For me the thing I have always enjoyed most about Christmas is putting up the decorations. I love arty things, anyone who has read this blog for years would know that I do love a little vignette or two.
I love vintage, and eclectic, angels, stars (a star is for life not just for Christmas!) and anything that sparkles.
Even as a child I loved to put the tree up. We didn’t have much in the way of decorations, tinsel, a fairy was one of our old Pippa dolls, a small little thing. My mum would dress it every year using the tube from a toilet roll and toilet paper which she then sprayed with gold, or silver, or white or whatever. Every year that little doll got sprayed and in the end God knows what colour she actually was it was so hard to decipher. But I loved it, I loved placing the balls, the tinsel, the vile green elf we had that actually looked evil. But hey ho, or should I say ho ho ho! It was Christmas.
After I left home I added to my collection of Christmas decorations year on year. In line with my eclectic taste (it is fair to say my home never looks like something directly from a shop) I have never chosen to have all silver, or all gold it is just not me. Although I have started over the past few years to pick a running theme. I love crystal, stars, and as I got older the tinsel was lost and replaced by ribbons running through the tree. Over the years I have created garlands laden with fruit, or frosty garlands, or shimmering garlands. My tree has always had it’s star at the top.
When we lived in France we had no money to buy each other gifts, and we learned that we didn’t need to. Having each other and our beloved furries was enough. The trees and garlands became the main event at Christmas and we both loved it. The year that Tom came to stay I put two trees up, to celebrate. Someone said that they looked as if they had been professionally decorated. I wish it was a career path I followed. I just enjoy it you see, I don’t see it as a chore. I love it when it all comes together, and each year my tree and garlands never look the same. RD now takes the piss and does an impersonation of me with my wine, not looking at the TV but staring at the tree. I constantly tweak things and cannot bear ‘holes’ in any tree. I am sometimes tempted to tweak other people’s trees, such is the compulsion in me!
Fast forward to last year when all of my Christmas treasures were trapped in France I had no choice but to buy a few decorations and improvise. I decided for the first time to go for a theme of pastels, pinks, silvers and pale blues. Very unlike me! But I was pleased with the result, although my garland was not of its standard!
The tree was only a cheap tree, but I have stuck with it again this year, because I knew that with all my decorations safely back home, it wouldn’t look cheap by the time I had finished! I mixed our new life with our old choosing reds and crystals to mix in with the pink from last year.
With a naughty big puppy the tree has had to go up high. But, in fairness, I now have my beautiful Edwardian wash stand back home so we placed it on that because it cannot be moved again, not far, bless it. We have moved it too many times now.
Underneath I placed candles and our home made Christmas trees left over from our little business in France. I found out some Christmas hearts we had made, I still love them.
The general thread is stars, with stars in all of the garlands and tree, and also in the lights on the garland over the mantel.
The main inspiration for the garland on the mantle was the early 60th (yes I know 60!) birthday present from my sister. A beautiful bust of a veiled lady. I saw it in a magazine and I absolutely loved it. I do absolutely love it! It inspired me to make the garland look as if it had grown over the mantle, with the ivy climbing over her and into the the shattered glass hurricane lamps.
Since RD rescued our treasures from France I haven’t been in the right place to share with you the changes we have made. We have been caught up in the maelstrom of grief. Bur our French antique mirrors are up in our living room and now suitably decorated for Christmas.
The windowsill is lit up, there are stars in every room, and even outside. We brought back from France our light projector, and treated ourselves to a star for outside.
We cannot live in the memories of spirits past, we can only live in the Christmas present. God knows this year has shown us that. So we remind ourselves often that this is Elfie’s first Christmas, no matter how big that pocket of sadness is that we carry with us. We have to make Christmas special for the little pocket of happiness that is Elfie. She is so full of wonderment.
Of course the Welshie’s and Diddies are here in spirit ….. Love never dies