So - if you are new here, the first thing you need to know is that our rental house is pink. I mean really pink. Pepto Bismol Barbie Pink. The second thing is tht I don't have a camera. Or an iphone. I have a blackberry, which I love b/c MM (my Amazing Semi-New Husband (married last year)) and I can message each other for free. We still send smoochy love notes with hearts and kisses and googly eyed emoticons, and no iphone can compare.
OK. So. Here's the front of the house.
See? Totally pink.
Now, don't let the garland fool you. There are no lights in there. We are the Anti-Griswolds. Here is our light display from last year.
So very sad.
Each day another hook would fall down, and by the end of the season, the lights were piled up in a ball beneath the coffee table.
When we hung them up, we spent a few minutes in our front yard laughing. Our neighbors (who had a lovely display (which they left up all year, but we didn't care, because it really was lovely*)) came out. The wife tried to compliment us, but the husband went for honest, "Well. Now, that's rather pathetic, isn't it?" (Imagine that sentence in a British accent. Very cool to be insulted with a British accent.)
We don't have British neighbors to insult us anymore** so we thought we'd put in a bit more effort this year, but we still weren't up for installing lights. (And really, you can see our house from space anyway, so who needs 'em.)
Also, notice how there are no decorations on the garlands. The plan was to decorate in blue and silver to match the wreath, but this side of town has been so windy the last few weeks that I was afraid the fancy doodads would fall off. So I left them empty. But as the wind blows leaves around, they get stuck in the garland. It's nature's decoration.
The first actual decorative thing you'll see is our wreath.
We chose blue as our Advent color, so I used blue glass ornaments and ribbon and silver jingle bells. And fake holly. In honor of the fake holly my mom would display every year in a plastic santa boot. That stuff was 20 years old when I was born, and she kind of hated it, but us kids would insist that the ratty old' holly be installed every year.
I put, like 12 big bells on this sucker, and I was hoping that the door would jingle as we went in and out. Alas, no jingle for us. (The neighbors were not kidding when they kept saying, "It's a quiet neighborhood."
When you walk in the door you see our fireplace.
Why they put the fireplace right in front of the door, I do not know. (The house is pink.) I'm super excited to have a fireplace no matter where it is, so who cares. We put a nativity on the mantle, and it was kind of depressing up there by itself, so I added white tealights and small pillars in mason jars and some Dollar Store garland (not like the fancy Big Lots Garland outside) to cheer things up a bit.
And, we still haven't gotten around to getting our wedding portrait printed and framed, so the wall above the creche needed something too. We printed and colored and glittered a bunch of the names of Jesus that appear in various parts of the Christmas story and taped them to the wall with painters tape. Sort of like stars. (MM pointed out that, despite our best efforts at random placement, we basically have 4 columns with the Root of Jesse escaping.)
Hung by the chimney with care are our original tiny stockings. (When we first became a couple, I lived in a tiny studio apartment with a gold, spray-painted radiator (that I nicknamed Goldie). I hung my stocking on the old phone above the radiator, and when we became a couple, I made MM a stocking, and hung his there too.)
Our first married Christmas we just kept using the tiny stockings and tiny tree I'd had in my old place.
(MM was so excited about the gift he'd gotten me, he forgot to get stocking stuffers.) (It was a beautiful gift.)
I have two classy, velvet, full-sized stockings we can use, but these ones are so sweet and sentimental, I can't give them up.
And, there's our tree.
Which - sigh - I'd wanted to have the tree decorating go well. (MM doesn't like decorating trees; I do; I want to make the process as painless and fun as possible for him and not push him, but still decorate together, etc. etc. Newlyweds!) He had a blast (it was exciting to drive to Target in the fog), but I got all stressed out because we had light issues.
I don't like twinkling/blinking/flashing lights inside. It's too distracting to me. In my mad dash to grab lights, I grabbed twinkling lights. Had to run to target to get non-twinkling lights. Came home and discovered that we had too much tree and not enough lights. Went back, came home, and discovered that one of our strands of non-twinkling lights had a white cord. Arrgh!
Eventually we sorted it all out. A non-blinking, multi-colored and blue, green-corded light fantastic. Phew.
We decorated the tree in stages, and put the last of the ornaments on Monday night. We didn't have a theme or a plan. We just put on ornaments if they made us happy. MM has some from his childhood and that I've given him or that someone gave us together. And I've got tons (that whole tree thing) reflecting my entire life as a kid and single gal. Our tree is not "gourmet" but every inch of it is covered in memories, and that feels right.
(Got this for MM our first Christmas together. He wants this paint job on his next guitar.)
Presiding over all this stuff is Henri the Christmas Goat.
We bought him the day we officially became a couple (we had to go to IKEA to get a vase for the roses MM had brought when he'd picked me up at the airport the night before - swoon.) We took him home and Christened him Henri (pronounced onry, as in "onry ol' cuss") Maynard Ronald George, and plopped him on the dining room table to act as chaperone during our early courtship. ;)
I'm Swedish, but I don't really get the whole goat thing. They build goats out of straw and set them on fire. Cuz nothing says happy birthday Jesus quite like flaming goats. (MM would like me to point out that flaming goats are very Metal.) (I think Flaming Goats would be a great band name.) Anyway - Henri's fun and reminds me of our first Christmas together.
(From our first Christmas with Henri)
If you look to the right (standing in front of the door, still) you'll see the living area half of the room. On the piano we have a tiny violin, a framed sketch of John the Baptist and Jesus as kids, and a tiny play-doh nativity that I made as a kid.
It's a bit crumbly, but still intact, and MM wanted to put it up.
If you look to the left you'll see the dining area half of the room. (The pink house is tiny!) Anyway. On the table, just a simple table runner in blue to go with our Advent colors.
And! And! I am so stoked about that star.
Dude! It is so easy to make. I actually found the first DIY link from Nester, and then later found a few more. I'd always assumed these things were some complicated origami, foldy, accordiany thing, but they totally aren't. I can do these! So far, I've done just the one, but next year...
And in lieu of a wreath, we put candles along the credenza. (We love fire so much that tapers are of no use to us.)
We made the cards (printing, coloring, gluing, and glittering) using the same font as the words above the mantle, so it looks all cohesive and stuff. That was our version of the "Making the Advent Wreath" craft that we did on the first Sunday of Advent.
And that's about it. We kept things simple this year, just sort of feeling it out as we went along.
Looking back through photos of the last three Christmases made me happy and thankful. So thanks for the opportunity to remember all the goodness the last few years have brought. Have fun on the rest of the tour. Hopefully, your other hostesses did not eat all the snacks.
* If they saw us sitting on our front porch at night reading books or drinking wine, they'd turn their lights on to give us "mood lighting."
** We actually really like these neighbors and miss them a bunch.