Wow, I just don’t know where the time goes. I’ve been terrible about posting on the blog lately, yet I’m not quite sure how I’ve been spending my time. I put up our Christmas decorations the day after Thanksgiving and I’ve been meaning to share with you all. I was pretty excited about decorating since this is our first Christmas in our new house and we’re not traveling over the holiday as we did the last two years.
We’re trying to keep things simple this year when it comes to decorations. As much as I would love to decorate the outside of the house with lots of lights as plenty of our neighbors have done, it’s just not going to happen this year. It’s easy, I think, to feel pressured to go all out on decorations for our first house and end up overwhelmed. Simplicity has also been encouraged by the fact we’re trying to keep money in our savings account and there’s no exterior electrical outlet on our house. We’ve had some solar-powered lights in the past, but didn’t have too much luck in finding any this year. All we have out front is our beautiful wreath (of which I forgot to take a picture) we purchased from the Boy Scout troop at church and a “Happy Holidays” sign left by the previous owner that was still in the yard when we moved-in in March. Maybe we’ll score some solar-powered lights on clearance after Christmas for next year.
As for the interior decorations… A lot of Christmas decor I’ve seen on other blogs or in the newspaper involves carefully chosen themes and perfectly coordinated decorations. I’m not an interior designer and I just don’t subscribe to that style of doing things when it comes to Christmas decorations. Nothing against those of you that decorate with a particular theme in mind – it’s just not me. I appreciate the meaning and memories behind certain Christmas decorations and simply layering them over time. Take our Christmas tree, for example.
A majority of the ornaments on our tree come from the first twenty or so years of my life. My grandparents gave me a new ornament every year since my first Christmas engraved with my name and the year. They evolved over time from gold metallic ornaments engraved with “Allison” to heavier pewter ornaments engraved “Allie” when I experimented with my identity during my teen years. Thankfully, Shane had a few things to add to the tree so they don’t all have my name on them! I love his Christmas-y surfboard sign that reads “Mele Kalikimaka” from his grandma in 2007. My mom also started a tradition of having us pick out a new ornament each year to add to the tree, so I have several of those ranging from a glass fish to a metal cow to a gold-plated walnut from the year we went to see The Nutcracker. In keeping with that tradition, Shane and I have picked out new ornaments each year we’ve been together to add to our collection. My favorites of those we’ve picked out together are our Hawaiian Santa and hula dancer dolls we bought in Hawaii last year. I just get so much pleasure in decorating the tree and having memories of Christmases past with each ornament I hang on a branch – who cares if they’re color-coordinated or not.
This year we have a few additions, starting with the tree. We replaced our 4-foot tree we had in our apartment with a new, slim 7 1/2-foot tree we purchased at Home Depot. Now that we’re in a house, we have more space for the tree and half the lights quit working on our old tree. I found our angel tree-topper (at least that’s how I’m using it) at T.J. Maxx for $9.99. It wasn’t labeled one way or another, but she sits nicely on the top branch. We also picked up about 10 ornaments (with a bigger tree, we had more space to fill), instead of just one for each of us, at World Market this year. I really liked their selection of unique ornaments for reasonable prices. Sadly, Portia already shredded our Super Mario-like felted mushroom ornament to pieces and we were unable to replace it. (Where’s a one-up mushroom when you need it?) We’re hoping to replace our bows on the tree next year, maybe with silver accents instead of gold. I may not be too theme-y, but I think silver is more us than the gold. Either way, lighting up the tree when we get home from work just makes my day. Anyone else?
Other decorations around the house:
This wreath hangs on the stair closet door next to the bar. Shane and I made this wreath our first Christmas together. He even picked out the brown ribbon with the blue and silver snowflakes! Love that I can think about our first Christmas together every time I gaze at this wreath!
I realized while unpacking my tinsel tree this year that I’ve had it since 2003 – ornaments and all! I bugged my mom to buy it for me at Target my senior year of high school so I could put it in my room. I even made the skirt myself since 8 years ago they didn’t sell mini tree skirts. It still makes me happy every year. I think of it as my slightly Dr. Suess-ical whimsy tree. My brother has a matching tree for which he got blue glass ornaments and mini disco balls! I’m sure it’s in storage with our parents’ stuff now while they’re overseas.
Another reminder of our last two Christmases spent in Hawaii. The two on the sides (the “boy” stockings) we picked up two years ago for ourselves when we spent Christmas in Hilo two days before our wedding. We got the more girly stocking last year while on the other side of the island in Kailua Kona. They will now serve as decorative and no longer as functional stockings.
This year, I’ve taken on the challenge of making Hanley family stockings that will hopefully last years and years to come. I’m hoping to finish the stockings tomorrow with a post to follow. I was planning on finishing them sooner, but there’s been a few hiccups along the way. Now, there’s just 7 days left before we need to hang them with care for Santa’s visit! I better shake a leg (or foot?) on these stockings!
What Christmas decorations always bring you pleasant memories? Any favorites that you have to put out each year even though they’re tacky or don’t fit into a decor theme?