Deck the Halls

I love everything about the Holidays. The music, the food, and the family time. The decor.

Every year, my family begins decorating for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving.

We deck our old Victorian home’s halls with mistletoe balls.

We hang our needlepoint stockings on the mantle with care.

We set up the Christmas Village which my mom collected over several years.

We hang the tatted and crocheted snowflakes our Great-Aunt Lila and Great-Grandmother Ruth made for us for every birthday, anniversary, and holiday until they passed away.

We give the Baby Jesus his first sip of wine.

Oh wait, that’s so my sister and I can make it through decorating with our parents. [I kid, I kid.]

Every year, memories of decorating for Christmases past flood my mind. In fact, one of my earliest childhood memories is from this treasured time and involves the song, It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Andy Williams.

I was probably 2 or 3 and wearing a navy peacoat and saddle oxfords. My hair was probably in braided pigtails tied with red ribbon (courtesy of my mom), and we were decorating the house for Christmas just as we always have.

We keep the majority of our Christmas decorations in a closet under the stairs and my dad was in charge of getting out all of the boxes. Being Daddy’s Little Girl, I decided he needed help taking the decorations out of their boxes and putting them in their appropriate location.

God help him – my dad’s 6’8″ frame has had to contort to fit into a less than 3 ft tall space, in order to get all of our decorations out, for as long as I can remember. Well, until this year, when my sister took over this chore.

First was the box of Christmas lights for the front of our house. I pushed that big box down the hallway and out the door to the porch. Then came the garland box, which also got pushed outside. Next, was our stuffed animal head of Rudolph [I swear it’s not as brutal looking as it sounds] that we normally hang on the wall by the kitchen, but that year, I decided it should be displayed prominently on the front porch. The same went for the fabric Santa wall hanging, as it also got taken to the front porch.

Eventually, almost every item from every Christmas decor box and almost every item from that downstairs closet got taken to the front porch – including an old wooden tennis racket that was lying near the boxes by the closet door.

Apparently, I thought the Baby Jesus and Santa would enjoy playing tennis together.

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Happy Holidays!

I sort of have a reputation when it comes to the Christmas/Holiday cards I send out every year.

Or so I’m told.

You see, I’m a huge fan of paper pretties. I’m one of those people who can stand in the card aisle for hours looking for the perfect birthday card for a friend. So it should come as no surprise that, every year, I scour the Internet for unique cards.

Starting in October, I make it a point to find a card with a little something extra – an added sparkle here or a spinning ornament there. But this year I decided to try my hand at designing my own and I’m so happy I did!

I had bought several yards of canvas to make these lovely calendars as gifts, but grad school got in the way. I was sad and stuck with yards of canvas that I didn’t know if I’d ever use.

Then it hit me: Christmas Cards! Yep, I printed my cards on canvas this year. But not just that, I took it one step further and made the envelopes, too.

As one friend said after she received it in the mail: the card “did its job of making me feel inferior.” I guess operation make-my-own-cards was a success? 🙂

PS: Can you still call them cards if they aren’t printed on paper?

Holiday Gift Guide

Still wondering what to buy that certain someone on your list? I thought so. Hopefully my Gift Guide below gives you some inspiration!

These are a few of my favorite things…

1. Tivoli Audio Model One AM/FM Radio from Anthropologie ($178), 2. Bag Vase from CB2 ($4), 3. Glass Piggy Bank from VivaTerra ($39), 4. Aquamarine Cushion Ring in 14k Rose Gold from Garnet Girl Designs on Etsy ($438), 5. Lost Empire Loungers from Anthropologie ($48), 6. Turquoise Fabric Flower Rosebud Earrings from cardinalhouse on Etsy ($16), 7. Nielsen-Massey Pure Vanilla Bean Paste from Amazon ($10)

My Christmas Playlist

It should come as no surprise that I’m a music junkie and the Holidays are no different. Many songs make me nostalgic (go figure), while others simply provide yet another great beat to which I can bop my head. I’ve got classics from when my parents were kids and instrumental standards, holiday inspired rap and 80’s-style pop. Every. single. song. fills me with the spirit of Christmas.

It’s taken me a while to build up a Christmas music selection that I’m never sick of listening to, so I thought I’d share some of my favorite tunes with you. Happy Holidays!

Click the record below to listen to the playlist whenever you want to feel festive! 

The Advent Wreath

The season of Advent is upon us.

It’s the time of year when families around the globe, who observe the liturgical calendar, gather in preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus at Christmas.

A time where families gather in church fellowship halls to build their own Wreath, which they will place prominently in their homes and light as a family throughout the weeks leading up to Christmas.

A time for Joy, Peace, Love and Hope.

A time when parents are full of joy because their children are able to light the candles of the Wreath in an environment of love and peace. Or, in the case of my parents, hopeful that their daughters would light the candles in an environment of love and peace.

You see, one year my sister and I weren’t so, um, loving or peaceful during the lighting of the candles. In fact, we had a bit of a tiff over whose turn it was to read the devotional and whose turn it was to light the candles.

And this tiff?

Well, let’s just say that in ended in a – ahem – well lit Advent Wreath.

As in, we set our family’s Advent Wreath on fire.
image via Jer86 on Flickr