aidan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 10:57 am
@Butrflynet,
Well, I just decorated my shop today - and oh god - do I love this time of year. I woke up at about 4:30 and I thought, 'Where're my christmas cd's - I have four that I have to start listening to the weekend after Thanksgiving : John Lennon - Shaved Fish - The Godspell soundtrack by the original broadway cast-a BB King Christmas (the one with backdoor Santa) and this sort of new agey Tim Janis thing. So I went down to my little office/music room and started frantically searching until my daughter (whose bedroom is right above my office ( or snug as I also call it) came down and said 'can you stop scraping the cd's across the shelf, it's driving me INSANE and I'm trying to sleep'. So I stopped - but then I remembered that I HAD thought ahead and brought all the christmas cd's to the shop - so I got up and I made a cake and then I went to the shop where my undecorated potted Christmas tree was awaiting me (£14.00 at Budgens (about 21$- I can keep it inside or plant it in the garden). I put on my four Christmas cd's and entered a state that I'd pretty much consider Nirvana- as I pulled out my sugared pear ornament and my little red-breasted robin in a woven nest ornament and my chinese man with bells on his sleeves and pant leg ornament and placed them on my tree.

I think this is my favorite tree ever - it looked like it could just be standing out in the woods somewhere - until I gave it some little white fairy lights.

I only buy one ornament a year - I've been saving all of them since the first - which was my little homespun angel holding her heart in her hands. I had bought that one about two days before I found out I was pregnant - which happened to be two days before Christmas - l987. I named her Savannah - after my then favorite city which I had visited that summer.

I haven't bought this year's ornament this year yet. It hasn''t presented itself to me yet - but I always know it when I see it.
0 Replies
 
Izzie
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 11:45 am
@Nick Ashley,
We always have a real tree... though not for another couple weeks yet....decorations are ones we made, some special ones and glass ones with a memory attached to each - the first "memory" being a glass bauble with my eldest sons first lock of golden hair in. The children drew all their "Christmas Wishes" each year - and these are all stored in my grandmothers brown suitcase - a suitcase from the dark ages - more like a stowing trunk from 50 years gone-by. They come out each year - going thru the other boxes makes the little fella's eyes light up - "ya remember this one Mom, ya remember that one Mom" "look Mom, I remember making that one, I spilled the glitter on the floor and hid it under Granny's dresser when you weren't looking"- you can feel his wonder. We have lites everywhere, and candles - ours is a Neverland. His room is all "tinselled" -(ack ack ack) - and he has a mini fibre-optic which he has beside his bed.

Every year, my brother and I would come back from boarding school - parents worked 24/7 and we were living in a "nursing home" so we had to amuse ourselves with making decorations - we would get tinfoil and cut it up, making tiny little balls, get cardboard boxes and lots of copydex (always associate that smell with our box trees) and sprinkle the tin foil bits all over it. Every year, same thing.... now, I rarely see my brother even tho he lives only a few minutes away. Good memories tho.

We went out last weekend with Tulip - my little boy is 11 - out of all the decorations we saw, he asked for just one... we have a small mantle above the logburner and it had to be placed right in the middle....

http://i277.photobucket.com/albums/kk41/LzzieIzzie/P1080718.jpg

http://i277.photobucket.com/albums/kk41/LzzieIzzie/P1080714.jpg

Christmas isn't an easy time here - but there's no place for a "bah humbug" and this year we'll be starting new traditions so... 'tis the season' and all that! Smile
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 12:12 pm
@Izzie,
I've decorated forever... usually a minimum of a (small) real tree, some white lights, and some other greenery strewn here and there. I like to make my own stuff from scratch -- that is, get a bunch of leftover pine branches from the xmas tree place, get some sprigs of holly, etc., etc., and then make my own wreaths, mantel decorations, etc. Love the smell.

Everything was definitely stepped up a notch once sozlet started getting into it though. Way more outside decorations (I didn't do that at all aside from a wreath or something until she was four or so), and generally more of a production. E.G. always likes the final result (especially the smells of fresh pine greenery) but isn't much interested in participating in the process, either. I don't make him. Smile

The box of ornaments is sozlet's favorite -- definitely a long shelf life for us!!! About half of them are our own childhood ornaments (E.G.'s, mine) and the rest have been acquired since we met (17 years ago). There are stories behind almost every single one and sozlet wants to know all the stories. That makes decorating the Christmas tree an all-day operation!

I have probably four pieces of paper in the ornament box (which is one of those big plastic tubs -- each ornament is separately wrapped in tissue paper though) that describe the arrival of new ornaments -- year given or bought, by whom, and why if it's not obvious.

Our star is a clear blown-glass starburst ornament that I bought as a major splurge from an art studio when we were students ($25, maybe?). It is meant to hang, not be the star on the top of the tree, and so it has to be lashed to the tippy-top bough. I usually put a light right under it so it looks glowy.

I also have anonymous gold glass ball ornaments that are used in general decoration; the mantel, outside, etc.

Anyway, cleared away Thanksgiving/ Halloweeen stuff yesterday (the white mums and uncarved pumpkins went out maybe mid-October) and have a clean slate. Plan to start decorating sometime this week, at least lights (agree with Izzie that I tend to wait on the fresh tree and greenery). Looking forward to it.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 12:34 pm
@Nick Ashley,
I can empathize. I haven't cared at all about Christmas since I was 9, and mostly find the rituals annoying. When done right the decorating can certainly be beautiful, but not enough (to me) to offset the pain of buying and setting them all up. The fake trees look, well fake, and I'm not a fan of killing a real tree to put inside as a decoration (why don't people plant a backyard tree and decorate it every year?) and I too try my damnedest to have opinions about the whole thing other than that I think it's a death trap to our pets. My dog and cat try to kill themselves with the ornaments and lights. The cat bats the ornaments down for the dog, and the dog bites off lights on the tree. I found glass in his mouth and in his bed and he's already made the bottom branch lights stop working. So now, the tree's on a box).

I too am offered the choice of the star at the top, and that's actually a good deal for me, because in my honest opinion Christmas trees look better without a crowning ornament. I really wish we didn't have a tree, but because the gal enjoys it I try to participate meaningfully.

This year I learned from last year's mistakes. Last year we bought a green tree, and unpacked it to find it was missing the stand and looked nothing like the demo tree. We rushed to buy another but all we could find in way of fake trees was a white one, and we couldn't find any white-corded lights. So it looked like we were trying to strangle a tree once we were done.

This year, I got a tree with the lights built in, and I think it looks a lot nicer without wires running around it. When asked about the ornaments (seriously, girls seem to like color and glitter much more than guys do and it's hard to play interested) my recommendation was not too many colors (I like trees with only one or two ornament colors) and as long as they are symmetrically placed on the tree I think they look good.

So this year, our tree is much better. The built-in wires make it look better and get rid of the hardest part (the wiring) and we have red balls (I'm sure females know a specific term for these other than balls but they are round and they are balls) and red ribbons. Looks pretty good except for the lights Harry ate, and the fact that it's now sitting on a two foot box to keep him from killing himself.

But if I had my druthers, she'd take the money we spend on the tree and decorations and buy herself some shoes or clothes or something. I really don't think she gets as much out of the tree as she would the shopping it could be replaced with. But yeah, if I had kids I'm sure I'd get completely into this as well. I remember liking the decorations a lot as a kid, and thinking the house looked so bare after they were gone. But now, it looks like a damn fake tree in the middle of the house and we can't put our presents under it anyway because the dog would set about unwrapping them.

How's your dog dealing with the tree?
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 12:43 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Ha! We did the box when sozlet was a year old and very, very grabby! The box lifted the tree barely out of grabbing range, still had to watch her like a hawk.

Just checked to see if I have any Christmas decoration pics on the computer, I don't really. Sozlet took a bunch of pics last year with her then brand-new digital camera, some OK and some hopeless. Here's a couple to give a flavor:

Random household decoration (banister, with assortment of fresh greenery):

http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d130/sozobe/christmasdecoration1.jpg

Ancient (and blurry) ornament, that I made when I was seven with a favorite aunt -- cool part is that there's a tiny plastic santa inside (you can't see, the opening is on the other side, sozlet turned it around for some reason) that is the exact twin of the tiny plastic santa in an ornament that E.G. made at about the same time with HIS favorite aunt.

http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d130/sozobe/christmaspicture2.jpg
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 12:43 pm
I've yet another personal flaw in that I am very insistent that tinsel not intertwine, but hang straight.. thus I always got that job, and for a big tree that kind of tinsel hanging is weirdly boring. Life became far easier when my husband and I stopped buying trees and instead dragged in the potted prickly pear cactus. Watch out! Hold it straight! Oh, nooooo! Don't trip!! Once in the house, I'd put chili pepper lights on it, and tie on a few of the saved oldie-but-goody ornaments.

I still like ornaments even though I've totally stopped with the big decorating thing. I like the special ornaments you can get from stores like "World Market", but I also like some old battered ornaments from my family's past.

For years, I got into making wreaths - that is really fun, to me. Haven't done that here in New Mexico, having less wreath-material in my yard. Well, no wreath material, unless I ruin the italian cypress. But, I just found my box of reallygoodribbons while doing some of my long term unpacking, and I still have a wreath hoop, so maybe I'll do one this year, if I can figure out what to use for the greenery. Hmmm, maybe tumbleweed..
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 12:55 pm
@ossobuco,
I love the idea of a tumbleweed wreath!

Yeah, that's one of my favorite parts, wreath-making. Plus just little groupings like on the banister -- they have a name (swags? not exactly) but I can't remember.

Sometimes I get just a plain pine wreath and then trick it out with other stuff. Easier than starting from scratch, but I like starting with just a plain wire base too. (Always seem to poke the heck out of my hands with florist's wire tho.)
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 01:01 pm
@ossobuco,
One of my favorite ornaments is a cactus with a red ribbon tied around it. I also collect christmas cactuses - I have one (at my mother's house in the US -- I'm not allowed to import it to England) that is about 14 years old and is in a pot as big around as an average size tree - it still blooms.

I also collect nativity scenes - I have one from Africa (Joseph and Mary and Jesus are black), one from Peru (the main players are hispanic- n0 sheep or cattle - just a donkey) a native American one ( just buffalo and an eagle totem pole) , one carved out of soapstone and a german one that's reputed to be about 100 years old and I believe it, because you can tell by the facial features and the color of the clothing they're authentic - but the baby Jesus doesn't fit in- he's much newer - I can tell.

Still I love them - I love the cultural significance - across all of these cultures...just the message of hope and rebirth that's portrayed. I mean I know native Americans didn't believe in Jesus - but they did believe in a great spirit...and they continue to hope.

I don't use tinsel and for some reason - I love birds and their nests in my tree. I collect bird's nest and I always nestle them with little birds among the boughs. It just seems right.

If I ever buy a cut tree, I put it out for the birds to nest in in my garden, and when it decomposes I use it for compost for my roses or other acid loving plants.

ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 01:11 pm
@sozobe,
Soz, I got my wreath circle thing - it was an extra one that my business partner had from when she used to own a garden center. It's not floral wire, but much stronger, something like 3/16th or so, solid metal, two circles with some connecting bits holding the circles together every so many inches. Probably expensive..

I've also made them out of cut branches from my old leylandii cypress trees that I wired with hardware store wire - whatever I had around at the time. Those wreaths got pretty big. At work, Business Partner made two giant wreaths for the windows - they were at least 4 ft in diameter and had lights as well as "found greenery". I've a photo somewhere..
Anyway, she used big wreath "hoops?" as the basis for those.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 01:16 pm
@ossobuco,
Right, that's what I meant, on re-reading I see it's not clear. I use a base (same as what you describe, "wire" is not the right word, "metal hoop" is good), but then I use florist's wire to attach things to that hoop. And that's when I inevitably poke the heck out of my fingers.

Cypress is a great "ingredient." I tend to use cypress, juniper, varieties of pine and spruce, holly, and boxwood.

I like the idea of interweaving lights into wreaths.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 01:19 pm
@aidan,
Good idea with the tree being for birds in the yard..
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 01:33 pm
One of the favorite things about holiday decorating for me is the opportunity to indulge in crafts.

I remember some family friends from when I was growing up who used to make most of their own Christmas decorations. Clove-studded oranges hung with red ribbons and she taught me to make angels made from folding down the corners of each page of a Sear's catalog to form the body and dress and then a styrofoam head and pipe cleaner halo was glued on top. The whole thing was spray painted gold or silver.

One of the ladies at work used to make ornaments from items such as wooden ice cream spoons and cotton balls (Santas) or whole cinnamon sticks (reindeers). She'd also make little scenery displays in bowls of plaster of paris and place miniature toy wooden blocks in it to spell out a person's name. She'd then decorate the blocks according to the person's interests. She did mine one year with pine cone cats.

For gifts at work one year, I bought large storage jars, filled them with potting mix and landscaped them with tiny plants decorated with minature beads for ornaments.
Izzie
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 01:48 pm
@Butrflynet,
These are little wreaths - only 3" wide - made them a number of years ago so they are a little dog-eared now...but they come out each year... easy for the kids to make with dried flowers...

http://i277.photobucket.com/albums/kk41/LzzieIzzie/P1080749.jpg

http://i277.photobucket.com/albums/kk41/LzzieIzzie/P1080752.jpg

http://i277.photobucket.com/albums/kk41/LzzieIzzie/P1080754.jpg
0 Replies
 
Nick Ashley
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 09:24 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Quote:
How's your dog dealing with the tree?


So far so good, but she hasn't had much time with it yet. She never gets into stuff unless nobody is around, or we are really ignoring her and she wants attention. Since we just put it up last night, the only time she could have possibly had to mess with it is tonight.

We went out to dinner for about an hour and a half, and let her out. However I was playing with her alot beforehand, so she was pretty tired. I'm pretty sure she just slept the whole time we were gone. We have some bitter tasting spray that is supposed to help when they are chewing on things you don't want them to. I sprayed that on the bottom branches just to make sure it'd be fine. Also, we have some gifts wrapped under the tree, and I figured she would go for those before the tree (and I'd rather have to re-wrap a present then have her ruin our tree).

When we got home things were untouched, so that's good. Haven't decided if I will kennel her or not when I go to work tomorrow.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 09:38 pm
@Nick Ashley,
Ah, that giant wreath pic, along with myself and my niece in front of our gallery, is on the hallway wall and not in my computer. My computer with the non connected scanner. So it goes.

We'll see. I plan a tech day soon.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 09:39 pm
@Nick Ashley,
My dog was calmo until my steps and my key in the door... that's when the molding digging happened..
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 09:47 pm
We have decorations that we have used for going on five decades now. Lifelike artificial tree for us--can't bear to chop down a real one--hubby opposes real trees due to being an insurance adjuster most of his adult life which resulting in too many fires started in trees that are cut too early and becoming too dry too quickly--just a single spark from a bit of frayed or broken wiring and. . . .

Tragic any time. Especially so at Christmas.

A live tree with rootball intact is something he would allow, but we don't have any place to plant them later here so don't go to that expense.

We have ornaments from our childhood, ornaments that our kids made, ornaments that people gave us, and many picked up at special events and occasions or on trips over a lifetime--each reminds us of somebody or some good time or some special place. The tree isn't a decorator's triumph, but it has become a real memory tree with special significance for all of us.

We do buy a few unique ornaments and hang on the tree too, and when people come over, we take the ornament from our tree and present as a gift to their tree, thus (hopefully) extending the tradition.

We no longer decorate elaborately--a few lights strung across the bookcases, the tree, a bit of garland on the banister and that's about it. We do put up some lights outside for the neighbors to enjoy.

Wouldn't think of not doing it.
0 Replies
 
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 09:52 pm
don't do Christmas or trees at home anymore, but have scary memories of multi-cats and decorated falling trees.

May you all enjoy your tortures...
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Dec, 2008 12:14 am
@Robert Gentel,
I think the balls name is "baubles"?
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Dec, 2008 12:46 am
@dlowan,
I always called them balls.

Innocent or not.
0 Replies
 
 

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