One of our foxes asked, “How early do you decorate for the holidays?”
Since I’ve always worked on a school schedule, and since I stay away from stores as much as possible, I start my Christmas preparations the day after Thanksgiving. I have several things that I do each year, and how much I get done each day depends on my energy level and what else is on my plate. This year I was fortunate in that all my school work was done before Thanksgiving Day, so I was able to dive right in on my To-Do list the next day.
My first holiday task on Friday was addressing the envelopes for our Christmas cards. For some reason that took me longer than usual this year. I think I was too distracted with a book promotion opportunity that will take place next week. But now that the envelopes are addressed, I can insert notes into the cards that need them, add gift cards into a few others, and get them all stamped and ready to mail out on Monday. Usually I type out and print an annual “Christmas Letter,” but this year has been comparatively uneventful, so I may just write a note in some of the cards instead. We have several cards that have to travel across the ocean, so I need to get those in the mail this week.
The second item on my annual Christmas To-do list is to put up a garland that I use to display the cards sent to us. I managed to hang the garland on Saturday. It’s a tough job, even with my trusty step stool. Guess I’m going to have to grow a few inches! I’ll hang our Christmas cards on this with clothespins. Sometimes, when we receive more cards than will fit on the garland, I’ll put up decorative ribbon on the wall on either side of our fireplace and hang more cards there. One year I got industrious and decorated a bunch of clothespins with a holly leaf made of felt, and that added a little bit of color to our garland.
Each year I make stockings for the kids and grandkids, and I hang them on the mantle. Of course, now that our five kids have given us a total of twelve grandkids and two great-grandkids, the stockings have to hang in other places, too. By the time we have our family Christmas gathering, they’re hanging on the window valances on the knobs of our hutch, and wherever I can find a spot to hang them. I didn’t get those started this past weekend, but I’m hoping to get the pieces cut out soon.
Sometime in the next few weeks I’ll put up the tree.I’ve cut back on the number of things I put on it. No more metallic garland (it just gets all tangled up and I have to throw it out) and no more glass bulbs (they all broke and I never bothered to replace them). These days I stick to my favorites – special ones that I’ve received from my kids and students, and a set of miniature wooden ornaments. The treetop angel is one my sister-in-law made and gave me one year. There have been years that I managed to put the tree together the morning of our family Christmas celebration! But lately I’ve been doing better. Probably because I have grandkids who come over on a regular basis and ask where the tree is. Their mother is a lot more organized than I am. Maybe this year I’ll manage to beat them!
There are other knickknacks that I put out, but those are still packed in the basement and I’ll get those out little by little. I have some candles, some Christmas signs, a basket of pine cones, and some mantle decorations. What usually happens is that I’ll go downstairs looking for something else, and then I’ll spot the boxes and bring them up. And then I’ll have to go back to get the item I originally went down for.
I usually make an attempt to decorate the outside of the house. Again, I don’t do a lot. I have a pine garland that I wrap around the railing in the front of the house. Last year we decided to string some Christmas lights around the garland, but we don’t have an electric outlet on the outside of the house, so the cord has to go through the garage. Of course, we have a nice pine wreath for the front door, but it’s hard to see because the door is painted green. Someday I’ll get (or make) a lighter colored wreath. And then maybe I’ll hang the green one on the back door, which is painted white. Saturday afternoon was nice and mild, so I went outside and took care of the outdoor stuff. We’ll never compete with the Griswold family, but we’re okay with that!
How and when do you decorate your home for the holidays?