Halloween is today. I get it. I really do. And Thanksgiving is a month away still. Yep – I got that too.
I had good intentions for Halloween. We wanted to carve pumpkins. There was going to be something pumpkin-flavored baking away right now. But gigs, doggie procedures, work and life got in the way.
And like your local CVS store, I’ve got Christmas on my mind anyway.
It’s a sickness. I start thinking about Christmas earlier and earlier each year. I crave the music, the merriment, the food…I just can’t be patient.
Joe and I have many conversations about family traditions—what we did as children during holidays and what we want to do as our own little family. There are so many wonderful traditions that started in my childhood that I’ve adopted in adulthood. I think it came from spending a few holidays away from family that made me insistent to make the familiar tastes, smells and actions part of my Christmas, no matter where I am.
We have culinary traditions: mom’s homemade cinnamon rolls, sugar cookies, cranberry orange cookies, ebelskivers, paninis, peppermint bark, oh my! #drool
We have verbal traditions: the annual race to say “Christmas Eve Gift” first
We also have decorating traditions.
My family has always gone big when it comes to decorating for Christmas. As a child, my parents collected nutcrackers and nativity scenes. We kids were each given an ornament every year. My mom and Mimi also handmade our stockings using the popular Bucilla kits.
My dad now collects ornaments from trips and schools that hold special meaning. My aunt has a stunning array of decorations and puts together a mean Christmas dining room table. Memaw has a Christmas village complete with fake snow. My sister has the most beautiful array of ornaments.
This is where I have fallen behind in my Christmas-loving spirit. We have a wreath and a tree, which we decorate with a set of the original soft ornaments that I had a child (which I adore), but that’s about the extent of it. Joe and I don’t even have stockings, though the dog does thanks to my sister. And now that we’re past our apartment days and Christmases at home are more and more likely now that he works for a Division I school (thanks, Bowl Games), I want to make it look like Christmas as much as possible.
I’ve started thinking about what Christmas is to me, what does it look like? It’s home. It’s bright. It’s merry. It’s special. It’s whimsical. It’s from the heart. Then I started thinking about what decorations embody those ideas and I came up with two pursuits:
As much as I like the stitched stockings of Pottery Barn and Garnet Hill, they would never capture Christmas for me like the original handmade stockings of my childhood. I couldn’t strip my Mom’s or Mimi’s mantles, so I began searching for Bucilla stocking kits online. And then my mom announced she is no longer in the stocking-making biz. #sadtrombone But, have no fear, Christmasholics! I realized you can buy them pre-made on Etsy and have them customized. Perfect. I’ve already found one and it’s on its way! Can’t wait to have it hanging…in just a few short weeks! (ha!) Joe opted for a traditional stocking…no whimsy needed, thankyouverymuch.
2. A collection of some sort
After ogling my great aunt’s, aunt’s and sister’s santas, snowmen and elves for years, I feel ready to start a collection for me and Joe. Unfortunately, a lot of the companies that made the decorations my family has been collecting are now out of business. I’ve had to look for a new line that fit the bill of bright and whimsical and I think I’ve found it in Jim Shore. Ironically, my sister started collecting him a few years ago, but she’s willing to share her addiction and I’m thankful. Just look at these beauties!
There are so many we like. I love the nod to quilting patterns and bold colors. They also have a line of Santas from around the world and Santas that depict popular carols. Too cute! I thought Joe and I could buy one piece a year, or something like that. I’m not looking to go crazy, just something to start together that’s “us” and “Christmas” all in one. And to brighten up the joint. To start, we chose the Irish Santa as a nod to our dual Celtic roots.
We’re well on our way. Just call me Marci Stewart.
What do you think? What are your traditions, new or old? Any Christmas decorations you think I should consider? What is Christmas to you? Or can you even talk about it yet? Oh, okay, fine…Trick or Treat! Please excuse the demon eyes.