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Sprucing up the house for the holidays

 
 
Reply Sat 30 Nov, 2002 09:00 pm
How far do you go to spruce up your house for the holiday season? Are you as bad as Chevy Chase with the lights or do you keep it to a minimum?

When I was a kid, people didn't do much more than put a wreath on the door and a tree in the house. Ours didn't even get decorated until Christmas Eve and Santa did it (until you were beyond the Santa thing and then you got to help). My parents did, however, make a practice of painting at least one room during the week before Christmas. I have no idea why, but it became a sort of holiday ritual (one which I have NOT carried on).
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 5,059 • Replies: 22
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JoanneDorel
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Nov, 2002 09:05 pm
In the past I used to go all out. These day I do not even get a tree. I just have some favorite things I put out and usually electric candles in the windows.

However I am giving the house a good cleaning, I used to do it before Thanks Giving and then again at Christmas. This year I waited until now to do it.
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JerryR
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Nov, 2002 09:06 pm
Growing up, my friends use to tease me, saying that, during Christmas, airplanes would mistake my house for the airport Laughing

If it's not moving,..mom will decorate it.
We have Christmas EVERYTHING, so each year we have to pack up all of our regular stuff and put it away, while we bring out the holiday stuff.

It's a huge production,..but it wouldn't feel the same without it! Laughing
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bandylu2
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Nov, 2002 09:18 pm
I'm not quite that bad, Jerry, but close. Stuff does get put away (and after the holidays I usually can't find it) to make room for special stuff. I love Christmas and I love Christmas decorations of all kinds.

Joanne, cleaning is good. I do that, too, to make it nice for the Christmas stuff. I am a bit of a nut. Have bought at least one new thingie each year since forever (and then there are those that have been given to me).

My favorite is my Dickens Village which grows and grows -- up to 2 tables full now and still growing. I even have a port complete with a lighted ship and a lighthouse. It's like being a little kid again and playing with my toys.
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gezzy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Dec, 2002 03:25 am
I love decorating for Christmas. We don't decorate the outside of the house, but the inside gets a going over. I absolutely love Christmas decorations and they keep growing every year. I hardly know where to put everything, but I always find a spot. I also paint ceramics, so every year we have at least 3 more pieces to find a spot for. We even have 2 Christmas trees. I do love taking the stuff out and doing the decorating, but taking it down and putting everything away is a different story, lol.
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Dec, 2002 10:47 am
I come from a fairly strict Lutheran background - no big Christmas decorations - the tree usually appeared on the 23rd of December and disappeared on the 26th. If i begged and begged, it might hang around til' new year's eve. Now that i'm not around to bug my mother about it, the tree is up on the 23rd and is lucky not to be packed up by breakfast on the 25th (we celebrate on the 24th). Since I got the dogs, I've really minimized decorating at my house. The 'big' thing is an ancient artificial tree i put out on the porch with lots of red bows all over it - as the veranda and mailbox are painted red, and i have a green-stained wooden bench out front, it looks festive (and is easy to deal with).

Advent candles are my big seasonal thing - i HAVE to do my candles. I guess it's more of a religious/spiritual thing than a festive/holiday time for me.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Dec, 2002 11:08 am
I didn't realize the Lutherans were so austere! We usually celebrate Christmas Day with some old friends who are so Norwegian and Lutheran that they own an elkhound and Volvos.

We, being pagan, need to be sure that the lights are up and up quickly. We must beat the neighbors in getting at least one set up. Our last across-the-street-neighbors (I still miss them) Decorated both of their medium sized cedar trees with white lights. It was wonderful.

PFK wrapped a large, low clump of salal that is in the front yard with several rounds of purple lights the night before THanksgiving. At the beach he laced the stone wall with icicle lights (sigh) -- it is our first year decorating that and turned out nicely.

The tree won't be picked up for a couple of weeks, but it must be a sacrificed live one. After Christmas it will be left out in the yard and covered with bird foods. Birds will use it all winter as a safe haven. Then it will be cut and I'll dry the logs for a summer fire.

Candles have been purchased for windows. On Christmas Eve I'll want one in nearly every window. I like to find Bayberry but it is no longer a popular fragrance and is much harder to find than it used to be.

I buy a few Christmas ornaments every year and give some as gifts -- my best ones this year are two heavily busomed bowsprits. They are great! I love to decorate the tree, it is a little different every year, as I combine different ornaments. Sometimes covered in toys, sometimes mostly lights. I think it is fun. The animals are told not to mess with the tree... and they don't. We did have a bad cat who used to climb the tree, so we still wire it off, near the top, just to be "sure." But the current cat doesn't and the puppies will be taught.

It is a month of celebration... and everything must be cleaned as well and made ready for parties.

The advent candles are wonderful Beth. As a Lutheran I suppose you do four white ones? Catholics have three purple and one pink.
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Dec, 2002 12:13 pm
I start with white candles, piffka, but i can never restrain myself and snuff them out early enough. Usually by the 4th advent, i've still got at least 2 white candles, but the other 2 might be green or purple ( i always think i've bought enough white ones ...)
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quinn1
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Dec, 2002 04:04 pm
Growing up in a very large house I was lucky enough to have parents who very much enjoyed taking one room and making it complettely over into the Christmas Wonderland. Everything would be filled with scenes and lights and wonderful packages of all kinds. My mother being allergic to pine however, made me unable to have a real tree until I was on my own. Yes, she even had a silver one...gosh thats scary to think of now. I even had a train set that was put underneath the tree for quite a few years and I remember complete joy at sitting on the floor looking up at all the lights and having that train go by poofing out little wisps of smoke.
I have boxes and boxes of Christmas decorations, the last few years I havent decorated much at all but, I really hope to do it this year. I have a special nativity set that I very much like to put out on the entertainment center and adorn with lights. Ive already put out my cinnamon broom on the front door. I have a couple little decorated trees I can put out if worst comes to worst but, my little bit of hope is to be able to do the whole real tree thing.
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JoanneDorel
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Dec, 2002 05:46 pm
Before I became a Quaker I was Lutheran and I still go to Lutheran service on holidays and special events like Pentacost and Reformation day. And I still follow along with many of the traditional Lutheran celebrations. After all the Light is the Light.
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gezzy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Dec, 2002 06:35 pm
Quinn
We had a silver tree about 35 years ago and I loved it, lol. I have been searching for one for years and I just can't find one :-( I'd love to have one of those trees again with the revolving colored light. I thought it was so pretty.

Anyone know where I can get one?
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Dec, 2002 07:22 pm
As a kid my parents did very little. My mom would hang a wreath on the front door and my dad would put a spotlight out in the front lawn that lit up the door and wreath. Other than that there was a tree in the corner of the living room and a Christmas tablecloth on the dining room table Christmas day.

My ex-wife was wayyyyyyyyyyy big on decorating. I just pulled 40 or 50 boxes of decorations out of the attic this weekend. I now have 2 artifical trees (one is never enough ya know!), 12 sets of lights with the big multi-colored bulbs, at least 15 sets of minature white lights and another 15 minture colored lights. Boxes upon boxes of ornaments and doo-dads to setup all over the house. When I lived in OK everyone in the neighborhhod spent Thanksgiving weekend outlining their houses in lights and setting up decorations in the yards.

It's all soooooooooo much work. Last year my daughter and I setup a tree the weekend before Xmas and took it down the day after. That was it. This year she's off at school so I may just skip the entire thing. As a matter of fact I think I'm going to call around and see if there is a needy family that could put some of this stuff to good use. I can provide 2 or 3 families with all the deocrations they'll ever need. Smile
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bandylu2
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Dec, 2002 07:30 pm
fishin, that would be nice, especially for a family with little kids. Most of this decorating stuff is for the kids (and the kids within us).

As a Lutheran (well officially, but not actually) I never knew about those things. Maybe that's why we put the tree up so late when I was little (and I always thought it was because my parents couldn't deal with 7 of us wanting to help).

We were unable to have a real tree when my son was home (tried it one year and his eyes got all red and teary and swollen and he couldn't even come in the living room). He has since discovered that there is a certain type of evergreen that is less likely to cause allergic reactions (can't remember which kind it is though) and now gets a real tree of that variety in his own house.

It's great fun to hear everyone's traditions and likes and dislikes.

Today I took out all the outdoor lights and tested them. It was too cold and windy to put them up, but hopefully next weekend.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Dec, 2002 07:34 pm
Oh joy... PFK spent some time this afternoon and decorated one of the front trees with sparkly mini-colored lights, A huckleberry has been similarly decorated in sparkly lights and the salal clump that had the purple lights, now is encircled in green lights as well. It's all in the front island that our driveway encircles and... to my eyes, just lovely!

Maybe he'll do the fences and the barn, again. He told me to buy him piles of lights tomorrow at Costco.... heeheeheee.

I clipped some huckleberry brush and small fir boughs... the ones from the tops of the tall trees are the best. They're waiting on the porch for me to make a wreath or something. I'll be wrapping our front pillar with cedar. We also like to wrap a wall in chicken wire, then insert greenery and cover with a light "net" -- that looks very cool at the front entry.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Dec, 2002 07:43 pm
What's the deal with the Lutherans? The ones I know have plenty of lights and the main Lutheran church itself, just down the street a mile or so, starts its December celebrations next weekend with the annual Lutefisk Festival. I heard of Lutherans being low-key (I mean, I adore Garrison Keillor) but not having an antipathy towards decorations. I'll have to ask my best Lutheran friend what she says. Maybe Norwegian Lutherans are different???
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bandylu2
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Dec, 2002 07:58 pm
I agree, Piffka -- never heard of any of this about my birth religion. Certainly don't practice it -- I've got as many lights to put up as the next guy and loads and loads of inside stuff, too. And our stuff stays out for weeks (cause, like others, I hate to put it all away).

Must be some sub-sect or something.
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Dec, 2002 08:00 pm
I think there are Lutherans and there are Lutherans, just as there are Catholics and there are Catholics. Not all the same. I don't that we're all the kind of Lutheran found in Babette's Feast, but I suspect the line i come from is more like that than an highly decorating, church-going type of Lutheran.
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quinn1
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Dec, 2002 08:03 pm
gezzy, Ive actually seen those for sale...more the colored light thing comes up on Ebay...you just never know Smile
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Dec, 2002 08:20 pm
Love those antlers, Beth!

Did you read about the reindeer being all female??
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Dec, 2002 08:21 pm
Maybe it's more of a Germanic, or else European attitude, Beth. I know most folks feel we jump the gun.

Too bad there are so many Christmas Carols and such that unless we start early, we'll never get through 'em all.
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