Decking the Halls

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.

img_3216

I try very hard to get this done the day after Thanksgiving.

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.

card-garland

I hung the garland on Saturday. When we get cards, I’ll pin them up with my holly-decorated clothespins (insert)

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.

stockings

This pic is from a few years ago. I haven’t made this year’s stockings yet!

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.

 

tree

Again, this picture is from a few years ago.

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.

img_3217I 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?

 

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About Patricia Kiyono

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level. She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her five children, nine grandchildren (so far), and great-granddaughters. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures. Check out her sweet historical contemporary romances at her Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Patricia-Kiyono/e/B0067PSM5C/
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29 Responses to Decking the Halls

  1. jeff7salter says:

    you certainly sound industrious — far more so than me.
    In my case, my wife had specific notions of what she wants decorated (and how), so I’m usually the “casual labor” when such is needed to reach something or hang something.
    About Cards — I used to be diligent about sending out Christmas cards. Typically, I’d send about 65-70 each year. Can’t exactly pin this down, but at some point in the last 10 yrs or so, I just lost all my momentum for cards. For one thing, I don’t get as many. For another, I’m on Facebook nearly weekly with most of the people to whom I’d send a card.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      I wish I had someone to hang and reach for me! My hubby is usually asleep when I get the urge to decorate. And he has balance problems, so I would never ask him to get on a ladder.
      I’ve cut back on the number of cards I send out. There are several I just hand out when I see the people (my scrapbook club, the sewing groups, etc) along with a small gift. But I enjoy the process, and I love making the cards, so I send them. Only one of my Japanese relatives are on Facebook, so I need to send those!

      Liked by 2 people

      • jeff7salter says:

        yes, I’ve seen a handful of your handmade cards — won them in a drawing, as I recall — and they were lovely.

        Like

  2. coryellsusan says:

    Since we spend Jan and Feb out of state, my Christmas decorations are “minimalist,” to say the least. I pull the permanently-decorated little tree from its corner in the loft to the loft platform visible from all over the first floor. I plug in the lights. Instant holiday! I do put a garland over the fireplace, a wreath on the door and candles on the dining table. Suits us! Nice post and happy holidays, everyone.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      I can understand why you’d stick to quick and simple, Susan! I think I would do the same – and I’m so envious of your travel plans. January and February can be brutal here in Michigan. Thanks so much for stopping in!

      Like

  3. Diane Burton says:

    I agree with Jeff. You are industrious. I don’t have a set schedule for decorating. Last year, because we were in AZ over Christmas, we didn’t decorate at all. Hubs already has the outdoor lights strung. What takes the longest is putting out my nutcracker collection. Fortunately, we have places (tops of bookcases and cabinets) for all of them, but I do need to start winnowing them. I think our friends and family were astounded to receive their cards way before Christmas last year. Had to get them out before we left for our son’s. This year, it will be back to normal. LOL

    Liked by 3 people

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      I’ve found that if I don’t have a plan and a schedule, things don’t get done! I’d love to see a picture of your nutcracker collection, Diane!

      Like

  4. I often over-decorate for holidays…more so when my sons were little.I find myself sending fewer and fewer Christmas cards, since now, I am in touch with so many people all year around. It’s time-consuming and expensive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      I think I decorate more now than I did when my daughters were young. I was way too busy keeping up with my job commitments and getting myself and the girls where we needed to be. Maybe I’m making up for it a little now. Yes, cards are time consuming and there’s expense involved, but I’m not ready to give it up yet.

      Like

  5. Wow, you have this down to a science. Guess I need to get started on my decorating. Thanks for the reminder of how wonderful and warm the upcoming season can be.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      Thanks, Debra! I’m finding that I handle things better if I have a plan and do a little bit at a time. It frees me up to enjoy the holiday! Thanks so much for stopping by.

      Like

  6. I love the idea of making stockings every year. We don’t get any cards so I never thought of displaying them but do recall my parents and grandparents doing so.

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    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      I started making the stockings before I had grandkids – I’d make them for my students at school as well as the children’s choir I directed. It’s a long-standing tradition, so my pattern is well-used!

      Like

  7. pamelasthibodeaux says:

    I’ve never decorated this early….my daughter does though.
    Great post – you’ve given me something to think about in the future.
    Good luck and God’s blessings
    PamT

    Like

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      Thanks, Pamela! I suppose I would do things differently if I weren’t so involved in performances and final exams during December. I play in three different musical groups, plus my kids and grandkids have performances I need to attend. So I try to get a jump on decorations before things get too hectic!

      Like

  8. Alicia Dean says:

    I haven’t decorated yet, but you’ve inspired me! I think I might get a new tree this year. I’m ready to start now! Enjoyed the pics and the post!

    Like

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      We got a new tree a few years ago – the lights are already on it, and it’s not in several pieces that have to be put together. So basically, all we do is set it up and decorate! And the odd thing is, this one looks more realistic than the artificial tree we had before. Thanks for stopping in, Alicia!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. That is quite a list. I do similar tasks, gradually. I hear you with the stockings. I have those for the kids, in law kids and grandkids. We’re only up to 14 so far!

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    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      As long as you do things gradually, it’s doable. My problem is that I tend to procrastinate, so if I don’t get an early start, things aren’t done. Sounds like we’re both have a lot of stockings to hang!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow, I am very impressed. I think I need to put some time aside and take a leaf out of your book Patricia 😊 We go to the Christmas tree farm and choose our tree each year, it’s a tradition for us and even the grumpy teens get a glint in their eyes when we say we’re going to get the tree! We are lucky it is v local. We always go the first weekend of December and that is really when it all begins for us in the UK. Every year I pick up a few pine cones in the woods and spray them silver or gold placing little piles of them both out in the garden and inside ( I’ve been doing it for years so have quite a few now). That’s when it starts to feel festive here. Great post Patricia Happy holidays everyone 🎄

    Like

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      I love to decorate with pine cones, too, Nicole! I have a basket of them on my hearth right now. We used to get a real tree, but my husband got tired of having to sweep up all the needles they shed, so we got an artificial one. I love the smell of pine, though. Thanks so much for visiting!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Sounds like you have it all under control! Happy Holidays!

    Like

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      Thanks, Elizabeth! Either that, or I’m less concerned about it. I’m eager to just enjoy the season! Thanks so much for stopping in.

      Like

  12. You must have an amazing amount to energy to get so much done. We decorated early this year since some of our family won’t be here for Christmas. Have a great Christmas with all your family.

    Like

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      I’ve been told I have a lot of energy. But I think I’m slowing down, gradually. I tend to fall asleep in my recliner a lot more than I used to! Thanks so much for stopping in, Marissa.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. efmeyette2016 says:

    You are so ambitious, Patricia! I also start to decorate right after Thanksgiving. This year was wonderful because our grandchildren were here to help. I love how the house looks with the soft glow of Christmas lights and candles. This week I will blog about whether or not to send a Christmas letter LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      Thanks, Elizabeth! Back when the family was all together and there was lots of news to share with the people we don’t see very often, it was easier to put everything in a letter that could be copied. But now that there’s just the two of us, and the kids are pretty much done having kids, there’s not so much to tell. Thanks for stopping in!

      Like

  14. Joselyn says:

    I love that you make stockings every year. As you run out of places to hang them it could be a treasure hunt to find them around the house. I made stockings when the twins were babies, but never got around to making one for the youngest. Hers is from the store (and may or may not have originally been one of the dogs’).

    Like

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