12 Days of Christmas
Days 8 through 11
The 8th day of the #12daysofChristmas is about a classic…the Christmas tree. It is my firm belief that you can never have too many trees. Before we moved into our house we only had room for one small tree in our condo. I simply could not have put another tree in that condo without making it feel incredibly cluttered and uncomfortable. It was sweet and fun and I loved it. But now that we have a house, theres space for more holiday fun. So we have the big family tree in the living room, a smaller tree in the dining room, the two small trees in the boys’ rooms, and a teeny tiny tabletop tree on our dining table. I love having the twinkling lights all over the house, especially at night. And I love how they add cheer to every room. Now to drink hot cocoa while sitting in the glow of the lights.
On the 9th day of the #12daysofChristmas we have another tree, but this one is different. In our kitchen we have a wall with chalkboard paint (there will a blog post on my love of chalkboard walls at some point in the future, for sure.) The boys love it. And we almost always have a theme drawing up high–a turkey for Thanksgiving, a leprechaun for St. Patrick’s day, a cake and balloons for birthdays, and this year a Christmas tree for Christmas. The boys can still draw down low but the theme drawing decorates that corner for whatever celebration is on the horizon and acts as inspiration for the boys to begin to learn to draw more themselves. That corner turned out to be beautiful, festive, creative, and inspiring–exactly the type of home I want for my kids.
On the 10th day of the #12daysofChristmas it’s about…trees again…kind of…but not really. My love of Christmas trees and twinkling lights runs deep (as evidenced by previous posts) but today I’m talking about what goes at the bottom of the tree. I love decorations with history like those passed down in the family. But I did not like the country quilt tree skirt we had while I was growing up and was sent to me by my mother when we had our first big tree. Then I saw an amazing “why didn’t I think of that” idea on @realgirlskitchen blog. Check out her California Christmas blog entry earlier this month to see how cozy and beautiful her tree looks. And look at the difference in our tree with the green & white check blanket, which we already had, (and a train track for the boys). I will be on the lookout for a fuller, more textured throw for next year but much prefer our new tree skirt to the quilted one that didn’t speak to me at all. Your home, your clothes, your holiday decorations should be a reflection of you.
On the 11th day of the #12daysofchristmas we have the small (and sometimes forgotten) spaces. I am a firm believer that no front door should be without a wreath during the holidays. Our lovely wreath is a @llbean wreath that my uncle sends us each year. (FYI this is a great gift idea; I look forward to receiving it every year.) I also believe that every space should be sprinkled with holiday love. From the shelf up high to the cup rack and the window over the sink, I want to see Christmas everywhere I look, even if it is only a small reminder.
12 Days of Christmas
Day 7…a family tradition
The 7th day of the #12 days of Christmas is about tradition as much as decoration. (I like family traditions…a lot.) This year is the first year my boys have small trees in their rooms. They were so excited about the trees and twinkle lights, but even more so when I told them that I had bought an ornament for each of them every year at Christmas and they could hang their ornaments on their own trees if they wanted. It’s a Dwyer family tradition. And it is one of the greatest. Growing up my mother would put a new Christmas ornament by everyone’s seat each year for Thanksgiving dinner. It was a festive favor for any guests we had and an amazing tradition for the kids. It was something I looked forward to each year, as these ornaments went on the small trees we each had in our bedrooms and meant by the time we became adults we already had a collection of meaningful ornaments. By the time we left our parents’ house we would be ready to decorate our very first Christmas trees in our own homes. I love that in doing something so small each year, my mother really was doing something so big. It never occurred to me as a young child that each ornament was part of a larger plan, but I was so grateful when I got older and put up my first tree that I did not need to spend a fortune on ornaments and my tree was covered in beautiful memories. I still hang those same ornaments on the tree each year with my kids. And while I never host Thanksgiving dinner, I love the tradition so much that I have bought a new ornament for each of our sons each December and presented it to them before adding it to our tree. You could also give an ornament as a present for the feast of St. Nicholas if you celebrate that or have your elf bring an ornament for each child every year if your an elf on the shelf family. Or you could add an ornament to the gift wrap on a present to each child on Christmas morning as my grandmother used to do (she may have been in on the plan or she may have just been super fun and festive, she was probably both). But it is a tradition I loved as a child and continue to love as a momma.
12 Days of Christmas
Days 5 & 6
I planned on writing up the blog posts for #12daysofChristmas in three posts each covering four days, but I have decided to update the blog more often so I can share a little more than the small entries I write for Instagram and Facebook. While many of the Christmas decor ideas I share are to inspire the holidays to be as festive and beautiful as possible, others are inspired by something greater, like family traditions (make sure to read day 7) and the true meaning of Christmas (check out day 6 below). I hope my ideas inspire you not only to decorate your home (or office or any other space you live, work, breathe) beautifully but to truly enjoy this special time with your loved ones and begin some traditions of your own. Now onto days 5 & 6…
For the 5th day of Christmas we’re talking tree decorations. I strongly believe each Christmas tree should represent all of a home’s inhabitants and there should be a good mix of old and new. Our family Christmas tree has ornaments passed down from parents and grandparents, others that represent my husband and my alma maters, some bought from our favorite vacation destinations, & some that were made with our boys. There is also a good mix of new ornaments that are just fun, beautiful, or deemed necessary by our boys (i.e. Thomas the tank engine). The tree is a beautiful representation of our whole family (big lazy dog included) and what the season is all about: love and gratitude.
Day 6 of the 12 days of Christmas is celebrating the nativity. If Christmas is a religious celebration for you, as well as a secular holiday, a nativity is a must. It is a great way to begin talking about the birth of Jesus with your kids while they are still young, but the nativity is also a visual reminder of the true meaning of Christmas. And it is a reminder that we could all use from time to time throughout the holidays as the craziness and stress of all that needs to be done becomes overwhelming and can impact our attitudes and behaviors towards others. In our home the nativity is mix and match, of course. The basic nativity was a present from friends and is supplemented perfectly by the three wise men made by my mom from discarded chair legs. I love these three wise men. And every Christmas they remind me to be thankful for the absurdly creative mother I am blessed to have.
Have you noticed themes to my decorating style? If not, you will over time. Just in the #12daysofChristmas posts there is at least one theme repeating: DIY, one of a kind items.