Monday, December 7, 2009

Holiday Cheer (and a couple updates)

Happy Holidays! Like Annie, I am deeply in the spirit of Christmas, and hope that - whatever holiday you are celebrating after Thanksgiving – you are feeling some holiday lovin' as well. I'll admit that some of my eagerness is simply re-channeled anticipation, previously directed at my baby who has yet to make his or her appearance. Unlike anticipated birth days, the start of celebrating Christmas here in Sweden is an exact science: Celebrations start the first day of Advent, or four Sundays before Christmas. In Sweden, this is the day that everyone goes to church, whether or not they usually find themselves there. Advent is more of a secular celebration than a religious one, and despite the very high number of cultures that are represented by Sweden's large immigrant population, Christmas is pretty much the only holiday that gets a nod this time of year. And by “nod” I mean “all encompassing bear hug that overtakes every street lamp, person, store window, concert hall, and cafe table in this city to infuse you with Christmas cheer whether you like it or not”. You could try to resist, but it would be futile.

Anyway, I've attempted some Christmas decorating around the apartment, hoping to add to the coziness factor that was started with trays of candles and softer lighting as the shorter days descended upon us. In previous years, the highlight of my decorating expertise has been the boxes of tack I sprayed around as I planned for my office's Tacky Christmas Party. It didn't exactly scream “class” and “cozy” as I was going for in my own home. But with a little Googling of “Martha Stewart” and “Christmas” I got a bit inspired. Here's what I came up with:

My mom always has fresh-cut greens around the house at Christmas – on the mantle, on the dining room table, tied to the mailbox. She has the luxury of simply going outside and snipping away at the various pine trees and holly bushes that reside in our yard; I resorted to paying for these fine specimens, which felt a little ridiculous, but what can I say? I work with what I have. Also, I love LOVE these mini-pointsettas. A word to the wise: They really are temperature-sensitive! Since taking this picture, I've wilted two of them since they were in the direct draft of the cracked window. Good effort, I'd like to think.

I loved these berry sprigs the first time I saw them, and think they look great in this vase. It's also a nice change to the top of our microwave, which is usually filled with crap, like my keys and Keith's wallet and a bowl of random produce, from old bananas and pears to garlic skins and loose potatoes. I like this look a lot more. (Ironically, I bought these at our local produce stand, but Keith, when returning our friends' car we had borrowed the other night, parked right in front of a bush of this type... if I need more, I now know where to go...)

This was super easy... I wish I had a few more greens to add to the tray, but it will do. Every evening we will plug in our Christmas lights and light many tea candles (I typically prefer slightly bigger ones, like these found at IKEA) and this is a nice little addition to the table between our two reading chairs.

I've got a few more things going on around the apartment, but I'm not convinced I haven't crossed the line into “obsessive” and “tacky” so I'll leave my sharing to the above.

What's your favorite way to decorate for the holidays?

***In other news, here are just a couple updates for you on previous posts:

The closet doors have finally been completed, and we are loving the fresh look our room has now.

I received my four wet bags from The Pat-a-Cake Baby, and love them even more than I thought I would. The fabrics are so brilliantly colored, and the construction and detail is extraordinary. I was so in love with them that - since they won't be used until I've got some dirty cloth diapers to deal with – I hung them from our closet doors to add some color and visual appeal to our room. This lasted about two days until Keith got fed up with having to manually move each bag every time he wanted to open or close his closets. Fair enough. Now they are tucked away in our new changing table awaiting this baby... just like me (well, I'm waiting, not tucked away... never mind).


Erica said...

Those berry branches are really amazingly beautiful! They may not seem like much to you but they caught my eye as soon as I got to your blog!

kateisfun said...

Erica, I love them too! My kitchen is painted off-white and I have black decals on the cabinets (you can't see this in the picture), and the red berries against the black is really eye-catching, too.