I participated in BooMama’s Christmas Tour of Homes last year (and I’m not even going to link to that post – you can go hunt in the archives if you really want to – because it was posted on my old site in Blogger and I never did get the photos to align properly) and it was a lot of fun. So when I heard that she was hosting it again this year, I had to sign up.
For one thing, I really love the Christmas season. It starts for us after Thanksgiving dinner, when we break out the Rubbermaid bins and start decorating. I love the planning – I have lists of gifts to make and to buy, lists of things to do, lists of food to buy and prep and cook. I love the music; I was so happy when a local radio station switched to 24/7 Holiday Music two weeks before Thanksgiving. I love the special events at our church, the decorations in our neighborhood, the way even the surly checkout girl at the grocery store smiles a little more. I love it all!
For another thing, this year is special. We moved into our first house this summer, and this will be my first time decorating this place for the holidays. We’d planned a lot of big new things – our first live tree, plenty of garland for our staircase, and some simple and tasteful outdoor lights. The budget crunch put the kibosh on those plans, though, so we’ll try again next year. This year turned out to be all about using our old, beloved decorations in new places.
Come on in!
We live in a bi-level, so when you walk in our front door you’re standing on a 4×6 landing with two sets of stairs to choose from: up or down. The entry landing has these little touches-of-Christmas.
Come on down the stairs into the playroom. Now I swear, y’all, this is what it honestly looked like this afternoon. (We played a rousing game of “pick-up” this morning and Smooch was SO into it.) I have a little family of snowmen on the ledge there on the left:
And a snowman throw I picked up cheap-after-Christmas from Current last year on the sofa, plus a few snowy picture frames (above the DVD shelves that I built! With my own two hands! When we moved in here!) and another snowman down in the corner. Smooch doesn’t say “snow” or “snowman.” He calls them “shoo-sha”. We don’t know why. When we correct him, he cocks his head to one side and gives us a look and repeats firmly, “Shoo.Sha.”
Let’s go upstairs, now, shall we?
My kitchen is home to quite a few shooshas. The tart warmer burns Yankee “Sparkling Pine,” of course. The recipe clip has a snowman at the back (covered up by my Christmas cookie recipes, sorry!) and the spoon rest was a gift from my Mom.
Notice how I don’t have to let you see the mess on my kitchen counters? I love the internet. Come tour my home! I won’t even clean up! The snowman cookie jar was a wedding present from my Grandma, but the lid/head got broken last year so now I’m afraid to use it with real cookies. What if someone accidentally ingests a little sliver of ceramic? Yikes. Up on the cabinets it goes.
Smooch’s “Little People” nativity lives on the kitchen island. I confess to gathering up the pieces – it didn’t look like this earlier today. But in the spirit of being Real And Honest, I didn’t put away our library bag, my purse, or Smooch’s shoes and jacket. Because you’re my friends and you won’t judge me. The cow and camel aren’t present because they are Smooch’s new best friends. In fact, Camel came with us to the library and Old Navy this afternoon.
My nativity – by Willow Tree – is atop my pantry cabinet this year. Apparently the opening and closing of the doors have spun poor Joseph right ’round, ’round, ’round.
To the left of this picture is our dining table and through that doorway there is the living room.
And in the living room? Our pitiful little Christmas tree again. (I really, really, dislike this tree. But it’s the one we already had, so I’m stuck with it. But one of these years…. we’re getting a live tree for up here and this one will go in the playroom.)
And to the right of that rocking chair is the little half-wall that overlooks the stairwell and entry landing. It’s my make-do “mantle.” And see that middle stocking? When Smooch pulled it down the fourteenth time, the (very heavy) stocking holder fell off the wall and landed on his big toe, corner first. He has a small black spot in the center of the nail bed of the big toe, and every time we take his socks on or off, he tells us, “Ho-ho-ho. Boo-boo!” in a terribly pitiful little voice.
Now then, want to follow me down the halls? All the doors have something Christmas-y, again this year.
And the last stop on our tour is in my room. My mom gave me this nativity set for our first Christmas (three days after our wedding). She made it herself, back when she was single & in the Army. (Not sure why that’s relevant, I doubt that the majority of GI Janes are out firing up ceramics, but whatever. That’s how she tells it.) I remember getting this set out of our Christmas decorations every year when I was a kid – how carefully she would unwrap each piece and how cool it was when I was old enough to help set it up.
On your way out, won’t you take a cookie? The lady at the Starbucks drive-through this afternoon told me, officially, that NOTHING YOU EAT IN DECEMBER HAS CALORIES. I raised my cup of Gingerbread Latte and cheered. And then I came home and ate three of these cookies. I do hope she was telling the truth.
P.S. I think –though I’m not certain– that if you click the pictures, it will take you through to Flickr, where you can see the notes I’ve written on most of them. 🙂