This time every year I start feeling the pressure of getting everything done on time. It's very much like preparing a big meal for a family gathering. Everything needs to be coordinated so each aspect of the meal can be presented at the right time and temperature.
I still have a little bit of decorating to finish, though my Christmas trees are up and (mostly) decorated. I decided to forego putting up my whole collection of lighted ceramic houses. I'm planning to choose 3 or 4 that hold special meanings, then let the rest go. It won't be easy but I truly need to purge my decorations and keep only the things I love and use.
Perhaps I need to take some lessons from my daughter. She has downsized her decorating a bit this year by choosing a smaller tree - one that is pre-lit. Daughter has worked in retail for large departments stores and loved helping with the displays of seasonal decorations. She learned how to wrap strands of lights around each individual branch on a tree, and did that for her own Christmas trees for many years. She decided to not take the time to do that this year. It generally takes two days to complete the lights, and her tree always looks gorgeous, but she says she could be doing other things in those two days. She has three ceramic lighted houses displayed on a side table, a few yummy smelling holiday candles, and her pretty RED pre-lit tree. Though I love all things vintage and like having "stuff" around me at holiday time, I do love the simplicity of my daughter's décor.
This year, I put my tall primitive tree in my gathering room, which doubles as my "shop" when I host home shows. I held back some of my own handmade ornaments from the home shows and decorated the prim tree with those. I also put old toys under and around the tree and I'm having fun playing with the displays. My red tabletop vintage tree is in my dining room with red and white potholder dresses and old play utensils displayed on it. I took the primitive brown tree from the gathering room and set it in the guest room. My "shop" remains set up for Christmas and I can't wait for my nieces and nephews to come and see all the old toys and decorations. I'm planning to hide little treats around the tree so they can find them and be surprised.
One of my favorite treasures this year is a Little Chef toy stove very much like the one I had as a child. I felt very lucky to find it at a vintage/antique shop. It's under my tree along with Raggedy Ann and Andy, and a sock monkey I made for my mother for her Christmas birthday some years ago. Next to the tree, my old childhood panda bear sits in a vintage suitcase along with handmade wool bears, an old book (The Three Christmas Eves), a few small patchwork stars and a larger star made from a time-worn quilt. All in all, I like how things have turned out, though I had no real plan.
If I can complete gift wrapping this weekend and put the final touches on decorating, I'll be ready to plan the Christmas Day meal and bake some of my favorite Christmas cookies. I'll post some recipes soon.