Thursday, December 13, 2012

Decking the house, but skipping the halls...

Usually, Christmas decorating is a mid December activity for me.
I think it is a lovely tradition to have Advent, then Christmas Day, and then Christmastide.
Christmas for me ends January 6, at Epiphany, so my tree and decorations stay up for Christmas in full.
This year...well...I needed a bit of early cheer so I glitzed up the house early.
        It helped that I had an eager helper at the ready too.

I hear some folks put manger scenes beneath their Christmas trees.
Around my house we have a "Lion of Judah" replica posed to remind us of Jesus and one of His more fierce name.

I own enough Christmas decorations that I can deck every inch of hallway, bedrooms, kitchen, baths, family rooms, dining rooms, breakfast room, library rooms...and on several occasions I have done exactly that.
This year...I was content to just put a few golden touches in our living and dining area.
Lighted real cedar garland over the mantle and the sliding doors in the dining area gives the space a rich aroma.

I switched out my autumn colors photo over the mantle to a snowy scene I took at Red Butte garden a few years ago.

I like how while most of the scene is frozen, still the water flows on.
Kind of like Living Water...

The view from the front door.

The Christmas frog who makes me laugh each year.
He croaks out Jingle Bells and We Wish You a Merry Christmas if one presses his palm.
It has gone with me to work lots of years.
This year his job is just to sit on the sofa and croak there.

This year the tree is done up in gold with touches of silver, copper and chocolate brown.
Lots of the ornaments have something to do with our wedding, which occurred a week before Christmas.


And a few other memory pieces like an orange-y gold ball that celebrates my Alma Mater.
(And YES! The Beavers will be in a bowl game this year!)

A gift from our daughter last year...
She ever so thoughtfully had Luke's ultrasound made into a Christmas ornament for me.

This dove graced the white themed Christmas wreath that hung on my parents front door as I approached my wedding day.

After the conclusion of our marriage ceremony, we recessed to "Joy to the World".
A lot of my ornaments reflect the title of our special song.

Some day I will own a beautiful German carved creche that has belonged to my parents for years.
For now I am satisfied with this abbreviated manger scene, a music box that plays Silent Night.

Inside next to our front door is this hanging that was created years ago by my sister-in-law Shari.
I like having it near the door to remind us of the meaning of this season as we go in and out.

Two Pimpernel cork backed coasters (love those things!) with leaping deer, and a sweet flower arrangement from a dear friend completes this year's living room decorations.
(I have been quite surprised at how much I am enjoying the brown furniture upholstery, and how cozy it feels in the room both in daylight and by lamplight.)

(A "before" picture, Christmas 2009.  Hard to believe it is the same room! Any comments about which one you prefer?)
It is interesting to me to see a long ago blog post where I was trying to decide how I would "do" my new Salt Lake house; in it I mentioned I had planned on using the brown upholstery option.  Turned out I went with green, and while I liked it, I never felt truly cozy with it.  I wanted modern and bright, but in the end was forced to go with brown; it feels so much better to me somehow. 
Perhaps an example of free choice, and how God can still bring one around to the right choice in the end?

My dining table is only semi set right now.
Just set enough to prevent us from dumping paper piles and "figure it out later" junk as we tend to do on empty tables.
The plant basket was sent to us by Bernie's company in condolence on our loss of Bernie's mom.

The fun part of having sliding doors in the dining area is how all lights reflect back into the room at night.
(The view out in the daytime ain't bad either...)
Such a different room than we had last Christmas, when I was sick and Bernie decorated by putting a tree out on the deck!
Viva la difference!

We had an opportunity to decorate another Christmas tree this year too.
Our son and daughter in law took their baby boy out into the forest and cut down their own tree out in the deep snow.
Baby Luke got to see his last year's ornament, a felted letter "L", celebrating that he was on the way!

Seven months old.
First tree!

Their tree was so unusual and sculptural being harvested wild from the forest (with permits, of course!)
A lively and interesting change from the heavily tended cone shaped trees that are so typically used these days.
 So with the house decorated as much as I cared to decorate this year, I found myself able to take advantage of all that Salt Lake City has to offer during this holiday season.
EVERY day there is a free concert, cultural event, program or exhibit.
Some days there are two or three.
My goal this year (after missing out mostly on every thing fun last year) has been to get out and enjoy what my city has to offer.
My next post...will take you along on all the adventures!