I really do try to adhere to the “less is more” school of thought when it comes to decorating. The most difficult part of getting a project right is knowing when to stop. Overdo, and “great” can turn “garish and gaudy” in the blink of an eye. So, when an urge to add “one more thing” arises, I ignore it and call the work done. The exception to that rule has always been when decorating for Christmas, when too much bling was never too much, and the word overdone just did not apply.
This year, however, is markedly different for us from Christmases past. With Dad’s illness, priorities have changed. Our bathroom mirrors are no longer crowned with swags of greenery, the chandeliers do not have snowflakes and shiny baubles hanging from their arms, and much of my pride and joy snowmen collection (including salt & pepper shakers and cookie jars) is still packed away.
Only one section of the banisters is draped in garland and lighted. The dining room table, that needs a new fringed burlap runner is, as yet, unadorned. (In fact, it is piled with Christmas wrap & unwrapped gifts!) My collection of Christmas throw pillows remains under wraps ( but that is more to protect them from the “wrath of Bear” than from a paring down principle! ;>}
The most amusing thing about all of this was my determination to get an early start on several special projects, for a change. I started in early October with an old cupboard door, which became the canvas for a portrait of my “Jingle Bear”. I had seen an item in the Sturbridge Village holiday catalog, of a black laboratory retriever painted on wood planks. Borrowing from that idea, Bear was painted on, surrounded by snowflake buttons, with a bow that was fashioned from a portion of the red leash we used on his adoption day. He was garnished with faux greenery & berries, and the piece is finished off with an elaborately decoupaged “frame”. A greenery swag over the picture, with a tartan bow (because I am convinced he has some Scottish terrier in his heritage) completes the look.
But then, you know how all progress ground to a halt with the hip surgery. When my sister flew down for a visit in early November, she insisted that the Christmas tree be set up, so she could decorate it. One too many glasses of moscato dampened that desire (I can relate that truism, only because she never reads this blog! :>), so she went home leaving a very bare, sad-looking tree. Enter my Tree Angels, LeeAnn & Faith, who did a marvelous job of decorating the tree:
Here is the finished tree (which always sems to be leaning, but is not! I must be crooked when I snap the pic!):
For the mantle, we didn’t swag any greenery, for a change. Greg cut up some leftover ceiling beams and placed them under the television. This allowed me to place garland and light on top of the mantle, without interfering with the tv screen.
A home-printed print, a woooden lantern, some snowflakes, real preserved pomegranates from the tree in our Atlanta yard, and new pair of faux baby owls from Grandin Road complete the look:
For the bannister, we combined an old green garland with last year’s ribbon garland, and lots of white lights. I then added snowflakes, snow angel ornaments, and a sparkly red netting bow:
The relatively new shelf in the entry area is probably the jolliest spot in the house. Tiny trees, decked with Dollar Tree battery-operated lights, are joined by a handmade Santa (made by me several years ago), Snow Lady, a primitive snowman birdhouse, and a wreath with a little Santa perched inside:
And, of course, our Christmas decor would not be complete without our “snowman nativity set”:
The front door wreath is a favorite, especially against the newly painted green door:
And, last of all, I framed some pics, that I found on the internet, and then ran through Waterlogue. The are hanging on the wall next to the front door. I love that they look so much like real watercolors:
Surprisingly, I am really enjoying this year’s pared down, streamlined version of Christmas décor. And putting everything away after the holidays won’t be a multi-day affair that would have me swearing that never again will I get carried away with holiday décor!
12/18/15: On Tuesday, 12/15, Dad was back in the ER due to excruciating back pain. Once again, the Jasper hospital, because they do not have an infectious disease specialist on staff, transferred him to their main campus in downtown Atlanta. Greg & I, who normally love to spend time in the city during the holidays, will be spending this weekend in Atlanta, right around the corner from dad. No window shopping for us this year. :>[
Dad has discitis, which basically is an infection that forms in the space between the spinal discs. The pain it causes is excruciating. Even morphine is not successfully masking it. The worst thing on earth is to watch someone you love suffer, and be powerless to help them. Pain management is the most critical piece of his recovery. Once that is under control, he will be going to rehab before he can return home (haven’t had the courage to break that to him, yet!).
Christmas will be very different this year. Jen & family are scheduled to come to Ellijay for Christmas Day. Instead of cooking the traditional meal, she suggested we find a Chinese restaurant (a la a “Christmas Story”). She thinks it would be fun to sing Farararara with the waiters! My daughter seems to have a strange bucket list, no? (Greg keeps telling us we have to be flexible this holiday season, but reenacting one of his favorite movies may be a bridge too far!)
So, it is the week before Christmas. Not one present is wrapped. None of the gifts to friends and family have been mailed. And the shopping has not been completed. We will make it through, just like the Whos from Whoville did, when Christmas CAME, with or without presents. The Grinch finally understood, too, when he uttered the famous words:
“Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store…Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!”
Dec. 21: Dad is still in the hospital. Today is Jen’s day to visit with him. I needed a day at home for physical therapy on my leg, as well as to get some presents wrapped. Jen and I take turns trying to squeeze information out of the doctors, who are not very forthcoming about what’s going on with Dad’s condition. It is beyond frustrating! One thing is becoming clear: he won’t be home for Christmas. I am beyond sad about that…
Well, dear readers, I hope you enjoyed the Christmas tour of our home. Once again, I entreat you to keep my Dad in your prayers. This is, after all, the Season of Miracles, and your prayers & kind thoughts would be most welcome.
Wishing you all the Merriest of Christmases, & the Happiest of New Years! God bless us every one.