Friday, December 19, 2008

Daily Kitties and Christmas Decor

Pixie was feeling festive, so she modeled with some Christmas throw pillows.

She then decided she's a diva and pretended to abhor the camera.

She gave me the idea to show some other pictures of decorations, though, so I thought I'd throw some on this post, since I missed all the holiday home tour carnivals and the like. (The carnivals are cool to look at though; I got some great ideas. Click on the links above or in the sidebar for views of other people's decorations.)

I also wanted to put pictures up so my aunt can see them, as she is unable to come down and visit for Christmas as she had originally intended. Get well soon, Ginny! We love you!

Here's the tree, which, after the Christmas-tree farm debacle, turned out really nice. We ended up getting it at Home Depot instead of the farm, and I actually like it a lot better than the types of trees the other place had.

The picture of it with its lights on is blurry, but trust me, it's soooo pretty when it's all lit up.

I also put a garland with lights on the banister, with a Merry Christmas sign and a Noel sign above the landing.

We don't have lights outside, but we do have a wreath. I just used a fake wreath I found at Joanne's Fabrics and added some cloth ornaments. I like the Welcome sign because, even though it's green and red, since it has hearts on it, I can leave it up until Valentine's Day. (Did you know they already have Valentines decorations in the stores???)

(Yup, that's a security door, 'cause we live in the 'hood. Okay, not really. But I think it's funny that all the other pictures in the tours show delicate front doors with small panes of glass or just one lock, not even a security bolt. They probably even leave them unlocked.)

Moving on...

The family room doesn't have too much decoration, just stockings hung by the chimney with care. The boys decorated their own this year. I'm thinking of putting my old ornaments from when I was a kid on the mantle to add a little more festive feel. (Not that the sets of swords don't add that warm, fuzzy feeling already...)

In the kitchen, we have some kitchen towels with Santa and a floor mat with Christmas trees (it's already filthy, thank you very much.) I put up a place mat above a shelf in the kitchen to add a little more decoration, and put a poinsettia and a wooden sculpture of Mary, Jesus and an angel below.

Then, I tried to get crafty. This is never a good thing. I was looking on the Nester's site and saw all these cool window-dressing creations, which she calls "window mistreatments." I got an idea to use some kitchen towels I had seen at the Dollar Tree that would I thought would make nice café curtains for the kitchen. The finished product doesn't look too bad, but I'm still not really happy with it. And, as always, it took me a lot longer to do than I thought, causing much frustration in the process.

I figure I can leave the blue and white towels up year round, and switch out the Peace towels with different ones for each season. BTW, Ralph voluntarily helped me with this when he saw my frustration. He's got a great eye for design, seeing as how that's what he does for a living (on a computer). It's thanks only to him that these things are even hanging relatively straight...

Back in the living room. I just have a couple of Santas gracing the table, since the tree is the main focal point.

On the top of the TV cabinet, I put a wooden sign that I found randomly when I was at Goodwill one day. It was half off, so it only cost me a dollar.

That's Mary and Joseph next to the sign. I have another Mary with the baby Jesus in her arms, but she's hiding until Christmas Day. I've been trying to learn more about the Christmas story and incorporate it into the rest of our celebration, since I know that it's really important to Ralph that the boys stay focused on the reason for the season. I've done a lot of reading on the origins of different Christmas traditions, including the Advent wreath. I made one with traditional purple, pink, and white candles, below.

The purple signifies expectation, penitence and fasting, as well as the color of royalty for the King. It is also the color of suffering, to show the connection between Jesus' birth and his death. These candles are traditionally lit on the first, second, and fourth Sundays of Advent. The pink candle symbolizes the hope and joy people felt that the waiting was almost over and the King would arrive soon. This candle is traditionally lit on the third Sunday of Advent. The center candle is lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, the white signifying the purity of Christ. The light of the candles symbolizes Jesus as the light of the world.

The wreath itself also has significance. It is circular, with no beginning or end, symbolizing God's endless mercy. It is an evergreen, symbolizing eternal life. Holly berries are sometimes included in the wreath to symbolize Christ's blood that was spilled for us.

I also read up on the history of Santa Claus, as I was curious how a fat man in a red suit was connected to the birth of Jesus. Like most people, I knew he was based on St. Nicholas, but I didn't know anything other than that. I didn't even know who St. Nicholas was. Neither did the boys.

In order to make learning about him more fun, I created a scavenger hunt with clues about St. Nicholas and hid the clues around the house. The boys had to find the clues, and with each clue they also got a treat.

The boys also got to read about how St. Nicholas used all the money his parents left him to buy things for people who needed them. He bought wooden toys for children who didn't have any (I gave the boys wooden ornaments) and threw gold coins down the chimney to help a man whose daughters had no money for dowries. (Here I put gold-wrapped chocolate coins in a stocking since the story says the gold fell in a stocking that was hung by the fire to dry.)

It's been fun learning about different traditions this season. And as much as I want to decorate the house some more, I also want to just relax and enjoy the time I have with the family. So I've simply been adding Christmas cards as I get them to some funky yarn I strung up, and that's it for the rest of the time.

Merry Christmas everyone!


Kianna said...

Pretty Christmas decorations..! I too love holiday decorations. Just got some cute Christmas décor from Blair.

Carol Myers said...

Hello Heather--I love your St Nicholas clues! Would you be willing to share them with us at St. Nicholas Center? Thanks so much--I hope to hear from you!