Wednesday, December 12, 2007

So What Do I Love about my Holiday Home?

That was the assignment: tell in words and pictures what you like about your own holiday home, as assigned by Karla at for today, 12-12-07. As of 8:30 p.m. eastern time there were 136 gorgeous responses. I cannot urge you enough to click this link to enjoy seeing decorating styles and decorations from around the world.

I took the easy way out this morning, because I only had about five minutes before work to upload some photos and get linked up to Karla's blog. No time to write anything. But after a long day of meetings and a two-hour-plus drive home, I still felt guilty when I read the comments and looked at all the other lovely posts. So here goes:

Every year I think we all enjoy getting out all the old ornaments and remembering how they came to be. The DH and I have ornaments from our own childhood trees, and the kids have ornaments they made for us as gifts as well as funny pictures from baby's first Christmas or a pre-school class photo ornament. We also have tried to buy souvenir ornaments on our travels and have received some as gifts, so we remember those spots. It's funny, but we also remember some of the ones that have been broken over the years (mostly by the cats), and then we hang ornaments with pictures of all our prior cats!

Most of the time the house is pretty neutral- a lot of off white- so I like breaking out the red this time of year, from afghans to poinsettias to bears with striped sweaters. We look forward to wrapping the presents, and I'm a stickler for not using crappy bows or tags that clash. I figure you should show some care in presentation to the recipient, even if the recipient is two and would prefer to eat the bow.

I also like the smells of Christmas, and although we've had fake trees the last couple of years (another cat necessity), I like to light candles, burn potpourri, use plug-ins and anything I can get to add the scent of pine and cinnamon and spice and vanilla. Clearly, this blog also demonstrates I like to break out the Christmas music- anything goes - from Frank and Dean to Beyonce and indie and alternative artists.

The other thing I like to think about this time of year has nothing to do with my house now but the house of my childhood. I have distinct memories of age five to 11. Before my father died and our family unit and extended family were forever changed, we had grand celebrations. Although it was only a three-bedroom ranch, and small at that, it seemed like a mansion with my mother's decorating. She was Martha before Martha was in heels. I distinctly remember the search for a perfect live tree, not just for the perfect shape, of course, but because it would then be left at the nursery, Sczezny's in fact, to be flocked a different color each year and picked up later. I can remember white, pink and blue for sure. In fact, I do not ever remember growing up with a green tree, how funny is that? I thought it was perfectly normal at the time.

The tree would then be decorated to coordinate with the flocking. I remember absolutely gorgeous, elaborate ornaments with velvet and ribbon and jewels. There were incredible detailed balls, like Faberge eggs. There were gilded angels with harps, drums, skiing angels, encrusted bells and baubles, and a beautiful angel for the topper. Many of these ornaments were pink; I can definitely remember a white tree with all pink ornaments. I remember pink and olive. I'm pretty sure we had all pink lights some years- the big, fat, old-fashioned bulbs.

Besides the tree and the pretty little nativity scene underneath, I remember my excitement the few years my dad felt well enough to put a huge wooden santa and all his reindeer up on our roof or in our front bushes. It was literally life-size, and I thought it was the most exciting thing in the world to see, along with the big plastic light-up snowman on the porch. I guess all these have been replace by giant balloons for some reason-perhaps so they can deflate and hang around until spring?

So I guess that explains why I have a white tree with pink ornaments this year, my first attempt. I will admit to brown and turquoise the two years before this. But, we still do a "normal" tree also, as pictured below. I also have a six foot skinny green tree, sort of Charlie Brown-ish for all primitive and country ornaments, but I did not do that one this year. In fact, I am slowly learning it doesn't all have to be perfect to be perfect. And I am learning memories are just as important as the actual ornaments. I can see clearly all those childhood ornaments and with both my parents gone now 35 and 9 years respectively, no one left has any idea what happened to all those ornaments and lights. But we all remember them.


Fete et Fleur said...

What precious and beautiful memories. Thank you for sharing them. I wish you still had some of the wonderful items you described.

Have A Very Merry Christmas!!

Alison Gibbs said...

It is lovely to have those childhood memories. Thanks for sharing your holiday photos with us. I love the white tree.