New House. New Traditions.

Even though the temperatures outside do not indicate as such, fall is upon us. Soon will come Thanksgiving and then Christmas: the holidays. Time to decorate and get festive. I know what happens now. There will be mums hung somewhere around my parents’ house, pumpkins will arrive, and now that I am not there to carve them, I’m sure one or more of my nieces will take over the task. Or, my mother, not wanting to leave anyone out, will give ALL of her grandchildren markers and let them get creative. There will be a partially concealed bag of peanut butter kisses hiding in the kitchen cabinets, but that’s pretty much the “fall” décor at their house. Oh, but the wreath over the fireplace might change too.
Now, when Christmas draws near, there will be a tree. Although at this point, there is a chance it might not be real. ( I do remember the days when we had handcut (ok-chainsaw cut) trees that were lopsided and bigger on top that had to be leaned against a wall – oh the days). There will be old and new glass bulbs, an entire box of Grandma Frantom’s homemade ornaments, plus another whole box of random ornaments. There will be bubble lights and a felt red tree skirt. There will be three (unless I broke one- I don’t remember) little glass blue and white angel figures set out. Mom will add a few poinsetta leaves to the wreath above the fireplace. A small village of little ceramic houses with little lights will pop up near the encyclopedias, and a small lit row of garland will be draped somewhere in the living room. Bing Crosby and some orchestra…oh, don’t forget Burl Ives, will make themselves known from the stereo. Thus are the indicators of Christmas at my childhood home.
I’ve told you all that to tell you this. Growing up where the traditions are set and you are taught what happens at Christmas and how things go….is nice, and simple. As a kid, I didn’t have to DECIDE anything more important than WHERE the tree should go, or the ornaments on it. Being in a new house (yes, we’ve been here a year, but still) is WEIRD. I’ve been in apartments for so long where you just hung twinkle lights wherever you could and my little red jingle bell wreath doubled as a door chime most of the year. We have to make decisions! Traditions! Where DOES the tree go? What kind of decorations do we want? It’s not like the house came with a box of decorations and instructions on where to put everything and what looks best! I kind of wish it did. I guess this just exploits my general reluctance to make decorating decisions. For those of you who helped me plan the wedding, you know what I mean. I can help OTHER people make decisions, but for me it’s all about limiting options. If I decide on that figurine, or that vase….I can’t have that other one too…at least not for awhile. And what if I’m not really a figurine person, but I don’t know what else to put up somewhere. So, anyway, what I’m really trying to say is, does anyone else run across this difficulty with a new dwelling? And, for those of us who do….we should help each other decorate our houses/apartments. Not only does it relieve the decision making burden, but then there is a bit of all of us in each other’s homes. I can say, “My friend thought this piece would look great here, and she was right.” And since I know for a fact some of you are moving as we speak, this is a perfect time =) Talk to you all soon. =)

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  • Anonymous - OK I will be the first with a suggestion. You have a beautiful living room and I think the first holiday decoration should be an attractive wreath over your mantel. That’s my contribution to your decorating plan. Now if we could all come down within the next few weeks, I’m sure we’d have fun helping with ideas, but I guess you will have to have all the fun!!!! Love, Mm

  • Anonymous - You have a mantel? Well, why break with tradition, then? Put up the wreath, get some generic brass-looking taper holders, and put one carefully on each end of the mantel. Who can forget getting the poor, neglected red taper candles out of the hall “storage” closet each Christmas and putting the white ones away for the season? Dust the mantel only when it’s time to switch candle colors. : )

    Seriously, though, my poor, same genetic tendencies advice is to pick a theme or style that fits you and John (I repeat — AND JOHN) and go with it. It may change a little over the years but once you have it established it is easy to look in catalogs and stores and add slowly and deliberately.
    Love – H

  • Anonymous - This is what makes me a little nervous about moving. We finally got the house the way we want it in each room, and 6 months later, we’re moving out! Starting all over is a little daunting, but at least I have some starting places(i.e. furniture, accessories). Now I’m wondering, do I do basically the same thing as this house, or should I change it some? As for the holiday stuff, I had it kind of figured out here, but now again, starting all over–where will the stuff go? Especially since the house will probably be bigger. I’m a little worried about that extra space.

    One thing that worked for us was to work on a room a month until we got it how we liked it. That way we were only focused on that and the task wasn’t so overwhelming and it was easier to go to the store and look for something. Let me know if you come across any great ideas! –J

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