Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from Our House to Yours


The Tree


Special Ornaments


Collected over the years



Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Decorating Continues Indoors

Photobucket My decorating continues in stages all through to mid-December. After adding just a few decorations on the bare wreath at the side door, I decorate the mantle. I prefer using fresh natural evergreens, but since the boughs on the mantle cannot easily be kept moist, I use fake boughs. Just before guests arrive during the Christmas season, I always add a few fresh sprigs of fir to the fake boughs for a better effect.
In previous years, the thick candles decorating the mantle at Christmas time were always real beeswax candles. This year, to avoid having open candle flames so close to the wall, I decided to use battery operated candles that come with an outer covering of wax giving the appearance of real candles. In the evening, these candles radiate a similar glow.

Most of the remaining decorating in our house is done with fresh natural boughs except for the tree ornaments I have collected over the years. Last weekend we purchased the Christmas Tree at my favourite garden centre, Sheridan Nurseries. It is a Fraser fir eight and one half feet high. When buying a real tree it is always a struggle bringing it into the house and setting it up. It has become easier ever since we've had a swivel base stand. We bring the hard plastic trunk receptacle cover to the garden centre to be fitted neatly over the tree trunk. The people at the garden centre also loosely tie the tree to make it narrower for transporting. For further transport protection, the tree is placed into a long bag. When we get home all we have to do is make sure the base is ready and positioned in its designated place sitting on a plastic sheet for further protection of the floor. It takes two of us to bring in the tree bottom first. The base of our tree stand has a lever to straighten the tree in the event that it is not quite straight.

This year, we chose the perfect tree which took twenty minutes to put up from the moment we arrived home. Of course, adding the lights is the difficult part of tree decorating. A stepladder always helps. The lights are on the tree, and it is now ready for our tree trimming party on the 23rd when our dinner guests will help us hang the ornaments.

The Christmas cactus which began blooming for the American Thanksgiving continues to bloom for Christmas.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Decorating the Outdoors for Christmas

Christmas, a magical and spiritual holiday, takes place at the darkest time of the year making us want to add brightness to our surroundings. The anticipation of Christmas is almost as enjoyable as the Holiday itself. During the pre-Christmas Advent season, we do so many delightful things to prepare for the celebration. My parents never wavered in making Christmas a wonderful time for us, and many of the preparations that were repeated every year became our traditions I now share with my family. Decorating the outside of the house is one of the first things we do.

The weekend of the American Thanksgiving is my marker of the beginning of the Christmas season. It is the weekend I go to the garden centre to purchase the evergreen wreaths and boughs for the entrance doors and the outdoor planters. Except for the lighting, I limit the outdoor decorations to fresh evergreens and natural accents as much as possible.

Christmas,decorations,outdoor decorationsSheridan Nurseries,Christmas outdoor decorations

Sheridan Nurseries, the garden centre, has an outdoor area protected from the wind, rain and snow with heaters in strategic places. A welcoming pot of hot apple cider keeps the shoppers from becoming numb with cold. Sheridan’s choice of decorations is extensive and is always beautifully displayed. Their floral arrangers gladly help customers by creating outdoor or indoor arrangements ready for display.

Christmas outdoor decorations,Christmas wreath
I always buy ready-made wreaths, but I enjoy creating my own low-key arrangements for the planters. For the front, I found the largest wreath my door will allow. This year, my choice of wreath is one already decorated with cones and is made mainly of Fraser fir boughs with a few sprigs of bluish juniper, pine, and some cedar.
Two small cut fir trees are for the urns on the back patio.

Fir, pine boughs and pussy willow twigs fill the planters near our side door.

This year the earth was not yet frozen making the anchoring of arrangements in the planters and urns much easier than in previous years.

The side door is also welcoming with its small plain Fraser fir wreath that I will decorate with cones and some small faux red berries.

The last task is to add white lights to the globe cedars and square yew, the rooted living plants growing near the front door. White lights also light up the little fir trees in the urns on the back patio. This year we added timers to the lighting keeping in mind that many people in our neighbourhood walk late in the evening to enjoy the crisp fresh air and the seasonal lighting displays.

Now all that is needed is the dusting of real snow which we can expect naturally by Christmas time.

Christmas outdoor decorations,Christmas lights