Believe it or not, I’ve been told by some that I post too many of our hobby crafts on Facebook. That is why this post came about. Even though this is not a recipe, which is what my blog is all about, I decided to post this blog anyway. Over the past few months, I’ve received a few comments from friends – who will remain unnamed – asking me to not post so much on Facebook, and also a few comments from those who seem to think that we have too much time on our hands and are making them feel inadequate. But, we are creative people, and personally, I need that outlet. I am always scouring Facebook or Pinterest for ideas, so once we complete a project, I like to put it out there and hopefully inspire someone else to do the same.
So, let me share with you our 2014 Country Christmas in the City!
I love everything about Christmas. No, seriously… EVERYTHING! I absolutely love the decorating part of the season – and not just the tree, but anything else I can possibly make festive as well.
The wonderful smells from all of the cooking and baking makes Christmastime that much more special. Even though I’m not a huge fan of eating strong holiday-associated spices like cloves, ginger, and cinnamon, I love having our home filled with the aroma of fresh-baked goods.
Then there’s finding the perfect gift and wrapping it as perfectly and as prettily as possible and placing it under the tree. There’s none of this waiting until Christmas Eve to place the gifts under the tree for me, I do it as soon as they are wrapped. The Christmas season is way too short to follow tradition, instead, I make my own rules and do things that make me enjoy the short season as much as possible.
Since November 12th, I’ve been busy doing this and that to make everything as special as I can for the big day. (I always wait until immediately after Remembrance Day to start with the Christmas prep out of respect for our soldiers, more so now that my partner, john.e served in the Canadian Armed Forces a few years back.) I always start with the Christmas Tree. That seems to be the one thing that takes up most of my time. And many of my family and friends can verify that I will completely disrobe the tree at least once – if not twice – during the holidays just to redecorate it. I usually find an ornament or two that I like and add them to the tree after it’s been decorated. Usually, I’m not satisfied with the placement, so I’ll take EVERYTHING off the tree and start all over. It’s a sickness, I know, but I don’t want a cure! (On a side note, I only took the decorations off the tree once this year. I would have taken them all off a second time, but john.e wouldn’t let me do it.)
Since this is only our second Christmas living together, we have had to buy a lot of new decorations. All of my older decorations stayed with my ex wife after the divorce, and john.e was never that much into Christmas, so he came with little to the party. However, he does have a lovely collection of old ornaments from his mom. He has decorated a tree each year with those heirloom ornaments which I don’t interfere with; they are his and he can decorate it to his own liking. I do admit, it’s so difficult not to get my hands in there too, but I respect his efforts and let him be. So, the past three Christmases, this one included, we have budgeted to buy additional decorations. A big secret to what we’ve accumulated so far is waiting until after-Christmas sales, but of course the downside is having to wait roughly 11 months to put it to use!
Canadian Tire introduced an awesome collection of Christmas decorations this year under the name of CANVAS. Each ornament was very reasonably priced and most of them were constructed from “unbreakable” glass. I’m hoping this will save them for a long while because I tend to break an ornament or two every year. We picked up a few items, but purchased only red items to add to our existing bronze/white theme from the previous two years. Here’s a few pictures:
These other ornaments came from Rona. They were in the $6 range for each one which is why we purchased only 2 of them, but they worked well on the tree and represented our tastes very well.
There is also this very special ornament that john.e gave me last Christmas. It’s made of mercury glass and opens so that you can place something inside.
The rest of the ornaments were made up of miniature barn stars that I had tied a loop onto with jute string. Then there were some additional ornaments that we purchased at random last year – like a pear, an owl, etc.
That pretty much completed the tree. The star (Home Depot), which will certainly be replaced next year, and the few picks of red and white spirals (Rona), in addition to the rolls of burlap (Michaels’ Crafts) completed the main tree. Here are some pictures of it!
Next, there was what we refer to as our personal trees. john.e purchased a package of two artificial, 5 foot trees this year at Rona. We both got to decorate them with our own personal ornaments and touches. You will note the extreme differences between our two tastes. This is where john.e gets creative and can put his family heirloom ornaments to good use. I used a combination of ornaments given to me by my daughter, the infamous dill pickle, and some plush ornaments we had purchased at Target last year, and a few from Starbucks that john.e had in his collection.
The china cabinet is pretty much my domain. This is where I get to display our Christmas dishes (HomeSense) and where I can get a little creative and add some festive ribbons to our collection of jugs and pitchers. I’m completely in love with the red Christmas platter that has the white “Merry Christmas” written on it. That was a Target purchase this year for less than $15.
Next, we have the center piece that I put together for the coffee table. Last year, john.e purchased real birch logs and made the three candle holders you see in the picture. I basically added the red lantern (Target) and a few cinnamon sticks bundled together with jute, and lastly, some greenery that we purchased across the street at our local flower shop. We picked up the large pinecones at Walmart last year for $2.
We have also decided to capture a picture of us each year and place it in a tree ornament frame. The first picture is from October 2012. That was only a month after we first met. The second picture was taken on Christmas Eve in 2013.
We have a tradition of buying matching pajamas for Christmas Eve and watching Christmas movies. The pajamas are wrapped (by me) and opened after dinner on Christmas Eve. Next year’s ornament will no doubt have a picture of our 2014 Christmas Eve pajamas! Here’s a picture of the matching pajamas giftwrapped and ready to be opened!
Last year, we prided ourselves on a completely silver table setting. This year, however, we opted for a more Christmasy look with plaid prints, large red candle holders and candles, and a simple rustic pitcher filled with greenery and berries. I love how it looked in comparison to the plain, monochromatic silver from 2013.
This year, we decided to extend the decorations into the bedroom as well. This was so easy and inexpensive to do! We removed the comforter and left the white duvet only. We purchased a set of red sheets and 4 white pillowcases – two of them you can see with the reindeer, and the other two had only the antlers. The throw cushion and the decorative throw completed the look. We got all of the items from Simons in Montreal.
What’s left? Oh, yes! Our annual Christmas cookie drop to our wonderful neighbours. This looks like a huge undertaking, but it really wasn’t. Since we needed over 300 cookies, we opted to go with truffles since they are easy to prepare, can be frozen and thawed easily, and are not overly expensive. Over the course of 4 or 5 weekends, we managed to make over 300 truffles consisting of 6 different types, we made gingerbread men, and peppermint pinwheels. Then we assembled the cookies and truffles in these great Chinese food containers and tied them with an oversized bow. (We actually collected the Chinese food containers over the year. Just give them a good wash with a lot of detergent and store them without the lids so that they can air out, and you’ve got great mock Tupperware that you don’t need back!)
This is how the main area of our apartment looked when all was complete. I loved the look and the cozy comfort feeling of it all. I can’t wait to get started again in a few more months!
Lastly, I had to share with you our Christmas dinner. Completely vegetarian, but absolutely delicious! 🙂
I hope I got everything! 🙂 Merry Christmas! See you in a few months. 🙂