|Got to have a Golden Gate Bridge here in the Bay Area!|
I am recovering from last weekend! I had a cookie exchange, my youngest son’s 10th Birthday party, our town’s Christmas parade, (which my cub scout was in), got the tree, did the house lights, decor and I am fried! Oh, and I ordered my cards on-line last night, while bleary-eyed. I hope they come out okay. It was about 11:30, usually not a good time to conduct business.
|Le mantel. I have a motley collection of stockings, but we like it that way. No matching monograms here.|
Yesterday afternoon, I was all carols and lights! I was ready for the decorating! To get started, I always must have requisite Christmas playlist, hot cocoas and cappuccinos, and all the family involved! We start out by opening each boy’s box with their ornaments. Each year the boys collect one or two new ornaments and we date them and if they are a gift put from whom. I personally love unwrapping our photo ornaments. Each year, I try to frame one from our card or a pic from that season. Then we unwrap old family ornaments and of course the precious school ones. I had to laugh as my youngest placed a huge, gold 5×7 macaroni one with his photo from preschool in the front and center of the tree! In fact, it became a bit of a problem that each kid was placing his favorites in the prime real-estate of the tree. After a few renditions of, “Grandma got run over by a Reindeer,” and a bit of a scuffle over who owned the ice-cube Santa, it seemed everybody split and I was left with the dregs. Left behind were the, “Meh,” decorations, a floor littered with fir needles and a tree seriously imbalanced! After finding all my favorites crammed towards the back, I went to work rearranging everyone’s handiwork so the tree could look half decent!
|Griffin’s preschool macaroni frame.|
|Jackson’s preschool ornament.|
A basket of ornaments on my library shelf.
|Some more xmas fluff. I added tree cuttings to my favorite candle, furry throw and a stone pine cone.|
Of course living here in Northern California, we always get a live tree! I love that smell when you walk through the door. We are very close to the Santa Cruz Mountains, which is home to tons of tree-farms. However, I don’t go that route, after one too many bad experiences with Douglas Firs. Yes, I am sorry to say it, but I’ve had red flying beatles in my house and dead trees after a week of cutting! Since those mishaps, I have been a Noble or Fraser-Fir convert, and go to a local nursery for one of those from up in the Great Northwest. This year I went to a very close local place, The Green Thumb, and the trees were gorgeous and actually priced very reasonably. The nurseries usually have very inexpensive wreaths and I always get one at the same time. Last year, mine smelled so good and I kept it up until February!
|My wreath. I am actually starting to like this blue door.|
|Some favorites. Bird nests in the tree are supposed to be good luck. I am always attracted to initials.|
My father has a wonderful tradition of doing a Christmas snow scene with little houses and people that he had collected since his childhood. I always adored it as a girl and played with it. My boys also love helping put it up and seeing it. That is something he still does with them. My Dad also collects nutcrackers and when my oldest, Jackson was small, he started a buying them for him too. Now, Jackson has the start of his own collection, which he lovingly arranges and displays each holiday. Now that he is 13, he decides where they go and how they look best. Each one has the date and place gotten and from whom on the bottom. Griffin, my 10 year old, also has a collection. He collects lighthouse ornaments. He has been obsessed with them since he was very small, and so it seemed a natural choice for him!
|Jackson and part of his collection he arranged.|
|One of Griffin’s lighthouses.|
|From my Mom.|
|From where my husband grew up, a magical place.|
My favorite ornaments, besides the photos and kid creations, are the ones from my husbands and my childhoods. We have some my Mom got for me, like ballerinas and skiing angels and whimsical ones I cherish. I also have some sea-themed ones from my husband’s hometown of Trinidad, California on the ocean. Globes, Eiffel Towers, and travel mementos are also favorites. I truly love a tree that tells a story about the family and I’m afraid mine won’t be featured in Elle Decor, anytime soon!
|From one of my favorite photo cards of the boys roasting marshmallows on the beach.|
|I wasn’t the only one worn out! My buddy Hobbes, after all the excitement.|