Monday, December 5, 2011

Decking the Halls

The when and how to decorate for the holidays always seem to be a great debate.  Growing up, our Christmas tree never went up until after December 15. Why that particular day? It’s my birthday. I am one of the “lucky” ones (notice the snarky quotation marks) that has a birthday in what I like to call the holiday season black hole.  My parents always made an effort to separate my birthday from the holidays. No combo gifts with Christmas wrapping paper,  no poinsettias in the flowers that my mom still sends and no Christmas decorations go up until after I blow out my candles. Now that I don’t live at home I think everyone’s decorating schedule has become a little more flexible. My life situation feels a little more temporary than permanent right now, and if feels like I need to find that balance between wanting to celebrate the time of year, but not invest in a lot of stuff that I will just have to pack and lug to whatever the next chapter in life is.

This weekend I figured that it was time to deck some halls already :

I decided to take a slightly non-traditional approach to the Christmas tree.  Instead  of a huge live tree or a huge fake tree,  I got a rosemary plant. It looks like an evergreen, smells wonderful, and after the holidays I can use it make my favorite Rosemary Shortbread cookies.  Throw a tea towel around the plastic pot (until I find a prettier pot), tie on a bow on top, drape some garland, and TA DA!

I finally put up my advent calendar tonight . . . on the 5th of December. Oh well, that means five pieces of chocolate for me. I love the idea of advent calendars, but all the ones in stores looked a little cheap or too country cottage cutesy. I wanted a more modern looking one that I wouldn’t mind using in years to come.  I got the idea and free printable of the numbers from Twig and Thistle.  
I am kinda in love with mine:

The tins I found were slightly larger than the ones in the example so I had to print out two copies of the numbers to allow for a little more cutting space. I also used real magnets which are waaay cheaper than getting enough magnetic strips for all 25 tins. I filled each tin with a Christmas quote and some chocolate coins.

 Total arts and craft time was about 2 hours  (+ overnight drying for the magnets) which in my life terms equals two crime dramas on TV.  Don’t judge my TV choices, crime shows are very educational. They teach you how to break down doors.

Other small touches:
Metal trees made from soda cans via Crate & Barrel (you can't hand make everything):

Mason jars filled with candy canes via left over from Pie Day’s peppermint bark:

Homemade pumpkin butter and hot chocolate mix that Michele made and brought from the west coast. She also brought me cheese. She is a good friend.

And of course all this hard decorating work called for refreshments:

Chocolate covered peppermint Jo-Joes and (Non-egg) Nog. Tis the season!

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