I grew up with a Mom who was WAY into decorating for the holidays. Because of this, I had two favorite days of the year. One was the day she took me school shopping, because it was a whole day alone with her, she spent money on me, and took me out to lunch. The second was the day every year in early December when I would get home from school and smell the cookies before I made it to the door, hear the Christmas music before walking inside, and step in to a winter wonderland full of white lights and garland. This tradition brought me so much excitement and comfort – it meant Santa was just around the corner, and that I was home.

Somehow, I didn’t really grow up with the same love of decorating for the holidays as my mom. I get all scrooge-y and compare it to making my bed everyday. What’s the point when I am just going to mess it up that night? What’s the point when I am only decorating for a few weeks? But … I rally every year, in part to give my children the same memories that I had, and in part because my scrooge-y heart melts a little bit after everything is in place and the lights are sparkling on the tree.

Over the years I have gone through different phases in decorating, and right now I am all about incorporating the holiday into my existing decorations and keeping it SIMPLE. Pared down boxes of supplies, etc. For example, I love Christmas trees and Santa, so I tend to collect them and place them all over the house. I admit I felt very clever when I realized I could trail my fabric trees (handmade by a friend) up the stairs. I saw the yarn pom pom garland at Anthropology, picked it up, in love, and then immediately put it back down, in disgust, when I saw it was $36. UMMMM, NO. I looked at my daughter and said, “We can so make these, for like, five bucks.” And so we bought the supplies and I did just that. Now we have some snowballs even though its 60-70 degrees.

When I got everything out this time, I realized I had several holiday-ish art pieces and so I swapped out the regular art above our couch for some that were Christmas themed. I moved stuff into positions they would naturally fit into, so no new nail holes. The Santa was made by my almost 16 year old son in second grade, and the large paint by number and red metal tray were found at a thrift store. I adore that little ‘jingle & mingle” print – found that at a lifelong favorite boutique in downtown Riverside. I get excited about things like this, because it means I have an agenda while treasure hunting, and there’s nothing like finding something on your master “what I am looking for” thrift list. (Also currently on that list: a 70’s belted cardigan and any type-a muumuu I can find.) I look forward to finding more art to fit the space over the years. How fun to eventually swap every item out for something Christmassy?


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  1. No comments??? Has commenting on a blog about a post become totally passe????

    I’ve replaced all our wall decor at Christmas for years now. We used to replace the regular array of old product tins and baskets that resided on top of our kitchen cabinets with Christmas tins and baskets…. all are now in a landfill, alas. Kitchen grime and ‘dust’ collected over the years; my texture issues couldn’t handle the thought of cleaning.

    It seems like I leave something else out year-round each year: a metal tree with a half dozen special ornaments; a rusted iron tree with 48 hooks which has held clear balls for too many years; a gorgeous oversized poinsettia I successfully got from a retail store after sufficient begging lives on top of my china cabinet… last year two bears evaded the boxes and hung out in the living room. I wonder what this year’s escapee will be.

  2. I am in a limbo as well with decorating for the holidays. My four kids are all under 6 so my house looks like it’s been ransacked and I just feel exhausted even considering adding Christmas clutter to the mix… plus, I’m busy getting orders done for clients so we pretty much don’t even start the celebration until the 20th. I keep things simple and light while trying to keep the excitement alive for the little ones.

  3. Clever with the trees! Yep, every year I swear I’ll put it all up Thanksgiving weekend, and then I lose my mojo before I even start. And then I scramble to get it done just before Christmas. And Eric wants it down practically the day after. Ugh.

  4. Tara – **Love, love, love** all these photos. I dug out my cannon rebel after I read that post when you made it. I bet the roll of film in there is still there. I never make it to the developer. The DSLR my husband gave me was probably the best-gift-ever.
    I do have a question: do you post fotos from your DSLR on instagram? Do you have a favorite app/method to do that?

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