Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Greenery Greetings

I love to decorate for Christmas.

But I prefer to do it very slowly. 

The halls of most American yuletide-loving homes are fully decked by the close of Thanksgiving weekend, but that's when I'm just beginning my process. Armed with bits of paper, tree branches, fishing line, assorted garlands, and twinkle lights, I expect to spread the job out over the next few weeks.

Here, in day-to-day installments, is the story of how my house is getting ready for Christmas.

* * * * *

Of course, I adore the look of fresh greens at Christmas time.

What could be more traditionally festive than boughs of holly, cedar, ivy and spruce, 

draped across mantels, 
swooped over windows, 
trailing up the banister and 
wrapped over the doorways? 

Evergreen trimmings are a gorgeous, classic, natural holiday convention and my heart beats fast at the thought of them.

However, a few years back, during a post-holiday clean-up, I vacuumed up perhaps the sixteen billionth dried evergreen needle of my life, and I reached my breaking point.

I'll gladly clean up after a live tree. But no more evergreen trimmings in the house. 

Instead, I hang the little darlings outside.

^ Welcome to my home. Don't mind that the swag is a bit wonky, hanging considerably longer on the right side of the door frame than the left. That just shows that we embrace imperfection. 

^ Living plants are such a festive sight at Christmastime. I planted these winterberries in my made-in-Malaysia pots to flank the front step and provide a tiny splash of good cheer. 

^ A red candle lantern, a scented pine cone, and a big fat cactus mix in among the greens to add some variety to the sights, smells, and textures.

^ Not gonna lie, I love the way the sassy cedar tips are a dead match to the color of my front door. I didn't plan it that way, but I sure enjoy the play of feathery organic branches against the strict geometry of the door panels, in almost identical shades of green.

^ Mostly, I enjoy the total effect of all these living things - the evergreen boughs, the winterberries, my ordinary pot of ivy, and even the rebellious little cactus. They create a tapestry of holiday warmth and joy that fills my heart to last all season long. And best of all, nary a single dried needle will drop onto my floors. 

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