Monday, December 20, 2010

Decking the Halls

I really love the Christmas season. I have several boxes of Christmas decor that I am just itching to open as soon as the sun sets on Thanksgiving.

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:
This is a 2010 contribution to the tree, thanks to Holly and Scott's wedding. I like that it looks kind of industrial. Fitting, no? This is actually a modified keychain that I picked up in the Pittsburgh airport Walgreens. Modified keychains frequently make great ornaments in a pinch.

In case you think your eyes are deceiving you, this is a beaver dressed as a Canadian Mountie, riding the requisite horse.  I picked it up in Nova Scotia on the Canada/New England cruise I was forced to go on for work several years back. At the time I was living in Boston, which we sailed right past. I waved to my apartment.  Why I couldn't have gotten the Alaska, Mediterranean, or Northern Europe assignments, I don't know.

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.

This was another 2010 addition to the tree. Travel costs notwithstanding, this is the most expensive ornament on my tree. I'm not going to tell you how much it was, because that would be gauche. Ok, it was $20.  But it's made of flimsy tin, so $20 is a bit galling.

The most recent addition to my ornament collection was picked up just this month while visiting Avery Island, Louisiana, where TABASCO is made. This little pepper is apparently named "Tabascaux" and after I bought it, my boss pointed out that this pepper has a little pepper pecker poking out under its apron. Awkward. But since the pepper also has long eyelashes and a funny hat, I am beginning to think this is the Lady Gaga of Christmas ornaments.

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.

The aggressively-lit tree with (unwrapped) gifts under it.
I asked friends coming to my holiday party to bring over toys for the annual San Francisco Fire Department toy drive. This was not, as suggested by some, a ploy to meet firefighters. Although that is an excellent idea.  

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?

Cheap and easy, my favorite kind of decorating. You can pick up glass ornaments for just a few bucks at Target.  And who doesn't have a glass vase in the back of a cabinet or closet? So pretty. (For added sparkle, you can get a small strand of battery operated lights and intertwine them with the ornaments.)

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!
 Happy Holidays!

1 comment:

Chrissy said...

Um, the ornament cost is actually only $5. The other $15 is for the pleasure of spending time in Edmonds. And, while I desperately want to pick the Pepper with a Pecker as my favorite ornament, my loyalty forces me to say that the Edmonds ornament is BY FAR the best on your tree.