Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas Decorating at My Home

Each year the Friday after Thanksgiving is my Christmas decorating day.  I can't imagine getting up at the crack of dawn (or earlier) to go shopping - how uncivilized.  Instead, I lovingly unwrap all my holidays decorations and start to prepare my house for Christmas.  Below are a few of my collections that I wanted to share with you and tips for creating holiday happiness in your home.  Tomorrow I will share several place settings and party ideas to get you in the holiday spirit!

My Byers Carolers Collection

My Nutcracker collection and a big lantern that was decoration on the fireplace mantel when I chaired Mistletoe Ball.  Of course, there is also a bowl of candy!

My Fontanini Creche Collection.  The painting behind it was recently given to me from the Hermitage board after chairing the Artful Lobster for the third time.

A close-up of the creche.  This is the only one of my collections where I would still like to add some pieces.

A holiday tablescape

My Majolica collection.  On the two glass shelves is pine greenery.   I try to put a little touch of Christmas on everything!

A holiday tablescape

Sconces dressed for Christmas

My Santa collection.  The two lanterns on each side are from the Mistletoe Ball I chaired. They were the table centerpieces.

A close-up of the Santas - many which were made by my late mother-in-law.

A close-up of the greenery on the chest where I normally have my Dept. 56 Christmas in the City collection.  After being sick for over a week, I just can't quite get rested yet.  It just seemed like too much effort this year to pull it all out and set it up.  This was much easier and I have already forgiven myself for not making the effort to set it up.  I'll show it to you next year, okay?

A few tips for decorating....

1.  I put wreaths on every door to the outside that I have.  I also have two large (around 4 ft. tall) nutcrackers on either side of my front door.  Of course, it just wouldn't be Christmas without hanging up outside lights.  In the house I like white lights, but outside I like the multi-colored lights.  I think my husband thinks it is a colossal pain to hang lights, but he does it anyway.  I think that is the number one decorating thing that makes my Christmas.  I also put a holiday doormat at each door.
2.  I try to change my answering machine message to include a holiday greeting.  You would be surprised how many callers actually comment on it.  This year I have a new phone system, so I need to read up on how to change my outgoing message, which isn't as easy as it used to be!
3.  As you can see, I like to have many bowls of candy sitting on several tabletops so it is easy for visitors to take a few pieces.  It just seems like a very friendly gesture.
4.  I put out holiday towels in every bathroom and the kitchen and change the soap dispensers to holiday ones. 
5.  I put greenery on every chandelier and sconce in my house and tie a ribbon on each arm.
6.  I like to have lots of fresh Christmas plants around - poinsettias, Christmas cactus, paper whites, rosemary topiaries. 
7.  Each day I like to play lots of Christmas music, light candles all over the house, and make sure I use my holiday dishes, of which I have three sets!  Two casual and one fancy.  You'll see those in my post tomorrow.
8.  I used to do three trees, all with a different theme, but in the last few years, I have cut back to just the main one in the living room.  I change it every few years.  This year I have lots of big magnolias on it with red, gold, and white balls.  I like lots of "things" sticking out of it like red berry branches, gold curly-ques and pearl branches.  Also, tons of plaid bows to match the one on the sconces.  No matter what, we always have an angel at the top.
9.  I hang a large pine garland in the family room for Christmas card display.  Years ago I spray-painted clothespins with gold paint and that's how I attach the cards to the garland. 
10.  Last, but not least, I iron all my Christmas table linens and polish all my silver so I am ready at the drop of a Santa hat to set a pretty holiday table!

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