Ho Ho Ho. How does it go? I am so, so behind the eight ball and I'm not kidding. I joke about not being able to do a home tour but I'm very serious. And yet, while I really love to see every decorated home and porch and vignette on blogs and IG, I no longer feel I have to speed things up to post pictures. This year I'm slower than usual. I've been in a sort of slump. Not feeling very creative and also in the dumps for many personal reasons. I mentioned that we brought the bins of Christmas decorations up, we even bought our tree last Friday. Hmmmm...is it already Thursday? lol! The other day I was at the grocery store and I saw this precious Lemon Cypress and it jumped into my cart. I know without a doubt it will most likely succumb to my brown thumb with houseplants in a few weeks. For now it makes me happy. And I picked up a little crate of orange 'cuties'. I love to stud them with cloves. Limes, too. I no longer have time for fancy designs, I just poke them in for the lovely scent. So that was that for my dining table. Beyond simple but so happy. Yet there are years when I like to pull out all of the cute decorations and treasures I've accumulated over 30 years. My home is small but I sometimes make huge vignettes of snowmen, angels, sparkly anything...a fever dream of It's A Wonderful Life and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Seriously. But not too often and not this year.
Lesson learned, we can surround ourselves with 'happy' by surrounding ourselves with what we love, no matter what season or holiday, no matter how big or small. Sometimes the less elaborate, the better. I see so many simplistic ideas for Christmas homes, small trees barely decorated. Clean uncluttered counters and islands with a few natural touches. Mantels and tables with real greenery, pinecones and fruit. I love it all. Over 20 years ago I would cut branches from the evergreens in our backyard. The scent of them on my mantel and window sills was intoxicating. I had simple battery operated candles in every window and I added fruit; apples, pears, pomegranates and limes on top of the greenery on the mantel. The old is new again.
In order to fit our tree, which by the way looked so small at the garden center, into our living room, we have to rearrange furniture and a piece usually goes into our bedroom. Space is tight there as well, but The Husband loves a cozy little space to read. I find him here early in the morning with the sun coming up. He's an early riser and well, I could sleep until noon if I didn't have an alarm clock (cell phone setting). I don't spend a lot of time adding anything to our room, it's really tough to keep it uncluttered as it is with all of our books, magazines, framed pictures and personal stuff. Nope, if a room is on the small size you have to keep things minimal. More on that further down.
We have two full baths which is a luxury in an old and small house in the city. I love this particular bathroom especially since Abby is no longer here to turn it into a disaster zone. Truth be told, I'd rather have her here than a tidy little bath. But its fun to decorate with the white wood planks and light gray walls. I keep things neutral and simple, it's just the way I like the room no matter what the season. That little grapevine wreath on the right spells out 'Merry Christmas' on little tags. I made that last year...me and all my thumbs. ;-D
The bathroom we use the most and the one off the hall near the living room and kitchen (as in guests use it, too), gets a little more attention and personality. Right now I have a yellow floral shower curtain and yellow accents. Very spring-like so I'm going to switch that out with a blue ticking stripe curtain and pale blue towels. I'm going to use what I have and I think this will be nice for the winter. In the meantime, I have a homemade mason jar candle holder filled with faux snow and a whimsical little piggy with a Santa hat. I think this confirms that I'm somewhat weird.
The only holiday-ish thing I have in our master bedroom is a wreath with berries in the window and I love how our neighbors lit up stars shine through as a back light. I also have a poinsettia
plant and that's it. Restraint is usually hard for me but for now I just keep rummaging through the bins and containers, picking and choosing a few things here and there for each room. My favorites are pillows and throws I've accumulated over the years. They are fun and serve a purpose. I almost hate to pack them away in January but it makes it a little more exciting to pull them out in December. :)
I've been so, so slow! It's very typical of me and I have no idea why, but the more behind I am on something, the slower I move. Go figure. I'm so determined to enjoy the process, of anything and everything. When we are getting ready for a night out on the town, I spend way too much time on my makeup and hair, picking out my clothes and jewelry no matter how late it's getting. I come home with groceries and while the the milk gets warm and the ice cream melts, I clean out the refrigerator and organize the cabinets. I'm just nuts. So I have all this stuff to do and here I am everyday spending hours not just wrapping gifts but precisely arranging the tissue paper, making every folded corner perfect and then embellishing each present with all sorts of string and ribbon and tags...little jingle bells and snowflakes. It never ends. I love the motto, "Anything worth doing is worth doing right." When my kids were young I was like a factory worker getting the gifts wrapped in record time. Christmas Eve I would slap bows on them. Of course their tiny little fingers didn't care about any of this. Now I love to put time and creativity into it. Still...I have so many other things to do and I'm wondering if I should give myself some slack.
Emily was telling me she knew a gal who wrapped her gifts in a different paper for each recipient. And I've seen where people use wrapping paper and ribbon to coordinate with their holiday color scheme. I couldn't do this if I tried. I pick out paper according to my mood, what appeals to me at the time. I was sort of proud of myself for sort of sticking to some paper and tags in the same color scheme but otherwise I'm all over the place. Great idea but I'm just me. My tree is filled with a myriad of ornaments going back to the little handcrafted treasures my kids made to my periods of loving nature one year and bling the next. What a hodge podge I have and my gift wrap is the same. I will tell you, the Target dollar spot had the most insane tags, I found everything from tiny chalkboard wood rounds to little birch squares. And I can't tie a bow for the life of me so I used a lot of jute twine which didn't require anything fancy. I had tons of wrap and ribbon and tags from last year as well so this was quite an inexpensive endeavor. I wish time was so aplenty as well.
Friday The Husband and I went to the nursery we've always gone to for our tree. I think I've posted pictures and stories of it many times over the last 6 years I've blogged. It looks so beautiful at night and the shop has beautiful plants, wreaths and decorations---you name it. So when we got there late Friday afternoon I mentioned how deserted everything looked. And then once inside there were probably a total of 15 trees. I know the owners and employees quite well, I get my flowers and plants here in the spring and summer. I was told that their tree supplier failed to come through and this (the remaing 15 trees) was all they would have. I almost cried. This has always been a Christmas tree wonderland. I thought about the barrenness of it all, the loss of business in the shop, the employees out of work, the huge loss of profit. My brain was scrambling for ideas...could they possibly hook up with a Wisconsin Christmas tree farm with a bumper crop? Buy out a corner parking lot just to bring people into the shop for business? I felt like we needed a Hallmark movie intervention. Well, it is what it is.
The tree in the forefront of this photo is the one we chose.
Our little Elsie's first Christmas and Kevin and Mary Clare's holiday card. Is she not beautiful? Our kids do make perfect little ones! We love all of them so much.
My tree is still sitting naked as a jaybird. The Husband and I keep planning to put the lights on each evening and then after dinner we look at each other and say, "Nah..." Tomorrow definitely. I have dough frozen for cookies, recipes for candies and all sorts of holiday baking to give as gifts to extended family. I have more shopping to do online and a brunch menu to plan for Christmas morning (and to shop for). Emily is having a pre-Christmas Eve party for one side of the family, son Jeff is having the other side over for Christmas Eve. We will have Christmas dinner at Kevin and Mary Clare's home. I want to help with appetizers and desserts. We have a dinner with friends on Saturday. I know all of you think I'm busy as heck but this time you are right. I'm ready for a nervous breakdown!! lol! Next year I vow not to have such lofty ideas or I will start doing all of my holiday stuff in August.
I probably won't get back here until after Christmas, not sure why. Ha! And in spite of all of my lamenting and complaining, I really do rejoice in the true meaning of Christmas. That and the love we feel for family, friends and mankind is reason enough to push ourselves to do and be our best. So I'm wishing all of you and yours a very happy and blessed Christmas. Many thanks for your support and love each and every year. I hope I've returned that, all of you ladies are so incredibly wonderful and I'm so proud to call you friends. That said, love, peace and joy to all !