The Spirit of Yuletide Décor

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, and most Joyous Yule, my dear friends.  Our household, throughout the year, tends to honor and celebrate the oldest of traditions and beliefs, long before organized religion and that feels beautiful and real to us.  We will be celebrating Yule, but since I was raised Christian and Doug was raised Jewish, we incorporate all sorts of lovely traditions into our house and celebrate with our families.  For all the celebrations are really the same, the celebration of light, love, and hope.

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Decorating for the holidays should be nothing short of fun!  Incorporating ideas, palettes, and items that bring joy are the basis for holiday décor.

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We have collected cute stockings for a long time.  The children took some of their stockings to their own homes.  We are one short this year with the arrival of Ayla Mae, so I will find an adorable one for her.  Santa is coming to Grammie and Pa’s house Christmas Eve!  (To my great delight!)  I hung the stockings with care from the curtain rods.

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This was the first tree top angel I bought when I was nineteen years old in my first home.  I, of course, chose the tallest tree I could fit in my house this year so angel sits in the window welcoming loved ones.  Find these beautiful candles for a buck and some in the religious aisle of your grocery store.  They have them without the pictures on them.  They burn for a long time and they add festivity and charm to the home.

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Incorporating things you love is easy.  This moose was one of two that Doug got me our first Christmas together.  Her head is falling off but way up on the bookshelf she has a safe place of importance.

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The tree is filled with ornaments of old and new.  Photo ornaments the children made in grade school and ones from my childhood.  Ones from Grandma’s tree and many from our travels.

Yuletide décor is in the details.  Use holiday china this time of year, even for lunch!  Put oil lamps in each room.  Light plenty of candles.  Place strings of garland and twinkly lights in each room (even the bathroom!)

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These sweet, little cloches hold seasonal treasures.  Bird’s nests and moss covered twigs, sprigs of pine and pinecones.

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We opted this year to just string lights around the front porch and set them on a timer.  I love my ristras (one day I will be in New Mexico) and I leave the chairs and tables set up all winter in case of a sunny day that can be spent on the porch.  Always add pieces of yourself in the décor.  A sterile scene from a store doesn’t create the spirit of life that your own personal touches can.

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Place tea candles on sand inside lunch bags and line your front walk.  Light an oil lamp on the front porch for visitors.  Make handmade gifts this year.  Spend time enjoying the season.  And make space in your heart for light, love, and hope.

Twenty Letters

I have always been entranced with the beauty and childlike wonder of this time of year.  I start getting excited in September.  Autumn is our favorite season.  We are coming down from our whirlwind of farmer’s markets, closing up the gardens, and can see the fruits of our labor lining the walls of the root cellar.  We can settle in and enjoy the crisp smell of the air, the wood smoke from the neighbor’s stove, and bask in a little down time.

We are so thankful for our granddaughter, Maryjane!
We are so thankful for our granddaughter, Maryjane!

November rolls around and I start nesting. We tend to repairs that need to be done on the farm, projects like the craft room, and preparing for Thanksgiving.

But what we are really preparing for is Christmas.  Our hands down favorite time of year.  I am enthralled with the lights and how they make the whole world twinkle.  The music, and how jolly the sounds are.  How children’s classics like “Frosty the Snowman” are followed seamlessly with Andrea Bocelli’s “Ave Maria”.  Andy Williams brings me back to childhood records, and Bing Crosby will always be associated with my husband.  We love and watch Bing’s classic holiday movies and mimic him respectfully by singing his songs in our best smooth, deep voice followed by laughter.

Grammie needs to talk to Santa too!
Grammie needs to talk to Santa too!

The commercialism hasn’t bothered us as we have no desire to buy a million presents and we don’t need to receive a lot of things that take up space or that I have to dust.  Heaven forbid!  But useful things are adored.  Homesteading items, handmade items, things from the heart.  My favorite gifts are things that Kat gives me that were her grandmother’s.  Precious embroidered linens and aprons.  Nothing big.

So this year, we have arranged with most of our friends and family that we are giving all homemade or second hand gifts.  We hope to get a little of the red wine vinegar Rodney has been brewing this year, or something that Rod Sr. has carved, or some delicious Apple Butter from Aunt Jenny.

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We love Christmas because of the closeness that ensues.  We have dinners and try to show our affection throughout the year to our friends and family, but Christmas allows us to show how truly thankful we are for these people in our lives.  And no matter what one’s religious background is, it is a time of love and light and beauty, which makes this a magical time of year.

I also have a great love for Santa.  I love Doug’s beard.  Our daughters have turned it a little white over the years, hopefully it will turn completely white and we can have reindeer here at the farm and he can be the real Santa to the grandkids….oops, carried away.

Future farm animal?
Future farm animal?

Back to the thankfulness for friends and family.  We are giving simple gifts this year but on top of that I wanted to give something else.  A letter.  I want my closest folks to know what it is that draws me to them, how much they mean to me, and how thankful I am for them.  Twenty letters.

Starting at Doug’s family’s Hanukkah celebration December 1st through Christmas dinner at our house December 25th I will give those I love a heartfelt letter.

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I do hope that while writing Christmas cards, or sending gifts, or lighting the Menorah, that you make sure to let those around you know just what they mean to you.  Life and time are so finite, so quick, that there is no better time than now to express those things that linger in your heart.  And no better time than the magic of the holiday season.