and hopefully more of my traditional Christmas decor will be unpacked and ready to display.
|While taking pictures this morning, I noticed that our elf 'Allie' had hidden in the tree overnight.|
|Ben the dog likes to nap near the tree. Doesn't he match the floors beautifully? During the shedding season, this is a good thing!|
May the blessings of the season be with you and yours, and best wishes for a wonderful 2012!
P.S.: Brand new Melissa Payne Baker paintings just added to the Quatrefoil Design store - beautiful nests, landscapes, angels, and itty bitties galore! Click here or visit http://www.quatrefoildesign.bigcartel.com/artist/melissa-payne-baker.
To subscribe to my blog by email, click here.
To follow my blog on Facebook, click here.
To follow my blog on Facebook, click here.
Visit my online store, Quatrefoil Design: www.quatrefoildesign.bigcartel.com
To see design, architecture, art, and decorative books that I recommend, please visit the Things That Inspire Amazon store (newly updated!).