Christmas decorating and a few of my favorite things

One of the things I like most about Christmas decorating is pulling out all the “special” decorations. They might not be the prettiest or coordinate with my homes colors but they are ones that are full of family history and have the most meaning. Now that my Christmas decorating is finished, I thought I would share a few of my favorite things.

My vintage Santa cookie jar, inherited from my mother in law, sits on the kitchen table and stands guard over the trays of Christmas treats.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

My grandmother’s champagne glasses are all ready for the Christmas Eve toast. They don’t hold a lot of champagne so the bottle is always nearby!

Linda Holt photo

Linda Holt photo

Our tree may not be magazine worthy or even blog worthy but every single ornament has some kind of special significance. It was either given as a gift, purchased while on vacation or hand made by the boys when they were little.

Christmas tree

This plastic Santa ornament has been on my Christmas tree for as long as I can remember. It was one of only two ornaments I asked to take with me when I got married.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

This paper origami whale has survived unscathed since 1991. It was made by a good friend of mine from photography school. Thanks Jill!

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Phot0

We’ve always loved this Star of David ornament, made by my now 27 year old when he was in the 1st grade. I guess it was the schools attempt at sending home a politically correct Christmas ornament.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

It must not have gone over too big because just 3 years later when my younger son was in the same class there were no more Christmas ornaments.

The angel at the top is over 30 years old. My husband and I bought her for our first Christmas when “Country” was really big.  I know she is really dated and every year I am tempted to retire her but I always end up giving her another year. For some reason my husband seems to be most fond of her.

What do you think, should I keep her going or replace her with something more my style?

My Christmas table is set and for the first time in a long, long time I went with a traditional red, green and white color palette.

Linda Holt Photo

The bottle brush trees and little figurines were part of a big snow village that I remember from my early childhood. My mom stopped setting it up by the time I was a teenager and after she passed away these few trees and figures were all that I could find of it. My favorite is the little skater and the glass “pond”.

bottle brush Christmas trees

Linda Holt Photo

I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

My Shocking Christmas Confession with Photos!

Several years back when I was still working full time as a photographer I used to have the most beautifully decorated house at Christmas. My photography business slowed down right after Thanksgiving and I had a full month to decorate, shop, wrap, and bake. I would spend hours at the kitchen table creating Martha Stewart inspired Christmas crafts and searching through my cookbooks to bake complicated and jaw dropping sugar creations. One year I made 10 fresh cranberry Christmas trees to give as teacher’s gifts. I can still remember my finger pain from pushing all those pins through hundreds of fresh cranberries.

cranberry tree

Now that I make my living as a decorator I am so busy this time of the year with clients that I have no time to decorate my own home. We did get the tree up but as far as shopping, wrapping, baking and decorating…to say I am behind is an understatement. As a blogger however, I feel huge pressure to show you photos of my spectacularly decorated tree and my perfectly decorated home. In fact, for the very first time in my entire adult life I have a shocking confession… My house is not decorated!

Yup, less than a week away from the big day and not a sprig of holly in sight.  So to take pressure off  myself and maybe help some of you feel less guilty if you too are in a similar “undecorated” situation I am going to bare my soul and show you what my house REALLY looks like.

My kitchen table that I wished looked like this:

christmas table

Home DIT

actually looks like this….covered with grocery bags and a wet paint chair on top.

orange chair

You see, I am in the middle of painting two kitchen chairs for a client that will be delivered on Friday.

My dinning table that I would love to have look like this

martha stewart table

Martha Stewart Christmas

actually looks like this

Really bad…I know. This mess is actually caused by my son who has just launched a new Boston food delivery service. He and his business partners have been working 18-20 hour days and splitting their time between crashing at the office and working on the website at my dining room table.

Our presents under our Christmas tree which should look like this

actually look like this

Totally embarrassing I know…so as you can see…I have some work ahead of me. My last client appointment is this coming Saturday so you can only imagine what I will be doing Sunday and Monday….or not.

I did have to laugh though as my poor husband in an attempt to help decorate, did this on our deck chair with the left over branches cut off the Christmas tree.

I haven’t had a chance to ask him but I’m wondering if he saw this image on my Pinterest board? Actually, I doubt he even knows what Pinterest is.

I hope you don’t judge me and I hope you got a laugh over my shocking Christmas confession. (In full disclosure I do plan on taking the presents out of the Amazon boxes and wrapping them)

Next year I vow to have a beautifully decorated house…with photos…I promise!

So are you done with your decorating? Anyone in the same situation as me? I would love to hear.

The Not So Merry Truth about Decorating for the Holidays

Wow, Dec. 16th. I know it is a cliche but where did the time go?   Well I don’t know about you but December for me is always  SO busy. When it comes to blogging, I haven’t even found the time to read my favorite blogger’s posts never mind write a post.  Something happened earlier this week though that compelled me to write.  I was at a client’s home and she apologized that her Christmas tree sat naked and unadorned in in the corner of the family room.  This client works a full time job, has two young children, 2 dogs, a large house and a husband who travels extensively for work. Apologize?? For what?? For not staying up until 3am every night in December to get all the decorating, cleaning, shopping, card writing, wrapping, baking, and Ho Ho Ho-ing accomplished?

Okay, let’s just talk about one of these chores: holiday decorating. If you are a blog reader like me, you have seen so many beautifully decorated interiors over the past few weeks. Designers, and bloggers have opened up their home and shown all the creative, beautifully styled, beautifully photographed, holiday decor filling their home.  They make it seem effortless and “the norm”  which makes some of us feel the need to apologize when the tree sits undecorated 1 week before Christmas. You do not need to apologize. Let me tell you the not so merry truth about holiday decorating…IT TAKES TIME…LOTS OF TIME.

Take for example  Tobi Fairley’s incredible beautiful holiday playroom.

 

Tobi Fairley's Playroom

Now Tobi is one busy gal. Do you think she actually did this one evening when she got home from a long day at work? Absolutely not. Recently while attending Tobi’s fabulous Design Camp, she shared with us that to accomplish her holiday decorating she has a staff of designers that spend days upon days decorating and then a professional photographer who spends days more photographing.

I recently attended a holiday decorating talk by my friend Monique of  Monx’s Design House. Monique is a professional event planner so she knows how long it takes to decorate down to the minute. She shared with us that her own holiday party for 30 guests takes 80 hours. That’s planing time, prep time, and decorating time. 80 hours! It got me thinking, so this year I decided to track how long it took me to decorate just a few areas of my own home. Here is the not so merry truth and why I haven’t found the time to blog.

 Wreath for front door:  1 hour 5 minutes.

 

Linda Holt Photo

10 mins. picking out wreath: 15 min. standing in line to pay for wreath. 40 minutes decorating wreath and another 30 minutes looking for wreath hook . (okay, I know that is my fault so I am not even going to count that).

Christmas tree: 4 hours,42 minutes.

 

 

Picking out “the one” :30 minutes. standing in same 15 minute line as with wreath. 12  minutes putting tree in stand and bringing into house (luckily I knew right where the stand was). Putting lights on tree: This is my husband’s job and he spent 4 hours stringing the lights while watching the Patriots game on TV. Okay there was some non productive time here like eating, drinking beer and yelling at the TV so let’s say 2 hours total on this. Putting the ornaments on tree 2 hours.

 

Entrance way:  3 hours.

Linda Holt Photo

 

Time was spent polishing the silver candle sticks, decorating the little silver bowls, and hanging the ornaments from the overhead chandelier.

 

Detail of the silver bowls

Linda Holt

 

Dining Table: 3.5 hours

 

Linda Holt


Time included polishing silver candle sticks, ironing the table cloth, stringing up the hanging ornaments, setting the table  (no glassware yet as that was all in dishwasher) and decorating the little tree in the corner.

 

Linda Holt

 

Summing it all up; putting a wreath on the front door, decorating the entrance way, decorating the tree and setting the table took a total of 12 hours and 17 minutes. Sounds crazy huh? I also decorated the living room, the kitchen and the mantle. I didn’t keep track of that time but I am sure it was at least another 4-5 hours.

So please be kind to yourself if your tree is still undecorated, the gifts are not wrapped (or bought as in my case) and you feel unprepared. It all takes time…lot’s and lot’s of time.

 

If any of you have actually found the time to read this post… How many hours  do you think your decorating took?

 

Lastly,  be sure to visit my Face Book page at  www.facebook.com/NewLightRedesign. I am posting a single photo a day  for 31 days of holiday inspiration and “eye candy”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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