Northern Mummy

General thoughts and wittering about all sorts of things

Decorations… at last!

on December 21, 2011

When December finally came around, it meant that the decorations could go up, as per my husband’s rules.  My birthday is 7th December and I like to have them up by then so we try to sort the tree out the weekend before and then add the rest of the decorations.  I never feel the house gets Christmassy enough, and it all tends to concentrate on the living room, so over the last couple of years I’ve been getting a couple more for other parts of the house (although as a friend said recently, it’s easy to go mad on Christmas decorations and start believing you need them, rather than want them, so I’ve tried to be restrained).

The last 2 years we’ve had our Christmas tree delivered to the house.  This has pros and cons – on the plus side, you don’t have to go out in the bad weather (as it often is, round here) to choose and purchase the tree and you only have to have the tree in the car once, to take it away afterwards.  On the other hand, you don’t know exactly when it’s going to arrive – I’ve been lucky both times to have been in.  Last year we ordered a Fair Tree which guarantees a good wage and working conditions to the workers who collect the seeds in Georgia (apparently all the seeds come from there, no matter where they are grown).  I do feel strongly about Fair Trade and will spend extra, as well as going out of my way, to buy products which are Fair Trade approved, but I was shocked to find that in one year the cost of the trees had gone up by about 40%, and we felt we simply couldn’t afford the extra cost this year (I was also disappointed that Fair Wind, who supplies the trees, didn’t answer my email about the increased costs).  We looked around and found that most other places were charging similar prices and were almost on the point of giving up and getting out our rather small and cheap-looking artificial tree (bought when we were first married and broke) when I found a local garden centre who were not only charging much less, but would deliver.  Obviously I was disappointed not to know as much about the tree’s ethical origins and I hope to support Fair Trees again in the future.

Anyway, enough of that.  Here is the tree.  My treeWe were pleased to be able to fit the blue chair in alongside it – it’s new to this room since last year (having been in the Butterfly’s bedroom, for want of space, beforehand – we got rid of the girls’ toyboxes in the summer and were planning on buying a chair to match the sofas we were also getting, so put this chair in to see how we liked having one.  Needless to say we never bought the new chair and love having this one here.  It has special associations, anyway, as an antique which used to belong to my husband’s late grandfather, and re-upholstered by my mother-in-law, his daughter, who has also since died).  You can see a corner of one of the new sofas on the right hand side – they are very festive looking, and have green blankets over the back, which we’re concerned we might have to remove after Christmas for fear of them looking too Christmassy!  The tree decorations are a combination of bought ones and ones the girls have made.  There was a time, pre-motherhood, when my tree would only have blue and silver decorations on, along with a set of glass icicles from Lakeland (about 75% broken now).  It looked beautiful and I was reluctant to give it up, but now I can see how much more of a family Christmas tree this is, and how much more history is contained within the decorations.  As well as the home made ones, there’s the reindeer my late mother bought for the Bookworm on her first Christmas (sorry, this post is full of late mothers, I don’t mean to be depressing but I guess Christmas is a time for remembering that kind of thing), the wooden stars my sister bought the girls with their names etched in (my nephew has a corresponding moon), the wooden bauble my parents brought back from Scandinavia, which comes in half to reveal a little wooden baby Jesus rattling around inside – at some point during each year’s festivities the blu-tack holding the two halves together will dry out, causing it to come apart, and the cat will try to eat the baby Jesus.  It’s tradition.

Living room fireplaceThis is another view of the living room.  Hardly Cherry Menlove, but still.  The little train on the lower mantel is another gift from my mum.  The pictures around the fire itself are the results of the girls’ breakfast Bible time activities.

I like this picture. Christmas hearts I bought these knitted hearts last year in Lakeland because I thought they were a garland, and when I got them out of the packet I found they were three separate decorations.  I’ve safety-pinned them together to make them more the way I wanted them to be.

Hallway looking outIn the hallway we’ve always had tinsel on the mirror and a wreath on the door (this is a counterbalance to the wreath on the outside of the door, which kept blowing away until we tied them together and did this).  But this year I saw a picture in a magazine of a lovely garland on a banister and newel post and was struck by how welcoming it was as the first thing you see when you walk in (until recently, the first thing we saw was a pile of coats on the newel post – they’ve been banished to a cupboard!).  So I got one from Marks and Spencer and tried it myself.  Stairs garlandThe key to securing it in exactly the right way, I discovered, was Christmas Garland Ties from the Velcro range.  It comes on a roll which you cut off to the right length and wrap around to secure the garland.  Unlike haberdashery Velcro/hook and loop tapes, it’s only in one piece which sticks to the back of itself, so doesn’t need to be attached to anything, just pulled tight around the garland and the place you want to attach it.  You could use cable ties or something instead, but this has the advantage of being green so it blends in.  It’s also reusable.

Dining room wreathThere was a wreath which matched the garland so I hung this on the dining room door, using a bit more garland tie.  We have an iron-storage system on the back of the door which I anchored it too.  Otherwise I’d have had to drawing pin it into place which would have been more precarious.

We’ve also made some more paper chains this year, for the kitchen and the dining room.  The kitchen is looking a bit sorry for itself over the window (we had a leaking shower scenario before the summer and are still in the midst of rectifying the situation, Kitchen decorationswhich is being done slowly, because that’s the kind of people we are) so I hoped the paper chains would cheer things up a bit, along with the Christmas towels and tea-towels.   The photo of the dining room looks rather cold and gloomy (taken at the wrong time of day) so I won’t bother putting it up, it’s only paper chains after all!

Finally I wanted to show you this!  Owing to the leak problems I mentioned above, we have been without a shower since Easter.  It’s OK, we have a bath and we’ve become adept at washing our hair with a jug (recently I even admitted defeat on the “having a shower by Christmas” plan and bought a nicer jug for the bathroom so we can put the plastic mixing-bowl jug bag in the kitchen where it’s been sorely missed!).  However, following the work done to the water-damaged timber in the walls and floor, and the minor demolition job to a silly stud partition which had formed part of the shower enclosure (and made it very dark inside), that corner of our bathroom is looking very ugly and bothered me every time I went in there.  So, drawing together suggestions from various friends, I did this.

The bookcase will eventually be for the mini-landing on the stairs where they go round a corner (my house sounds much grander the way I describe it here, it’s not and the mini-landing, which probably has a special name I don’t know, is about 2 feet square, but the bookcase is perfect to fit in, not taking up too much space and giving us badly-needed storage for our paperbacks.  I got it from ebay.  However, the storage has been badly-needed for long enough that another few weeks won’t make a difference, so in the meantime the bookcase is in here doing this.  Much prettier.  Merry Christmas, bathroom.

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One response to “Decorations… at last!

  1. cookingreadingsinging says:

    I’m so sorry about the pictures in this post. When I originally did it, they were nice and spaced out, but I went back to insert a “)” which I’d missed from one of my long parenthetical digressions, and afterwards it had gone sort of squashed up. I’ve no idea why or what happened 😦

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