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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Decorating at the Dapper and Dreamy House

The Dapper and Dreamy tree...  Big lights,
little lights, lots of ornaments, very little
For some reason, Christmas has taken a little time so settle on the Dapper and Dreamy house.  At the same time, it seems that the big day is approaching faster than ever!  With barely ten days to go, I have at least a month's worth or preparations that could be made.  As usual, all the important things will get done just in time and I'll commit to starting extra early next year.

At long last, all the decorations are up and the house is filled with the smell of our freshly cut fir.  That's lucky, because usually I don't notice the tree's scent until sometime in January...  when it's so dry it's more like potpourri than anything living.

So, what is the Dapper and Dreamy tree like, anyway?  It's very much a family tree.  We've decorated trees in many ways over the years - themed trees, trees with a limited color scheme, trees with no theme at all.  One of my favorites was put up last year - a small tabletop tree, a Noble fir, I think, decorated with vintage lights (well, vintage looking) and only my old collection of Shiny Brite ornaments.  It was simple, it was colorful and it lasted forever.

We've sort of built on that idea this year.  After tramping around for an hour at a local tree farm, we finally settled on a seven foot Noble fir.  We looked at hundreds of trees!  They were either perfect, but too large...  Perfect, but too fat...  Perfect, but too short...  You get the idea.  By the time we finally found one that we could all agree on, we were absolutely frozen and willing to take just about any tree!  Once home, we realized that we could have picked that much taller tree after all...  Oh well, next year!

Close up of all the colors, and the big lights with
their star-shaped reflectors.

The Dapper and Dreamy tree is about color and patina and fun.  It's also about memories - old memories and what will one day become memories.  Each year we pull out the seemingly endless boxes or ornaments, wreaths and odds and ends and transform the house in our own way.  The ornaments on the tree are a definite mix of sentimental, nostalgic and simply pretty.  In our family, for as long as I can remember, we were given a new ornament each year.  We've continued that practice which means that we often have between ten and twenty new hangers each year, when my mother decides to revive the old practice.  That's a lot of ornaments!  Everyone has a sort of theme - I am generally pine cones, Santas or castles.  Melissa's is usually something musical or perhaps a sparkly fruit...  Victoria gets angels or cupcakes or maybe ice cream cones...  You can see the pattern.  But we also love finding "new" old ornaments!  I have a particular affection for Shiny Brite ornaments.  Even the plain ones come in such lovely colors.  (I'll write more about Shiny Brites soon...)  We also pick up vintage ornaments wherever we find them - tag and estate sales, thrift stores and, if they are really something special, antique stores.  There are also a few that have survived the passage of time and once hung on my mother and father's tree when they were children.  There's the construction paper bell my mother made in grade school, and the tiny, sparkly, glittered sugar plum that was my dad's.  This is one of the best things about decorating the tree...  As you pull out each little bauble, there's a memory or a story attached.  Maybe it's something very specific about the piece or the person who gave it, or perhaps it's something more general like remembering the Christmas that you bought that box of sparklers.  It's also delightful to hear the children share their reminisces when they unwrap the old newspaper that's reused each and every year.  It's good to hear their happy memories.

Some old, slightly weathered Shiny Brites...  Very cozy.

Of course, there's more than just the tree to consider.  There is the nativity set, a copy of one just like my grandmother once had.  Our collection of Santa's that fill our breakfront - old and new, made of ceramic, wax and even pipecleaners!  Endless books that fill tables and shelves, stories waiting to be read again as they are each Christmas.

A cozy room to read in, transformed for the winter with
red curtains and pillows.

The breakfront filled with a collection of
If you can take a breath and enjoy the spectacle for just a moment, what a marvelous time of year this is.  The sparkling lights, the warm smells, the bright colors and giddy anticipation.  The special foods and drinks reserved for the season, the cheering music...  It's a time apart, a time like no other.  If you can look past all of the stress and the mad rush, which can also be rather fun, you'll notice that Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year!

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