Enchanting Christmas Decor

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Decorating for the holidays is one of the great joys of the season.  Transforming your home into an even more enchanting version of itself adds to the details of Yule.

#1 Adding faux fur rugs and blankets creates a warm, cozy feel.

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Even if the children have moved out, or if you never had children, still hang the stockings.  One for each kid, or one for each dog, it matters not.  No nails or hearth?  Hang them from the curtain rod!

#2 Decorate as if your home were filled with children.  Your inner child will thank you.

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Oh yes, this year we have a fence around the tree!  You can get inexpensive, folding fencing at an agricultural store like Big R.  It keeps puppies and toddlers out, but the kitten is still in the tree!  This year we opted for a faux tree.  It is decked with ornaments from our travels and beautiful creations our children made.

#3 Choose a tree.  Faux trees are easier to put up, last many years, hold onto the ornaments better, are a little sturdier, and don’t die in a few weeks.  But I don’t know if they ever decompose.  Real trees are fun to pick out, make the home smell nice, create a woodsy feel, and can be used as firewood after the holidays.  But we always get one with a crooked trunk, have to tie it to the wall and since I love putting up a tree right after Thanksgiving, it does look pretty shabby by Christmas.

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#4 A wreath symbolizes unity and strength, family and wholeness.  It is the universal symbol of welcome.  Make sure you put one on the door!

#5 Greenery is one of the key ingredients to a festive home.  This stuff costs five dollars at the hardware store.  Once floofed and placed around it instantly becomes Victorian style decor.  The front porch with the ristras and my old grandfather clock look festive with their draping of faux swags.

The bar is set up in festive glow ready for visitors and guests.

#6 Tuck photographs of Christmases past into mirrors around the house.

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#7 Amaryllis bulbs tucked into potted plants burst forth with tropical Yule flair.

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#8 Scatter twinkly lights and tea candles everywhere.  Winter is ever lovelier with lights.  If it’s going to be dark at 4:30 the indoors ought to be inviting!

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#9 Have plenty of firewood on hand for chilly nights.  I do adore the glorious smell of wood smoke.

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#10 Make sure you get out and enjoy the holidays!  Go see the Christmas lights around town, go to the zoo and see their light show, have dinner by a roaring fire.  If you are in Pueblo make sure you see the Riverwalk, eat at The Place, see our darling zoo, and enjoy the beautiful weather.  And pop by to say hello!

Adding Spring to the Farmhouse

The trees are set in a frozen still life.  A myriad of icy white, snowy trees set against the landscape as if from a painting.  Fog rolls softy over the hills muting the land and soft flakes of snow dance dizzily to the ground.  Yet I know spring is arriving.  She peeks her head out then retreats from the cold.  But signs of her are gradually appearing.  The black birds have arrived.  The finches speak loudly as they work on their apartments, preparing their nurseries.  Babies are being born in the fields.  The egg basket is filling back up.  She is tip toeing back, welcome Spring, welcome.

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My farmhouse is darker right now because of the sun rising higher in the sky.  Soon, the plants will have to be moved to the porch to sunbathe.  The living room in all its warm winter colors now depresses me as I cannot get outside quite yet into the warm sun, but cannot stay in the confines of this dark house.  It is time to add spring to the farmhouse.

There are easy ways to add seasonal change to a house for spring.  Last fall we added soft, textured blankets, and candles everywhere.  Soon, it will be lighter longer and we won’t need so many candles, nor will we need the heavy woven Indian blankets.

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I just bought two chairs after Christmas off of Craigslist.  A quite nice western design which matches our southwestern décor.  Southwestern décor around here needs to be saved for when the mustards, deep reds, and browns shine…fall and winter.  Right now I crave large rose prints.  Laura Ashley style, small floral prints, spring colors.  It would be ridiculous for me to get back on Craigslist and find more furniture with these design parameters.

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Surefit.com provided the means to reupholster the chairs seasonally.  Two lovely floral prints arrived by mail.  They can be washed, stored, and displayed all as I see fit.  Quilts and vintage pillows of desired pattern cover the sofas.  New inexpensive cushions are added to the rocking chair making it green with a homemade pillow of small red flowers instead of the gold and red plaid it was.  Two old throw pillows hidden inside a large sham from our sheet set instantly transform the other rocker.  A tablecloth of lovely print covers the tile coffee table.  Flowers can be added to any room to instantly add garden life to spaces.  Unnecessary knick knacks and decorating pieces that match the southwestern décor take a vacation to either the thrift store or the garage.  Everything is spiffed up, cleaned up, and new photos added to the wall.

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Now the house is ready for spring.  It’s time to start seedlings.

Easy, Whimsical Christmas decorating

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Our favorite time of year is upon us.  Our family welcomes it with open arms and enjoys every minute of it.  Decorating and preparing a festive house is one of the joys of being a Farmgirl.

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When the kids were little, our house may have looked like the dollar store version of the North Pole blowing up.  We had every little tchotchke we could find with a Christmas motif, the walls covered in art projects from the children, faux greenery everywhere (not the pretty, expensive kind…more the spindly, cheap kind), and lights anywhere they would hang.  With Christmas music blaring all day, it was a respite from the outside world.  One that smelled like cookies and pine candles.

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Sometimes I wanted more grown up, sophisticated looking décor.  A couple with a large house hosted a party after the kids’ choir concert one year.  We oohed and ahhed as we entered the foyer to the house with huge vaulted ceilings, and an enormous faux tree.  I went and sat by the tree with my punch to admire the decorations.  The tree had been decorated by a professional, our host told me.  Each ornament was exactly alike and in perfect symmetry to the next.  There was one child’s ornament tucked out of sight in the back.  It was dreadful.  I appreciated our current decorating style a bit more.

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Our tree is covered in funky ornaments the children made over the years.  Doug and I purchase an ornament everywhere we travel.  Our tree is covered in memories of the Caribbean, Taos, and Glenwood Springs.  Each of us have ornaments with our names on them.  We have ornaments for the kitties that all passed away at the same time one year.  We have ornaments from friends.  I still have my ornaments from when I was a child.  When Doug and I were married, being Jewish, he obviously had never celebrated Christmas, never cast his eyes on a tall, lit tree with childlike wonder, never hung an ornament on the tree.  Never had an ornament!  I had to catch him up, so for several years he received an ornament.  He has plenty of his own now.  This year Maryjane received her first ornament to put on the tree.

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One good thing about closing our shop is that I now have two Christmas trees.  There are no laws saying you may only have one tree.  I wonder if I could fit a third…

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Most of the trinkets and small items were given away over the years.  The house resembles more Pottery Barn meets a farm then the blown up version of the North Pole.  But it still isn’t pristine or perfect (why is that cat on the table?).  We have baby items everywhere, last night’s coffee cups on the coffee table, and a few dishes undone.  A house should be livable, comfortable.  But, it is easy to create a beautiful landscape within your home with only a few touches.  Beautiful garlands laid over antiques, the television armoire, the bookcase, makes furniture instantly festive while keeping a stylish appearance.  Place a wreath in the center of the table and put a candle in the middle.  Red or white candles scattered around the house create the perfect ambience to counteract the earlier dusk outdoors.

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A wreath on the door to greet visitors is a must!  The one thing you can do to create holiday cheer.

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A holiday collection is fun to behold and bring out around the holidays.  A grouping of old Santas, or sleighs, or even photographs are fun to look at.  I always wanted to collect these Christmas houses, but they are a bit pricey.  Once Doug and I figured out that if we had collected even one a year, we would have had a nice display by now, so we began purchasing one a year.  Our piano is now full and overflowing onto other pieces, so we didn’t get one this year.  Our tiny village is complete for now.

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Little woodland creatures peek around greenery.  Owls, and reindeer, polar bears, and squirrels quietly make known their presence.

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A bit of whimsy is always in order and our collection of wooden animals don their best during this season.  This is Juniper.  My first bear that Doug gave me for Christmas many years ago.

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A Nativity scene is fun for the kids to rearrange (ours is a bear nativity), a countdown calendar to know when Santa is coming, and pine candles complete the festive air.  Even though the kids are older, they still love the season, and I intend for Grammie and Papa’s house to always be a stress free and magical place to visit.

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Other ideas:

Poinsettias or amaryllises (my poinsettia lives year round in the south facing kitchen window)

Decorate a tree in the yard with inexpensive ornaments

Keep cookies in the cookie jar

Christmas inspired throw pillows and finger tip towels

Wrap a fake present or just put a real present on bedside table or coffee table

As always, lots of candles and oil lamps!