Every year I seem to struggle over how much (or how little) to decorate for Christmas. For the first few years living here in this old house, I wanted Christmas in every room. Glenn would put up two larger trees that we decorated together, and I'd put up three smaller ones, which I decorated with vintage kitchen items and handmade ornaments. I'd also unpack Hallmark Keepsake ornaments and other adornments I'd collected through the years and place them on the trees and around the house. It looked so festive when I hosted the family gatherings, but it was a lot of work. It wasn't that I didn't like doing it, but it was very time consuming and I'd never enjoyed the process of "un-decorating".
This year, I didn't want to tackle the "Christmas closet", as I'd already done that once, while I was searching for something I wanted to have in the cabin during the home show. I put back everything because I didn't want boxes and totes full of decorations left all over the place, in case some of my visitors might want to come inside the house. After the show, I suggested to Glenn that we put up the tree that was the easiest to reach, add lights and vintage Shiny Brite ornaments, which I store in easily accessed old suitcases, and then we could enjoy the tree decorating instead of dreading it. One should never dread putting up a Christmas tree. So that's what we did. I did not dig into the closet to look for all those old boxed Hallmark ornaments we have, nor did I pull out the figurines or the quilted table runners, the fabric tree skirt, or even the old stockings I'd made years ago. I found a few cherished pieces and displayed them in the family room, along with fragrant candles that have cinnamon and pine aromas. I added a string of white lights to the ceramic houses which are in alignment on the mantle and placed some pinecones, greenery, and a handmade primitive bear in the dough bowl on the dining room table. I filled a round wooden bowl with a scented candle and the vintage ornaments that didn't make it to the tree, and took an old red and white quilt from the sunroom and used it for a tree skirt.
There are times I love to have every room in the house filled with holiday decorations but this year I'm perfectly content with a scaled-down version of Christmas. It wasn't stressful this year to put up a tree and add lights and ornaments to it. We even added lights to the outside of the house, but just along the fence, on the side porch, and around the railing of the deck - nothing elaborate, but still festive-looking. In fact, I can see the deck lights from my bedroom and it's fun to look at them as I drift off to sleep.
My niece, her 4-year-old daughter, and I had a cookie baking session last Sunday and what fun that was. We listened to Christmas music while we baked and enjoyed the lights from the mantle, the tree, and the candles. We stored the cookies in tins and my niece shared them with all of us who attended her daughter's birthday party tonight.
I'm happy for a less stressful holiday season and my house still looks like Christmas even without
some of the old traditional decorations I always thought I had to use. I've been finding Christmas in simple things like cookie baking with family members, colorful lights and ornaments from times past, and Christmas music that lifts my spirit. I've been more focused on what the spirit of Christmas actually means, instead of worrying about which decorations go in what spaces.
I wish everyone a Joyous and stress-free Holiday Season.