‘Tis the Season

As as long time hater of winter, the holidays, at least, give me something to look forward to. What better way to offset cold, dark-at-5pm days than the twinkle of Christmas lights? An advocate for experiencing one holiday at time, my typical tradition is to deck the halls the morning after Thanksgiving. This year, however, DJ and I skipped out on Thanksgiving to spend two weeks exploring New Zealand together. In lieu of turkey, we enjoyed slow baked lamb and potatoes overlooking the late spring mountains in Queenstown, where the sun stuck around until 9pm. Thus, this year, I didn’t get my decorating accomplished until the day after we returned – December 1st!

Some people deck their whole house out with holiday decor, but around here we pretty much stuck to sparkling up the living room.

Sitting on the couch is an atypical decor item — Mochi in a recovery cone! The day we returned from New Zealand, we found her winking at us with her left eye. A trip to the vet determined no cuts or visible damage, so she’s been on an eye gel-based antibiotic. She wasn’t showing improvement on it, so her vet switched us to another type in case she was allergic or had a sensitivity to the original stuff. Too soon to tell if it’s working, but she got a festive new cone out of the deal. Lucky kitty?

You may notice that our calathea plants are missing in the photo above. They, unfortunately, did not survive our time away from home. I do not blame our dedicated plant and cat sitters. I blame our HVAC system. Our (24 year old) HVAC system died just before we left on our trip, so our house has been without proper temperature control until this past Friday. We now have a brand new system installed, so our house is cozy once more. (Happy Christmas to us?)

Calatheas are tropical plants that thrive in 65-70° F temperatures and don’t do well below 55° F. Being the finicky plants that they are, I suspect they did not appreciate the sudden drop in ambient temperature and promptly gave up on life. So dramatic. I’ll replace them with something less needy in the future, but for now, the stick reindeer and mini Christmas tree are filling their vacated spaces valiantly.

This is our first Christmas cohabiting together, so I had to find a set of stockings for our new little family unit. I originally looked for mix and match stockings, but came up empty handed. After stumbling upon these green and white ones at World Market, I decided to go with matching stockings and individualize them using ornaments. I used a beaded snowflake from my existing collection on my own, and picked up the beaded tree for DJ’s along with the stockings. The little green stockings from Target are for the cats. I want to individualize those as well, but haven’t found the right solution yet. I like the uniformity of the base stockings, I think it feels much calmer and more suited to this space than mixed styles would have.

Two of our throw pillows were changed out for a snowflake and winter scene. Since they aren’t Christmas specific and blend seamlessly with our normal decor colors, they will likely stay out all season.

Technically, this candle holder is out year round and not a Christmas item, but I love it so much I wanted to share it anyway. I picked it up from a restaurant in Amsterdam a few years back. They were on the tables and so charming that I asked the waiter about them. Turns out they actually stocked and sold them there! I love this little reminder of that incredible city and the soft glow it adds to the room during the holidays.

The Christmas tree is artificial and purchased from Lowes last year. It’s one of the more realistic trees I’ve seen, and even photographs in close-ups pretty well. It is mostly decked out in things I’ve collected slowly over the years. I won’t take time to highlight everything, but I have to make a few call outs to some special items hanging from the branches.

The blown glass airplane is one DJ and I got the year before last to represent and celebrate our relationship together. At the time, we were long distance and spending a lot of time flying back and forth between Oregon and California for long weekends together every 2-6 weeks. We thought this sweet little plane captured that time in our lives well.

We brought home three new ornaments from our time abroad. The glittery gold ball with New Zealand on it is to represent our trip. The glass leaf you see blurred beyond it is also from New Zealand, though mostly purchased because we thought it was just plain beautiful and I couldn’t resist it.

And the one below is to add to my snowflake collection. Every year I buy one snowflake to hang on my Christmas tree, so every one of them is unique. They don’t have to be from a special place or anything (though a bonus if it is!), it just needs to loosely fit the style of the others and I have to like it enough. It’s a yearly traditional hunt that starts for me as soon as ornaments start appearing in stores. I’d have to go count them to know for sure how many years I’ve been doing it, but I think it’s been since high school or at least since college. I’m sure someday I’ll run out of room on the tree, but that’s okay. I can always hang them in windows or hang a subset of them.

I hope you enjoyed this little peek at our holiday decor. Do you have any special ornaments or holiday traditions that you cherish? If so, we’d love to hear about them in the comments here or via social media. Stay merry!

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