Deanna spoke the other week about needing to simplify her decorations for Christmas. In the end, she concluded that her decorative traditions gave her comfort and continuity. I agree whole-heartedly, to some extent (if that isn't a blatant contradiction) but I have been successfully pairing down the Christmas show these past few years. I have to qualify that by saying that I haven't actually given anything away yet (pack-rat that I am) but I am conducting a sort of trial run.
In years past my Christmas Villages were of primary importance, which meant clearing my bookcase shelves and bay window, collecting Dicken's houses each year, buying angel hair snow, etc etc. I had two different sets that I wanted to build on to leave to my children someday. In addition, every room and each bookshelf had a display - from a Christmas tree forest, to a santa collection. This plus the piles of presents that go with young kids toys, the tree of course, the lights and loaded frig.....
But now with adult children, the gifts have become simpler, the food traditional but less excessive (I mean how many Christmas cookies can the three of us eat in a three day weekend?) Somewhere about two years ago or so I looked around at my little 100 year old house, with its cozy rooms and Christmas tree squeezed in a corner and after all my careful work, it just looked to me like a mess.
So last year I put some simple greens in my Bennington Pottery, decorated my tree with only my favorite and most meaningful ornaments, stacked my childhood Christmas books on my coffee table, and made a table centerpiece from nature finds I had gathered. I hung bird feeders outside the kitchen window. I tucked a few little village houses under the tree in leu of piles of presents, and made a make-ahead egg casserole and banana bread for breakfast, so that I could spend time with my children. I think we stayed in our PJs until about 11:00. We played Scrabble in the afternoon. The Christmas tree forest became one little tree on each bureau upstairs, and the colonial candles went into the little colonial windows of my little old house.
And, if I do say so myself, it was perfect.
Have yourselves a merry little Christmas everyone!