Christmas Decorating: Vision & Technique

Increasingly, my Christmas decorating plans begin with a different vision each year. Last year, the year we went to the UK on vacation, my vision for Christmas decorating was all about incorporating tartan and a few British customs and foods into our celebration. This year, my vision was "simple and magical" and started with a list of adjectives for the look I wanted to achieve:

- natural

- green

- simple

- sparkle

- light

Then I mentally started to break each element on my list of adjectives into the details:

Natural: fresh greens, pinecones, antlers, nuts, clementines, potted plants, Bosc pears.

Green: focus on fresh greens and follow a more natural color palette. Limit or eliminate red this year.

Simple: a reminder to edit, edit, edit. Less is more.

Sparkle: metals, mercury glass, glass.

Light: candles and more candles, Christmas lights, tiny battery-powered lights. More candles.

The happy news about this year's vision is that most of it could be obtained in the woods, the local nursery, and the grocery store. There's been the inevitable run to Target for more lights. Oh...and antique stores are essential for unique elements.

That's me, Saturday, in my element cutting greens from our own woods and kind of pinching myself that I can do this. For years, in California, I stared at the single palm tree on our property, and now I can go gather for Christmas with abandon in the woods! SO happy about that!

Christmas decorating is a lingering project around here. I have tubs and tubs of loose items that I paw through each year, picking and choosing just the right elements to fit this year's vision. That takes a while. And sometimes we pull it all together, stare at it for a few days, and then take it apart and redo it. Once it's all finished, I'll share photos with you. 

How about you? Do you stick with the same decorating each year, like a well-loved tradition? Or do you come up with a fresh vision each year?


  1. Just like you, we have tended toward a same but less guideline for our decorations always with emphasis upon fresh and natural. A few years back, however, Nora Murphy inspired an enhancement to our trimmings when she demonstrated how the tiniest of lights could be woven into fresh greens in a manner which was magical . . . so we went searching for these which were battery powered to weave into the wreath on our front door and through the garland which surrounded it. It wasn't easy to find these and now they are plentiful (cheaper, too). For years, perhaps as many as 20 or more, my husband has ordered two fat English boxwoods wreaths - one for each front window . . . so lovely to look at from within as well as outside the house. Alas, we just have learned of a blight in this area of Virginia which has put a halt to use of local boxwood this season. We will substitute and adjust, while sincerely missing this element of tradition. Your home will be lovely. Looking forward to a few glimpses.

    1. Yes! Those battery-powered lights are fabulous! We weave them into the garland that twines its way up our banister, and love the look...sparkle and magic, but not overpowering.
      Your boxwood wreaths sound lovely! I can just picture that. Our (semi-) local Trader Joe's had boxwood wreaths this year. Do you have one near you? That might be a possibility.
      We are definitely kindred spirits!

    2. I continue to check our local Trader Joe's with no luck. Perhaps the wreaths are sourced locally? Recently, Tessa Foley (Nine & Sixteen) spoke of finding a boxwood wreath but again that would be north in Ohio . .. so ??? this new challenge will push us to innovate.

    3. Aww. That's too bad. I thought with it being a national chain, you might be able to find one. (Love Tessa at Nine & Sixteen!)
      On the bright side, innovation is a good thing for our creativity! :-) I'm sure you're going to make it look fabulous!

  2. Two years ago, I started writing down at the end of Christmas what I liked and what I didn't like. I have been paring things down and find I really like the most cherished items that I have had for years. I haven't bought anything new other than lights and ribbon. I like tradtional and try not to look at too many others... just do me. I have the tree only up but have been so busy with other things that I will probably start this weekend on the rest of the house. I remember liking yours. I try to stay away from too many of the store bought items...

    1. That sounds lovely! And writing everything down is a great idea. I've been thinking that I need to do that with the Christmas-scented candle I keep on the kitchen island. Did we use it up last year? Did we not? It got packed away, so I'm never sure, and then I wind up buying one we don't need. Writing it down would definitely help. Good tip!
      Lights, ribbon, and mercury glass...those are the things I keep buying.

  3. My Christmas decorating style is similar each year, but I do like to change it up a little. The year that we moved to this house (after 35 years of decorating the same house) was the most challenging because it all felt new!

    I like the way you dream and organize and plan your Christmas decor. My own vision is more harem-scarem! :)


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