I was glad to have a house to decorate this year for Christmas. The only thing is that I forgot how much work is involved. Not that I’m complaining! There is nothing that warms my heart more than a house adorned with greenery, poinsettias, candles and shiny things. Top it off with a Frasier Fir or Holiday Bayberry candle, and I might just explode with joy!
I took advantage of having family in town the weekend after Thanksgiving to get the tree put up. We selected a mighty fine-looking (and smelling) Frasier Fir. Thank goodness my dear sister Eugene has herculean strength and could lift the tree to an upright position as my dad secured it in the stand.
The tree had a beautiful shape with impressive uniformity…
…except for this one little branch here in the back that stuck out like a tail. It cracked me up so I left it there. Who wants a tree without a little bit of character? If I had it my way (and by my way, I mean if I won the lottery and could justify spending 4 figures on live greenery), I would have one of those miniature, spindly, misshapen Charlie Brown trees in every room because I think they are hysterical and precious. Fortunately for anyone who comes to my house, my holiday decor fund has a limit.
AFTER my dad and I had strung the lights on the tree, I realized that my transition from the LED lights purchased last year for my tree that was half the size of this one to the new incandescent lights that I purchased this year to bridge the gap was not so smooth.
See the annoying blur of the white LED lights against the soft, warm glow of the smaller incandescent lights? I could not stand the sight of it so yours truly went out the next day to get some more of the 200 light strands of acceptable Christmas tree lights. When I got to Walgreens, where they were running a 2 for 1 special, I noticed that this location had 300 light strands for the same price as the 200 light strands. So instead of buying 2 more 200 lights strands, I bought 2 300 light strands, thinking I could get away with adding just 1 300 light strand to my existing 200 and then keep the “free” 300 light strand for another purpose. Perhaps for an unsuspecting shrub.
I got home and took the wretched LEDs off the top 2/3 of the tree and began stringing the regular, lovely, perfect, warm lights from the top. All was going swimmingly until I reached the point where I needed to connect the 300 light strand to the 200 light strand. I would like to tell you that these are the EXACT SAME LIGHTS FROM THE EXACT SAME MANUFACTURER. I held up the 3 prong connector of the 300 light strand ready to plug it into the receptacle of the 200 light strand only to discover that the 200 light strand’s receptacle had only 2 holes. JOY TO THE WORLD!
After contemplating poking my eyes out with the 3 prong connector so I couldn’t see the darn lights on the tree anyway, I collected myself and began taking the 200 light strand off the BOTTOM 1/3 of the tree so that I could make unexpected use of that additional “free” 300 light strand. I was concerned that my math wouldn’t work out and the lights would be too dense at the bottom of the tree, but the result was passable for my OCD self.
I was pleased with the end result, even though my camera doesn’t pick up the delicate glow of the lights very well in low-lighting.
As if that wasn’t enough light-enduced drama for one year, I decided to put electric candles in the windows. All 44 of them. I thought I might get crafty and use the battery operated LED lights (did I learn nothing from the tree episode?) to save (cause) myself some trouble. I put one in the window and didn’t really like the looks of it. It was too white and kind of dull. To see if I was imagining this, I put a plug-in incandescent candle next to it in the window and went out in the yard to compare the two from a distance. NO COMPARISON. I really wanted to like the LEDs for their energy savings and convenience; however, there might as well have been no candle in the window if I had opted for this route. It was pitiful, really, next to the arc of warm light radiating from the incandescent. More work for me, but I knew it would be worth it. 4 hours, 2 trips to the hardware store, and 16 extension cords later, it was totally worth it. I promise. It’s really a crime that I couldn’t get a good picture of it for you. I haven’t mastered night photography yet. Or day photography.
After all of that electrical excitement, I moved on to a few more basic decorating assignments: the front hall, the front door, the porch, the mantle, and the kitchen island.
The nice man at the farmers’ market gave us a good deal on this Frasier Fur wreath. I found some of that wide, mesh-like ribbon at Hobby Lobby and finished it off with a big ol’ bow.
I also stumbled upon some large faux wreaths at 50% off so I got 2 of those for the large windows on the porch. They got bows, too. Please disregard the expired mums that I had yet to remove as of the date this photo was taken. Please do note the snow on the roof! Too bad this wasn’t Christmas Day.
My dad had to trim a low-hanging branch off the tree to fit it into the tree stand, so I used that to fill out the mantle. My gold pears from Pier 1 a few years back gave the mantle a nice, rhythmic touch. First, I prepped the mantle with some saran wrap to keep the sap from creating a hot mess on the woodwork.
The final step was the stockings, which took a little bit of time and imagination. You see, I had found the most perfect faux fur tree skirt and pair of stockings at Homegoods. The only problem is that there are 4 people in my family, not 2. I called all of the surrounding TJ Maxx/Homegoods locations and non of them had more of these treasures. I had to get creative and settle on an eclectic look with the addition of another type of fur stocking and a fabulous sequined one, which I made my dad’s. He was confused and probably a little disturbed by this. It made me laugh.
On the topic of confused and disturbed, for my holiday arrangements in the kitchen and foyer, I spray-painted some branches gold. But not just any branches. Branches that came from 12 foot tree limbs that fell during an intense wind storm we had here in Nashville on Halloween. I drug these branches out of the yard and into my garage. I’m sure my neighbors thought I was crazy. You’d be amazed by what a little metallic gold spray paint and a small hand saw can do.
When it comes to holiday decorations, I think simple and natural is best…
…until I have to take it all down.
Covered in pine needles,