Ten Christmas Decorating Joys

Chirped by Tina (and Cass)

We love having an excuse to mix up our decor for the holidays, especially at Christmas time. Unboxed memories catapult us into the past, then boomerang back to brighten our season. Here’s a list of ten Christmas decorating joys, and why they make us happy…

#1: The Tree

Ten Christmas Decorating Joys

For me, the tree is the show-stopper. My family loves the look and smell of a real Frazier fir. Fraziers tend to have branches strong enough to support our heavier ornaments, too! In our house, the motto (ever since the boys got big enough to help haul it in) has been “Go Big or Go Home!” This year’s specimen is 10′ 8″ – but that includes the “antenna” that my husband refused to let me trim down to size. I love the afternoon we spend each year trimming our tree. I even look forward to the day I devote to taking it down by myself. It gives me a chance to savor every ornament, and the memories that go along with it… Check out last year’s time-lapse video of me and the Hubster decorating the tree to get a sense of how big a project it is. The migrating wall shadows say it all… Lol!

Pro-Tip #1: When your fledglings can’t be around to help bling out the tree, consider setting aside a box or two of special ornaments just for them to hang. I reserve any that have their names on them, or that they received as gifts from Santa, mom and dad, or other relatives. That way they can still be part of the tradition, but your tree doesn’t have to look barren until they get home.

#2: The Ornaments

Ten Christmas Decorating Joys

The best part of our un-themed tree is that it provides a giant place to display 30 years’ worth of handmade crafts! (Not just mine, but from friends and family as well.) That is not to discount all the other wonderful baubles we’ve purchased and received over the years. Each reminds us of the friend, relative, Secret Santa, pet, vacation, college or hometown that inspired or created them. Some years I take snapshots of particular treasures and text them to the giver, to connect long distance and let them know I was thinking of them. Cass has a collection of miniature framed photos of herself with good friends that hangs from her tree. I finally made the cut, now that we have a better picture of the two of us together! (We never think to take those…!) Woohoo!

#3: The Wreaths

If you’ve got a Boy Scout troop or other non-profit selling wreaths around town, think about giving them some of your business. Deck the halls while also doing some good! Wreaths look great on any outside door of your home, day or night. We also like to hang a big one in the picture window over our front door. Oftentimes the big 3-4′ wreaths we favor for that window don’t come pre-decorated… I save the nicer decorations from past wreaths to dress them myself.

Pro-Tip #2: Add a string of battery-operated soft white LED lights to give your wreaths a sparkling little upgrade. My light strings have a 6-hour On/18-hour Off setting. You can turn them on around 5:30pm, they’ll go off automatically at 11:30, then repeat until the batteries die. Pretty sweet!

#4: Remembrance Pieces

Ten Christmas Decorating JoysMaybe, like us, you have certain pieces that belonged to a parent or other family member who has passed away. The beauty of pulling them out at the holidays is that every year the associated memories get refreshed. It’s a wonderful way to include the spirit of your loved ones in your family’s celebration. Some of you may recall our post about the Remembrance Trees that Cass created for herself and her siblings from their mom’s huge collection of costume jewelry. They are a beautiful tribute, and a reminder of her mother’s favorite time of the year… ♥

Ten Christmas Decorating Joys#5: Old Photos with Santa

What better time to relive the excitement and/or terror sparked by that jolly old elf? We’ve got multiple years of framed encounters, and even a somewhat faded one of my husband and his brother from way back when. All so darn cute!

#6: Countdown Rituals

Ten Christmas Decorating JoysI keep one vigilant snowman in the kitchen, to keep me on my toes as the days fly by. Our other longstanding countdown tradition is an Advent Cupboard that I fill with miniature ornaments and sweet treats. The kids used to open one door for every day of December and hang the trinkets on a small artificial tree. Now that they’re in college, I sometimes do the first half of the month before they get home – but without the yummy incentives! (And frankly I hung Days 1-13 all today! Shhh, don’t tell the boys!) They’ll finish up next week – because you’re never too old for candy!

#7: New Holiday Crafts and Traditions

Ten Christmas Decorating JoysWhen we first got married, (and had smaller trees), my husband thought the perfect Christmas tree would have an ornament on every branch tip. That sounded good to me and my crafty aspirations! Now that it takes us four or five hours to decorate, he’s a little less enthusiastic about adding to our collection. But how can you be surrounded by so much dazzling color and texture every year and not be inspired to make something new? For the college boys, I started sending the 12 Days of Christmas Hanger Trees to brighten their dorm rooms and get them through finals. This year I made a tree for myself and my sister – mostly for demonstration purposes for the blog post. (And because I think they’re fun!)

Ten Christmas Decorating JoysI’ve also picked up a new hobby with the help of some workshops at Chimayo Gallery: felting little creatures out of wool. It’s pretty time consuming, but quite satisfying! I’m still working on this little Christmas Mouse, and just need to add a loop to last year’s felted frog so I can dangle them from some lonely little branch tips… 😀

#8: Easy Holiday Makeovers

I love how just adding some green or red details can transform a year-round accent into a Christmas showpiece. Cases in point:

  • A Nantucket basket, usually filled with acorns, gets jolly, topped with red balls!

  • A basket of candles looks festive surrounded by faux greenery and… more balls.

  • A decorative bowl gets its Christmas jam on with pine cones, balls and fairy lights!

(My hubbie thinks the bowl looks like some sort of Frankenstein version of a salad, but I disagree! What do you think? Yay or Nay? Give us a Peep in the Comments section!)

#9: Mother Nature Styles the Outdoors

Our traditional “Christmas” decorating was of course shaped by what was pretty and easily available to our fore-bearers. Still, doesn’t it sometimes feel like even Mother Nature is getting into the spirit of the holidays?

#10: Classic Canine Christmas Photo Opps…

No list of Christmas favorites would be complete without subjecting our four-legged friends to the indignities of a little holiday fashion. They don’t seem very impressed. Just wait ’til they get their stockings! Then they’ll remember what all the fuss is about…

Whatever holiday you celebrate, we hope you all enjoy memorable times with family and friends as the decade winds down. May your days be filled with joy and wonder!

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