Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas Decorating, Act One - Keeping It Real

Today's part one (Act I, if you will) of a two-part holiday decor-fest.  UPDATE: Here's Act II, as it were, with living room and dining room decor!)

Last year, I told you all about the slightly irritating (yet charming) Christmas tree escapade we undertook to go from fake tree to real. For 2013, we found one pre-cut at a local-ish tree farm (maybe next year we'll up the ante and find and cut one OURSELVES! Adventure time, Hadman). We decorated (rather, poor Dave had to chase Hadley around when he'd get distracted as well as the cats when they got mischievous -- but Hadley did pick several spaces for some of the ornaments), and are now able to bask around it as a fun-lovin' family.

*Already stirring the homemade hot chocolate mentally, humming "White Christmas"

Things are getting simpler in some ways, and complicated in others. It seems our decorating this year is more of a daily metamorphosis. Every day that goes by, a little more gets done.

Slowly, slowly, said the sloth.

So, first, up went some new, white bulb lights on our porch -- never before had we attempted outside lights, and while I had the idea (all I did was purchase the things from Target, bring them home, and hand them over to Dave -- who then had to figure it out), all props go to the hubs for hanging them on a very cold day.

As days went by, I wound some fake greenery around the perimeter of the porch and down the railings. The final touch this year was a cute little (real) evergreen wreath with a red bow that we picked up along with the tree. Simple and sweet and classic.

(Side note: The cute little wreath is actually quite, um, it does get a tad squished between our storm door and red door. Ah, the plight of an upstate New Yorker. Snowy areas can't do without a storm door, no matter how cute a house looks without one.)

Speaking of tree, up it went, followed by a tangle of lights. (Let's just say it's not perfect this year. I'm usually impeccable about the lights. They're actually overlapping in different directions. Disgrace!) The next day, Hadley "helped" hang ornaments. We didn't put up half of what we had. Some are well-made but HUGE for the kind of weak branches we were workin' with. But, we still put up a few of our quirky cheeseball "so us" ones. Hello, Superman and Yellow Submarine. I swear some year I'm going to get a small tree dedicated just to the weird ones, then have a separate "pristine" tree. But, for now, this is our life -- it's real, it's messy, but it's full of joy.

Oh, and I was also undecided on a topper. We don't do the angel thing, or even the star thing (there were too many "drunk angel" jokes growing up, and I'm still far too immature to shove a tree up an angel's dress); normally, I do a cascade of ribbons with a beautiful bunch at the top. I considered this...then considered doing nothing...when I suddenly had an, "Oh, this is different. This is rustic. This is kinda cozy-cute" idea. Scarf. And not just any scarf. It was my dad's. So, hands off the scarf, buddy. (A longer scarf would allow for an adorable bow-tied effect -- go for it if you have one!)
Just add a top hat and it's Dickens in tree form.
...gotta find a top hat.

The tree (AKA pine-flavored kitty drinking fountain) is shorter and fatter this year, but that suits us just fine. We don't use that room except for cat pans and cat stands (I suppose it's the cat room), and a new-but-old-school radio/record player that we listen to Christmas tunes with. S'all good. It takes up the front room (it's like the room was MADE for a Christmas tree; I finally listened to my mom and others and stuck it out there last year...they were right).

Oh, and it's difficult to tell in the pictures, but in order to have a large enough "skirt", I decided to use two past "skirts" and overlap them to make one -- a crimson blanket that has a sweater weave goin' on, and a piece of faux lambskin. It looks pretty darn cute by the light of day, and I appreciate the detail. One of these days, I'll finally DIY a skirt that doesn't look too feminine, nor too plain...and I'll use the heck out of it year after year.

So, that's all for today. Stay tuned for Act II, or as I call it SHINY + RUSTIC. In the meantime, feel free to weigh in below: Real or fake? Hodgepodge of ornaments or one streamlined "theme"? Lights outdoor or simple wreath? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

(And if you have kiddos at home, I LOVE reading David Shannon's "The Amazing Christmas Extravaganza" to my kids at school. Mr. Merriweather loves his simple tree and wreath, but one year decides to add a string of white lights outside. When his grouchy neighbor, Mr. Clack, mocks his dinky display, things get out-of-hand (and, needless to say, the real meaning of Christmas is overshadowed).)

Toodles for now!


  1. Your tree is adorable, and I love your wreath on the front door! We decorated our tree this year with things we found on our family trips.....seaweed, pine cones, etc....It's simple fun, and reflective of our family's personality. :)

    1. Awww, thank you! I LOVE that you had such a personal, fun way to decorate. Happy Holidays!