About ten years ago, I started collecting Christmas ornaments every time I traveled somewhere new. I'm so glad I established this habit because when I hang them on the tree at the end of the year, I'm reminded of all the wonderful places I've been in the past year and years ago, and the stories behind each ornament. Here are a few of my favorites:
The Harrods ornament was picked up the following year, while visiting Meredith during Law School "study" abroad. It is totally tacky flocked velvet and I love it.
My holiday spirit doesn't stop at the tree. I listen to holiday music in the car and at home from the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas Day. (The only device saved from this festive behavior is the shuffle I use at the gym. You try running on a treadmill to "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas".) I never start playing the music before Thanksgiving and definitely never continue playing it after the 25th. Christmas music is delightful. In moderation. Like martinis.
I know this is true because when I was younger I worked Christmas-season retail (yes, at the MALL) and it is difficult to properly express the unspeakable horror of hearing "Santa Baby" nine times a day, every day, for ten weeks. It's enough to make anyone want to sharpen a candy cane to a fine point. And also because I know what it is like to have too many martinis.
This is one of my all-time favorite Christmas songs.
I mean, honestly. Thank you, Lou Monte, for singing this song about my people. (Really?? The reindeer - the flying reindeer - can't make it up the Italian hills? So we're subbing a donkey??) This song is just so ridiculous and I smile every time I hear it. A nice counterpoint to Handel's "Messiah," which I also like to include on the playlist.
Back to the decorating: I love the smell of pine in winter, so I have two wreaths up in addition to the tree. And just so we're clear, yes, it's a real tree. I just can't do the plastic kind. I know all kinds of people swear by them but I personally find them just a little bit soul-sucking. The trick to making the tree super glittery and wonderful is to string the lights both around the tree and run them in and out along the branches. Lights shoved toward the middle of the tree really help make it glow. Plan on 100ish lights per vertical foot. At least.
|I love, love, love coming home to this door. |
The wreath and big red bow feel so welcoming.
|Another wreath in the dining room.|
|I thought this guy needed a little festive attire. |
This mask is probably a sacred African object, but what's Christmas without a little cultural insensitivity?
|I love poinsettias. I thought this pink version was so cool and unusual. |
And it looks great next to that stack of red Fiesta appetizer plates.
|Another poinsettia by the door. I just removed that gross foil that these come wrapped in and dropped the plastic pot into a cute planter I already had. I love the glittery reindeer, too. His expression reminds me a little of Rocky (the family Lab.)|
|Last but not least. |
Mistletoe is fun!