Friday, December 18, 2020

The halls are decked (for Christmas)

In this most awful of years, it was hard to work up the energy to decorate for Christmas.  As the new stay-at-home order in Los Angeles loomed close, I briefly considered giving up on a tree this year, something I've done only once before, ten years ago when we were in process of moving into our current house.  Then, as dusk was falling just hours before the new order took effect, I dragged my husband out to grab a tree at our local garden center.  The tree subsequently sat on our backyard patio for several days before we finally hauled it into the house, where it sat for several more days before I finally decided to get my act together and hauled out the Christmas decorations.

So, starting with the outside front entry, here we go.

I purchased a basic wreath from the garden center and embellished it with Nandina berries and Pittosporum from my garden, along with a bow I've had for years and a few ornaments

Two of the ornaments, a Santa-like angel and a ladybug, fit the garden theme.  The rappelling gnome is the only one left from a group of four I bought decades ago.

The gnome on the left was pulled out of the garage where he spends the majority of the year.  Like the gnome, the dog-like gargoyle on the right got magnolia seedpods and berries to guard.

Stepping inside, the small front foyer has its own faux tree.

I put every bird ornament I have on this faux tree and placed my favorite bicycling Santa at its base

The natural tree sits in an open area between the dining area and the living room as we didn't want to disturb the cat by taking over the back corner of the living room where she spends her afternoons.

This placement avoided moving any furniture, or the cat.  The ornaments are an eclectic mix collected over all the years my husband and I have been together.

My husband and I made the three ornaments in the top row of photos above and the first one in the second row, as well as others constructed with sequins and beads.  The other two in the second row were made by my stepfather decades ago.  The red one bears an unfortunate likeness to the COVID-19 virus molecule but, with few of my stepfather's ornaments left, I couldn't bring myself to omit it.  The butterfly and bee ornaments, each part of groups of three, were purchased but they're also made of beads.

I have a lot of ornaments that can only be described as whimsical, some I purchased and others given to me by a friend who often includes one with her holiday gifts.  The raccoon ornament in the middle was her nod to my ongoing struggles with the troublesome beasts. 

I have a lot of ornaments that reflect light.  The most special is the heirloom ornament on the top left, which I dates back to the earliest Christmases I remember before my father died when I was six.


The cat was left (mostly) undisturbed.

Big yawn from Pipig (Swedish for "Squeaky") to emphasize that I woke her up taking this photo

Look of annoyance that I interrupted her long afternoon nap

While the tree is the main attraction in the living room (besides Pipig of course), I threw decorations in a few other places.

I've collected a few snowglobes over the years, displayed this year on the mantle my husband built following last year's home remodel

Another Santa with a friendly gnome/elf helper

On the fly, I also put together my first wreath using garden cuttings this year.  It's far from perfect but I learned a lot in the process of making of it.  My husband hung it on a narrow wall dividing the entry foyer from the kitchen.  I'll share more details regarding it in my Monday post.

After all was said and done, I can't really claim this is "Christmas-lite" but the decorations are a little sparer than usual.  No garlands, fewer ornaments on a smaller tree.  Very few presents under the tree as I direct-shipped most gifts to their recipients.  I look forward to more festive celebrations next year, when it should be possible to gather together again without risking harm to anyone.

I hope you find ways to enjoy the holidays even under the current circumstances.


All material © 2012-2020 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party




32 comments:

  1. Your house looks very festive Kris. Have been finding it hard to get festive but did make a evergreen Nordic gnome the other day for the front porch that I quite like. Feeling the need for a pared down Christmas this year but as long as you get to be with someone you love it will still be special. Best of the season to you and yours.

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    1. An evergreen Nordic gnome! I'd love to see that, Elaine!

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  2. Beautiful, Kris.

    I just wasn't in the mood this year.

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    1. I can't really say I was on-board for the holiday this year either, HB, but then some days lately I haven't even felt like getting out of bed.

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  3. Pipig looks very comfortable, thank you.
    Your childhood glass bauble reminds me - I think we had a blue bird.

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    1. It's funny how little things from childhood can stick with you. But then, that was the premise of 'Citizen Kane', wasn't it?

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  4. Outdoor lights are a must for us, but otherwise,no tree and very light on decorations. Tomorrow i'm taking an online class on making a Buche de Noel: made one for the first time last year and it was actually quite good! Even our foodie friends liked it. But this year I will try to improve, if only for the two of us....

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    1. We usually have a smorgasbord with family and friends but, as our holiday meal will also be just my husband and me, we're not bothering with that this year. I briefly thought about making cookies (which I haven't done in years) but I haven't moved on that idea, at least not yet.

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  5. Kris your house looks festive even if it isn't the usual. I can empathize with you. I didn't even try to shop for the most part. Very few gifts were purchased. Checks were sent to out of towners. Bah humbug.

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    1. I'm afraid my gift-buying was fairly perfunctory this year too, Lisa. Most of what I ordered for both family and friends were food gift baskets.

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  6. A beautiful job, Kris. The exercise of decorating, even just for ourselves, is worth it. Your wreaths are beautiful and I love the way the mantle looks. Tree ornaments each carry a special memory, opened once a year, they are a walk down Memory Lane, some more poignant than others. Sweet Pipig, give her a hug and kiss from me!

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    1. Pipig is an elderly lady now and can be quite demanding but I love her and will pass along your greeting, Eliza!

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  7. You are doing well. (Hi kitty!) I echo what the others said. My decorations are modest this year--it will just be my husband, me, and my dad; and Dad is nearly blind, so... That wreath is incredible, by the way!

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    1. The home-made wreath is largely Leucadendron, your favorite plant, Beth, so I expect you'd like it ;) If I'd had more wire, I think I'd have started it over, employing the lessons learned in making it but, as I didn't, I can only hope I remember those lessons the next time I attempt to make a wreath.

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  8. Oh, Kris, your home looks warm, inviting, lovely. I appreciate your not being in the spirit, it's hard this year but your decorations are amazing to my eyes. I love the stories behind all the ornaments. The tree looks festive and thank gawd you didn't disturb the cat. Phew.

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    1. Now, if only the cat would return the favor and stop waking me up by licking my face every other hour after midnight, Tamara!

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  9. I'm so glad you got a tree! Hopefully it's helping with a bit of Christmas cheer. Your heirloom ornament is beautiful, even without the added benefit of meaning. And WOW! I love your leucadendron wreath, well done!!!

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    1. My official name for that wreath is "The Learning Experience," Loree - next time, I'll use twice the amount of greenery.

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  10. Your Christmas decorations are so cute. That’s very thoughtful of you to leave a peaceful haven for your cat.

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    1. Pipig is very spoiled. She has three spots all her own at present. She spends her mornings (after breakfast) on the upper level of her catio (screened cat patio); her afternoons in the comfy bed in the corner of the living room where she enjoys the sun; and her nights on a heating pad at the foot of our bed. At least that's her winter routine ;)

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    2. Ha ha my cats loved their heating pads too. They each had one on the couch and under their beds on the back porch.

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  11. Very festive Kris! My adult children took over the duties at my house this year-I told them all I wanted to do was make a few flower arrangements and the wreath --the wreath forage activity was done this morning and I'll make it tomorrow. I wish I dared to get a cushy cat bed like that for Gilbert but what if she rejects it ?? They ca be so contrary !

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    1. Pipig likes her bed at times and utterly ignores it for long stretches at other times, Kathy. The logic of that behavior is only evident to her.

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  12. Ormai il Natale è alle porte e io ti auguro delle buone feste!

    A risentirci presto :)

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    1. Best wishes for a wonderful holiday to you too, Gabriel!

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  13. Kris which software are you using to put captions under your photos? I used to do that in Picasa photo editor but that isn’t around anymore.

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    1. I'm able to add the captions using Blogger's own tools, sweetbay. No separate app is required. In the compose mode, I add photos from my computer by clicking on the "insert image" icon. Once images I've selected from my computer are uploaded, I can click on each to reveal another menu. If I click on A (underscored), Blogger adds a caption space and I just type in whatever I want to add. If you're loading images using something other than your computer, that function may not be available.

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    2. Thank you so much! I have always written posts in html and had forgotten about compose mode.

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  14. Your home looks holiday festive! Looking at the photo of your living tree, draws one to the fantastic view of your gorgeous yard. Having meaningful ornaments makes decorating the tree send you down memory lane. I love how you used the variegated gray-green Pittosporum leaves against the dark green of the living wreath. I also love the Nandina berries on your living wreath. I have always had Nandina, but this year, I do not have any berries. Your leucadendron wreath is outstanding. Wow! It was your first attempt? Have a wonderful Sunday!

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    1. This was my very first attempt at making my own wreath, Kay. If I'd had more wire of the right type, I might have taken it apart and started over but I'm just treating this as a learning experience.

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  15. I imagine that you were pleased that you decided to make the effort Kris. I see what you mean about the spiky red ornament 😱 There is something most reassuring with hanging up or displaying decorations/ornaments given by family and friends and and I hope that they have provided you with some happy memories and comfort.

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    1. Christmas is most definitely a time to reconnect with our pasts, Anna. Charles Dickens had that right when he introduced the Ghost of Christmas Past!

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