Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Inside the Entertaining House at Christmastime :: Our Slow + Simple Home

Our slow + simple Christmas began about 3 weeks ago as we went to find our perfect tree. I needed something not terribly tall, as I needed to be able to carry and set it up myself, along with the help of my 12 year old. Our new home is tiny and our living room, while quite roomy, seemed not to have the right spot for a tree, so last year we went without one for the first time ever, and our home seemed empty and sort of sad without one. So I was determined to get a tree into our home, somehow, this year. Above my older son Christopher held the tree while my daughter and I gave it the once over. That's that's my 12 year old next to a 6 ft tree. Yikes! (Alexander is my 8 year old tree hugger!)

This tree was the very first tree we looked at and it was perfect. It was absolutely perfect. Full, lush and magnificent. We stood in line while the tree got roped up and waited to be tossed onto our car. It was going to be a good Christmas... I just knew it was. We had the most perfectest tree! As I waited in the car line to get the tree placed on top, I posted a message onto my Facebook page which said simply, "Happiness is a Christmas tree on top your car!"

As we placed the tree into the stand we had to lop off a few branches. Actually my 12 year old, who now towers over me, was responsible for getting the tree up and standing. I was his aide. With the extra branch we had to lop off, I placed it into a large glass pitcher and found a home for it in front of my kitchen sink... I tossed on a few ornaments and suddenly I had something lovely and festive to look at while doing the dishes!

The tree found a home in the living with a magnificent view from the kitchen. There are two doorways from the living room into the kitchen I thought that blocking the one that hadn't much use would be OK temporarily. It turned out to be better than OK and now we can admire our little tree while we're eating or working at the kitchen table.

Someone's excited for Christmas! I crawled into bed late one night after calling it a day to find my youngest curled up and sound asleep in my bed! I hadn't the heart to move him!

Our ornaments are a true representation of our family and our history... some are delicate, some are handmade and many, such as the Madeline are nostalgic, and tug at my emotions this time of the year. The photo of the ornament directly above was handmade by one of my children. We made a bunch one year and attached them to simple name tags as place markers at the Christmas table. They were so easy to make. We took inexpensive glass balls into which we squirted some tempera paints - no more than 3 colors at once, and we gently shook them around so that all the glass was covered from the inside. We tied pretty bows to each ornament that was placed on the table. Child's play for sure, but with the elegance of a more sophisticated hand. 

I love candles. I find them soothing, peaceful and relaxing. There are always candles burning in my home. My favorite thing to do when I wake up in the morning, after I make my coffee, is to settle into the couch with a blanket and with the warm glow of a candle, or a few candles, around me. It's such a peaceful way to ease into the day.

My Christmas isn't all red and green! 

New and vintage bottles become the perfect vehicle for my candles. The deer (which my kids thought were chocolate and were terribly disappointed to learn they weren't!) were just a few dollars apiece from AC Moore. They were this year's purchase. I fell madly in love them ... they seemed so gentle. I had to dress them in their red to add to the festivity. Funny - I'm just seeing now I forgot to remove my glass of wine for the photo... Oh well, I guess you're seeing the real me!

Our stockings are hung by the chimney with care...

My gold and silver painted pine cones found a home on the mantel...

I'm off to start cooking and put the finishing touches on the things that need them!