Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Our festive family tree

I had such big plans for coordinating our Christmas decor this year.

I was going to have a beautiful, cohesive decor theme in an elegant red and gold colour scheme with coordinated ornaments just like you see in decorating magazines. Real, grown-up, elegant, cocktail-party-ready holiday decor. I was going to be ruthless about purging any random decorations that didn't go with the theme or colour scheme. We were going to have a magazine-worthy home this Christmas.

Christmas sparkle, Christmas bling, Christmas decor

I started out well. We drenched our house in what we call our "Christmas bling" - gold balls and gold bows dripping from every mirror. Glittery retro-chic wire Christmas trees sparkling on every surface. It was beautiful. And so coordinated.

 But then the rest of the Christmas box got unpacked.

I'd forgotten about our little Christmas village. The kids love the Christmas village. So we have our little Christmas village set up on the sideboard in the dining room.

Santa's village, Christmas decorI'd forgotten about Santa's workshop: the tackiest, most ridiculous multi-coloured, blinged-out, kitschiest Christmas decoration you've ever seen - it lights up, it plays Christmas carols, it has a train full of elves and toys driving on a continuous track around the North Pole while Santa "HoHoHo's" in front of his glittery snow-covered, garland-draped workshop with a sack full of's pretty spectacular. And a family favourite. So we set it up in the living room.

And, though of course I knew the tree would never be a masterpiece of coordination like I see in my Christmas tree fantasies (at least half of our decorations are homemade treasures from the kids) I had at least envisioned a base of pretty golden ornaments reflecting the twinkly lights and providing a sleekly festive backdrop to the kids' crafts. But I'd forgotten about all the miscellaneous decorations too important to get rid of.

My grandparents pop an ornament in with our Christmas gifts every year. When I was a kid, and now that I have kids. Most were lost when I moved out of my parents' place, but a few fabulous treasures from my childhood made it. And the kids have their own collections now - our eldest always gets a nutcracker, Middle child gets snowmen, and Baby gets reindeer.

There's the hand-painted ones we bought at the little shop up by the cottage. There's the Mickey ones we get each year at Disney.

Kids' Christmas crafts, Christmas tree ornaments, Christmas decor

There's the handprint ornament my eldest made in junior kindergarten. There's the beaded candy canes the boys made last year, the paper-cone macaroni trees the year before and the craft foam gingerbread men the year before that. There's the thumbprint characters they made this year.

Christmas tree decorationsThis past weekend we went out to get our tree. We still get a real tree every year, so there's the whole ritual of picking out the best one, setting it up and then waiting a day while the branches open, oohing and aahing every time we pass and pointing out to one another that it's the best tree we've ever had. Then there's the traditional day of decorating, when we turn on the Christmas music and put out a platter of Christmas cookies and great big mugs of hot chocolate and hang all our special ornaments on the tree.

It's not a masterpiece of coordination. It's not elegant, or adult, or magazine-worthy. But it's filled with all the bits and pieces of our life, our memories, and our children's loving gifts. And we love it. I think this might be the best tree we've ever had.

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