A Few of My Favorite Things

Decorating is always personal, and Christmas decorating may be the most personal of all. I will share with you some of my favorite things. Things change in my decorating scheme from year to year, but for the most part there is continuity. Our fresh cut Christmas Tree is the focal point of our living room. We like to see the fully lit tree each evening when we drive up the road to home; it stands in front of the sliding doors with tall windows above, and it is very welcoming and cheerful. I never tire of seeing it in all its colorful glory. The tree is one of things you can count on at our house. It is always filled with lots of colorful lights and shiny bright glass ornaments with the sparkle of pretty glass icicles that catch the lights in prisms of color.

I have lots of trees in my decor, but the only fresh tree is the one in the living room. Some indoor plants take on a bit of Christmas cheer, with shiny ornaments around the base or hanging from branches. There are life like artificial trees that look like they belong in the forest, hung with favorite small ornaments from years ago. One of my more recent trees is an iron tree that is decorated with all the felt ornaments that I have collected or have been gifts from friends and family— the theme here is birds.

Wreaths are also a reoccurring theme in our house. I have them hanging on nearly every door, inside and out. Some are natural evergreen and others are beaded or loaded with berries, whatever the material they make me happy.

Even the succulents that live year round in the house get a bit of holiday shine. There are a trio of them in common clay pots in the family room on an old silver tray. These pots get a little polish when I pour red and gold glass ornaments loosely around their bases, I add a tiny string of green glass garland and weave it around randomly for added interest.

The kitchen window gets a wreath hanging from it on the inside; but just below it, the succulents get a tiny faux holly wreaths around the collar of their clay pot. The pots hold not only the succulents, but a bit of bright green reindeer moss; and between the posts, I have placed some matching tiny green faux pears. It’s just a little touch that does not overtake the room or clutter the counter.

The dining room is usually done in all red, with wreaths of red berries and pinecone trees wound with pretty berries. The table gets set with gold charger plates and our holiday china and old linen napkins that belonged to my mother-in-law—tradition!
Fun holiday pillows festoon the sofas and chairs and the bed in the guest room, along with a beautiful wreath above the bed. Favorite ornaments that friends have given me over the years will hang from table lamp switches in many rooms. The ornaments provide a bit of whimsy that come as a surprise to anyone who happens to be sitting near a lamp—unexpected and fun.

I am always happy to decorate for Christmas. Since the holiday lasts only for one month, I go all out and love seeing all my favorite things around the house. Come January first, it all goes away, and I settle into a nice winter white theme and let the quiet take over.

Swedish Santa Lucia

Swedish Santa Lucia

Make a Eucalyptus Tree for the Winter Season

Every year, I see so many clever and creative Christmas decor ideas that embrace traditional styles as well as traditional with a twist.  While I love new ideas in the world of decor, I am traditional at heart.  Here is a tutorial on a completely original design I created more than 30 years ago: a lighted tree with natural eucalyptus leaves, and topped with your favorite tiny tree topper.

While this is on the easy, it is tough on your fingers, so you may want to use a thimble.  

You will need:  

Styrofoam cone (white or green)

Short string of 25-50 small electric lights (white or green wires)

Hair pins, not bobbie pins ( find them in beauty supply shops)

Eucalyptus branches


Scissors or garden clippers

Small beads, either multi-colored, red or white or natural seeds from your garden

Tree topper, a small bird, angel, bow, or star, whatever you wish.

First, open your short (25) string of lights and begin winding at the bottom of the cone, securing them with the hair pins.  Continue winding them fairly close together until you reach the top of your cone, leaving one light near the top of your tree.  You should have a length of cord at the bottom to plug into an electric outlet when you are finished.  It is always a good idea to test the string of lights to make sure they are in working order.

Once your lights are secure, begin cutting (using garden clippers or strong scissors) the eucalyptus branches into short stems; I use the two leaves on opposite sides of the stem securing the stem by pushing a hairpin into the cone.  You can use a glue gun instead of hair pins.  Use the larger leaves on the bottom of the cone and gradually smaller ones the smaller ones as you go up the cone to the top of your tree.

This is a fairly long process, and this is where you may want to have a thimble to help push the pins into the cone.  As you get near the top of the cone, the pins will be too long to go straight in, so angle them downward, so they don’t stick out of the sides of the cone.  You will soon see how the leaves fit around the lights, covering the cords and filling in the cone.  You will want the leaves to be close together for a full look.

Once you are satisfied with the density of the tree, you may begin using your beads, pods or tiny decorations to adorn the tree; this is a very subjective process, so place them as you wish, again using the hairpins.

Your tree topper is the last piece to add, so use your hairpin to secure it.  Find a table top, or corner for your lighted creation and enjoy the fruits of your labor and the season.

This tree creation can be a winter fixture, by using natural seeds or just white beads, or red, like you see in nature.  I keep mine up through January, or throughout winter to brighten the gloomy days of winter.