Christmas Joy Throughout the House

I set a goal this year, of spreading Christmas Joy throughout the house by December 1. That way I can focus on other things during the holidays while enjoying a decorated home. This evening I switched over the décor in the living room, completing the house. Tomorrow I’ll finish the front porch and declare it all done. Goal met.

I’m writing my blog post in the living room as I admire flickering candles and the twinkling lights on Christmas trees. The sight brings me great joy and floods my soul with peace. I can’t stop looking around, or smiling.

Here are my five gratitudes for this day.

Christmas Joy Throughout the House

All That Glitters

I’ve had a fresh, undecorated Christmas tree in my living room for a week. Even without lights and ornaments, I have enjoyed the Fraser Fir tree, catching its grounding scent every time I walk by. Not once in my life have I had an artificial tree. I don’t mind at all if others do, I just cannot take that step. The scent, the imperfections, the way the heavy branches feel, all entice me to keep purchasing fresh trees. Yes, needles fall. And the water level in the stand’s reservoir has to be checked daily. I don’t mind.

My tradition with the tree is this…I hang ornaments on it that tell stories, stir memories and inspire me. Every year I purchase a unique heart ornament and something to represent the year’s symbol. One box is full of shiny ornaments that tell of past years. The butterfly, bird, dragonfly, lightbulb and acorn ornaments all remind me of my journey the last few years and how much I’ve grown.

The multitude of heart ornaments, in various sizes and made of differing materials, remind that my heart is the most important thing to bring along on my journey. I have not found the right heart ornament yet, or a representation of this year’s symbol. Hopefully tomorrow that is remedied. I’m grateful for the shining, glittering adornment on my tree tonight. Every piece tells my story.

Christmas Joy Throughout the House

Eclectic Finds

My chippy little entry table moves closer to the tree during the holidays and hosts an eclectic mix of found, gifted and purchased items.

One of the ways I create Christmas Joy in my home is by arranging interesting pieces together, that make me smile. The birdcage contains five red and silver votive holders while the birds perch free, outside the cage. The wire cloche is a favorite piece that I bought years ago. It holds different items for each season. During Christmas it’s full of tiny pine cones, woven wooden balls and white glittery styrofoam balls. A wooden block with Believe painted on it stands with a vintage wooden spool transformed into a tall skinny Santa.

On the bottom shelf a quartet of Santas share space with a large papier-mâché snowman. I found the squatty candle holder in a thrift store, along with the trio of Santas. That ceramic piece, that I bought for a ridiculously low price, is one of my all time favorite finds. I only stopped at the thrift store because a friend wanted to look. And I walked out with a treasure! These pieces bring me Christmas Joy and brighten my heart with gladness.

Christmas Joy Throughout the House

Aunt Roxie’s Box

I’ve written previously about this vintage treasure, that once served my great great aunt as a footrest. Read the story about the box here.

I repurposed the footrest into a decorative box, leaving the original paint. The rustic red box is perfect for a little Christmas vignette. Mason jars hold tea lights and three fabric trees nestle within in. Some sticks of cinnamon and dried baby’s breath complete the box. A metal birdcage candleholder and a little metal BELIEVE sign complete this fun grouping. I’m grateful for the memories I have of Aunt Roxie, a feisty petite woman who raised my grandmother and her brother after they lost their mother. I am honored to have her red box.

Christmas Joy Throughout the House

Something Simple, Something New

I’m always playing around with items and ideas. As I put the finishing touches on the room and carted out the empty Christmas boxes, I spied a ziplock bag full of small sparkly gold and red balls. I originally purchased those several years ago with the intention of displaying them in the wire cloche, mentioned above. The results were hilarious when I dumped the decorative balls into the tall wire container and then flipped it over onto its stand. The balls were too small. They “drained” out through the openings in the wire cloche, scattering everywhere.

I looked around the living room, seeking a place to use these brightly colored decorations. Instantly I received a visual download. I mentally saw what to use as a container for the balls and what else to display with them. That’s how inspiration often works for me…I get detailed images. They become the map that guides me.

I retrieved the items out of the storage closet and quickly assembled a new little vignette. The baby ficus tree is a start from the very old tree that died recently. It makes me think of Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy. The yellow bird candleholder and Bless All Who Enter mini sign are recent purchases. And the old blown glass pitcher, that I adore, was an incredible yard sale find. The red and gold balls did not escape this container. I love simple vignettes such as this one. I’m grateful for the inspiration.

Christmas Joy Throughout the House

Christmas Joy

Every tabletop, cupboard and shelf in the living room is decorated. An old wooden chair with a small round seat holds a third Christmas tree and a set of red ceramic birds. A white Christmas tree festooned with lights rests on a table near the front door.

My Christmas mug collection nearly overflows its customary shelf. Next year I’ll have to divide the collection, as I don’t see how I can possible squeeze in one more festive mug. The new gray cat cup sits front and center, as is fitting. My kitties approve.

Everywhere in my home there is light, there is beauty, there is Christmas Joy. Sipping hot cranberry tea, and admiring the fruits of my labor, my heart overflows.

Christmas Joy Throughout the House

That’s How the Light Gets In

As Christmas decorating continues at my house, one room at a time, the day’s gratitudes seemed to gather around Light. Leonard Cohen’s lyrics, from the album Anthem, came to mind.

“Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

Come and find the Light with me.

That’s How the Light Gets In

A Light Shines in the Darkness

Candlelight is a crucial part of my Christmas décor. When I light all the candles, after I finish decorating, they number in the 70s. I primarily use tea light candles and go through many packages during the holiday season.

Beyond just finding the flickering candlelight pretty and cozy, the tiny flames represent miniature beacons of hope in the darkness. I love filling my home with such hope.

The dining room, where I focused my attention tonight, contains more candles than any other room. My snowman collection fills this area and most of the pieces hold a tea light.

I’m grateful for each piece. Many have been gifted to me by my children, grandchildren, Mom and Greg. And one little pale blue snowman was crafted by my daughter Elissa when she was a child. Daughter Adriel gave me the snowman dishes.

Greg’s brother Ray, who passed away 15 years ago, drew the snowman picture when he was about 10 years old. I framed it a couple of years ago. Read more about Ray’s Snowman.

That’s How the Light Gets In

Vintage Metal Christmas Tree

This unique Christmas tree is one of my favorite pieces. After my sweet Aunt Annie passed away several years ago, my cousins allowed my mom, sisters and me to sort through boxes of items stored in my aunt’s basement.

I uncovered this metal tabletop tree, still wrapped in plastic and in its original box. Perhaps because it was so different, or perhaps because it reminded me of the silver aluminum Christmas tree that my grandparents had, that tree came home with me.

The branches fold down. White lights are already attached and when its plugged in, the tree glows with silvery beauty. I held my breath the first time I plugged the tree in and clicked the switch. And “Oooohed and Ahhhhed” when it lit up. I have no idea how old this treasure is, as I haven’t been able to find anything like it via Google.

I’m thankful for this special tree and the twinkling Light it casts into the room. Long may those little lights shine.

That’s How the Light Gets In

A New Space to Decorate

Unpacking the dining room Christmas boxes, I mentally decided which items to use and which to leave in the boxes. In spite of tabletops and shelves to decorate, I never have quite enough space to display everything.

Greg came to my rescue. He cleared a bookcase in the dining room, relocating the books to another area. Suddenly, I had three more shelves to play with! What fun.

Light filled this space too, in the form of candles and a lighted ceramic canister, made by my friend Beth many years ago. I’m grateful to Greg for gifting me with more space and I’m thrilled with the results. Snowmen share the shelves with a birdhouse, a metal globe, a vintage pocket watch and my mother’s WW II Wooden Shoes...a gift from her uncle when she was five.

That’s How the Light Gets In

Officially Christmas

I have a multitude of traditions surrounding Christmas. One involves a glass box, filled with tiny lights. This too was a long ago gift from my friend Beth. I’m not sure when the yearly custom began, however the lighting of the box signifies that Christmas has officially arrived in my house.

I purchase a new string of mini white lights each November, and remove the old strand. After adding the fresh lights, the box goes into its customary place in the dining room, and I plug in the string of lights.

Once I plug in the lights, they stay plugged in. Light shines from the glass box, a soft glow during the day and a true beacon at night that dispels the darkness. I lie in bed and appreciate the light that spills in through my doorway, knowing that all is well in my house.

The box stays lit until April, typically. And then one night, I turn out my bedroom light and realize total darkness blankets the room. My Christmas box has gone out. I always feel a bit sad when that happens, as it marks the end of the Season of Light. However, the darkness creates in me a greater appreciation for the Light when it returns in late November.

Tonight, Christmas officially arrived in my home. The box is a glow!

That’s How the Light Gets In

How the Light Gets In…and Out

One of my dearest treasures is a ceramic candle holder that my grandson Dayan made when he was a boy. It was his first attempt at working with clay and going through the whole creative process with it.

His art teacher was less than encouraging about his finished piece, something that bothers me still, to this day. In fact, she was downright rude, suggesting Dayan might want to toss his artwork.

Instead, my grandson, who went on to become very talented artistically, offered the candle holder to me. I accepted the gift with gratitude and appreciation for its unique beauty. The green container is on display in my dining room year around. At Christmas time though I drop a tea light into it and marvel at how the light delicately shines through.

As I lit the candle within the holder this evening, Leonard Cohen’s words came to mind.

Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering. There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.

Dayan’s candle holder isn’t perfect…few things in life are. And yet there is such beauty in imperfection, such delight to be found. His artwork contains little spaces, naturally, between the coils and blocks of clay. It’s through those wee gaps that the light finds its way out.

People are not perfect either…it’s safe to say, I think, that none are. And yet those places where challenges have created cracks and spaces and gaps are where Light finds its way in…and where our unique and renewed Light finds its way back out. Each of us, with Light spilling out, is a walking, breathing Beacon of Hope…if we allow the Light to find its way in and allow it to shine back out.

I’m grateful to Dayan…for his Light and for this precious, precious gift. I am ever so grateful for the Light that shines from each candle, each twinkling light, and especially from the green candle holder with its beautiful gaps. The Light calls to the Light within me and reminds me of who I am and of the Joy to be found during this season.

Welcome, Christmas Light.

That’s How the Light Gets In