Thursday, 19 December 2013

Christmas: decorating

Christmas tree in it's stand.
I love decorating for Christmas. But it is surprisingly hard work! As J loves to have a large, real tree it inevitably requires some kind of reorganising of our living room. I love that Christmas trees are wrapped nowadays, so much easier to deal with in the car and for dragging through the house than it used to be.

Isn't it handsome? I like it best this way.
As we don't have carpets I don't need to worry about the needles dropping. But we always chop a slice off the bottom and soak it in a bucket for a few days before the tree comes into the house. I also water it whilst it is within the stand but this year there is very little room.
First layer, lights and lace
Much to my sons disgust I will not let them help with the Christmas lights. I am a bit of a perfectionist about these things plus I don't want them broken. Well actually I do as they are not really bright enough but never mind, I am not going to deliberately break them. I will probably still be hating them in twenty years time!

Despite this being a very pretty tree it was a real pain to try to drape anything from. As you can see we don't use tinsel on the tree, it just doesn't look right in this house. A couple of years ago we used a holly tree and I was inspired to pull out my ribbon bag to help decorate it. The ribbon was a bit boring but I loved the look of lace so have built up my collection. It is only cheap nylon lace (3 lots of 3 metre strips for £1, better value than tinsel) but looks really effective. I was intrigued to see that Stourhead have used a similar idea on the entrance hall Christmas tree that they have put up in the house though being on a grander scale they didn't use lace.

Nearly finished tree
Now the tree was ready for the boys to attack. I tend to stand back and try to hide my wincing due to the unbalanced arrangement of the ornaments. I have come to accept that this is their time, I've had my turn. Many of ornaments have been handmade over the years, most of the baubles have been embellished too. We also tend to have quite a few sweets on too. In previous years we have used a box of quality street to decorate the tree by sewing simple loops of cotton through the sweets. This year it seems to be candy canes all the way.
Cosy living room
 With the tree decorated and furniture returned we start casting our eye over the rest of the room.

Do you remember the music alcove from the other day? It has already changed, I have had to move our computer desk there now that the tree has taken over the other corner. Hanging over it are some laminated snowflakes made from A4 white paper. These are now three years old and are still going strong, just hung by cotton attached to the ceiling with a small blob of white tack. Definitely a decoration I would recommend, they look fabulous in the evening with their shadows dancing behind.
I love bunting and have plans to make some on a Christmas theme. But as they are not yet completed I have instead put up a swathe of ivy above the wood burner. The ivy is not hanging from the lights, I have used white tack to attach it to the walls (I love white tack, I was converted to this stuff in my last house where we couldn't get any pins into the ceiling). This has created a wonderfully elegant look that I wish I could take the credit for..

More ivy
Ivy is my favourite decorating item for December. It is draped all over the place and will look good for weeks. I collect a huge pile of it from a tree in the garden and get draping. Most of the pieces will ultimately get rejected onto the compost heap but what is left looks great. We do also have holly in the garden but it is far more rigid so tends to only get used with a very light touch.

And that is our decorating complete. We don't have that many decorations now as all of the glittery tinsel stuff has been passed onto family. We also cannot drape chains across the rooms as the ceilings are too low and J is too tall. But it still feels wonderfully Christmassy and suits our home well.
for something different try a holly, Christmas 2010

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