Monday, November 28, 2011

Deck the halls

I spent today decorating not halls but surfaces--the mantel, two buffets, a library table, and the dining table. For years, I had a huge tree but since the year one fell over in the middle of a party, I haven't had another tree. The kids all have trees at their houses and it doesn't seem worth it to put one up in my house. If that's curmudgeon-like, I apologize. But I do like to give the house a festive spirit--at least, the living and dining rooms, the so-called public spaces of the house.
When I was a kid, decorating the tree was not the happy family affair I thought it should be--I recall the entire family going to pick out a tree. Squabbles surely followed, but we brought a home the best tree most of us could agree on. My father and brother trimmed the lower branches, put the tree in a stand (Mom was always particular about keeping lots of water in the stand), strung the lights and retired from the field, leaving Mom and me to hang decorations. One year, after John and I were grown, Mom got a flocked table tree and decorated it in pink--I remember my father was distinctly displeased. I decided when I had a home, trimming the tree would be festive, so for years I had a tree trimming party. Although gifts were not requested, many guests brought unique ornaments and I ended with a marvelous collection of ornaments, many of them Texas-themed from those who knew my interest in Texana. So now I have all those ornaments and no tree.
To me, the fireplace mantel is always focal--and always the hardest to do. Today it was the last thing I did, and I thought I'd need Jordan's help to pull it together, but tonight I did it. The main items are the tall red vase, part of the decorations from the Christmas wedding of Jordan and Christian seven years ago, and the Jim Shores Santa with its 12-days of Christmas motif. Newly added is a tiny Jim Shores angel, meant of course to hang on a tree. At the other end of the mantel and is a creche handmade in a small village in Guatemala. Making these creches has brought sustainability to the village, so I like the idea as well as the finished product.
Next on my agenda was the buffet in the living room. Every house should have a toy train at Christmas, so here's the one I put out every year.
I try to make the dining room table different every year--fairly easy because I can never remember what I did the year before. This year I decided to go with a fairly spare look--no greens except the wreath, which has four holders for tapers that are on my shopping list. The bowl was also part of the wedding decorations. And finally because Christmas should be a time of cutter and randomness, I put out a display of ornaments. This is just a portion of my large collection.

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