In the December issue of Country Homes & Interiors magazine there is a lovely feature Be Inspired by Old and New (Photographs by Lucinda Symons, Styling by Sally Wortley and Holly Bruce). The editors have encouraged their readers to take inspiration from both the past and the present when decorating your home for Christmas this year. I generally find the piece so inviting and cosy and it reminds me of how my family celebrated Christmas's back in America but also in England when my grandparents were still alive. We seldom bought new decorations for the house but relied on our older traditions of using the things we had accumulated over the years or going to nature for decorations. I find that in my own home, I try hard to keep those traditions alive but also as we have a relatively new home we are adding decorations each year.
Our first Christmas in Ireland we purchased these lovely white trees that are electrified with white lights and they sit in our two big cobalt blue flower pots out in front of the house. They look simple and magical at night. The next year we found great faux pine garlands that we hang along the banister and along the mantle and believe it or not we actually bought a faux tree - I know, for those of you that know me, this seems very out of character as I've always loved a fresh tree but I actually enjoy it more because it doesn't dry out and drop needles everywhere, we can keep it up a bit longer and frankly it's pretty handy - it just lives up in the attic 11 months out of the year and then reappears for a month. Now I do make lots of fresh bouquets and a fresh wreath for the front door and fill our hanging baskets with greenery.
Sometimes I find it's the simple touches that make a room at Christmas time.
Our daughter is more and more into Christmas every year. This year she's written Sana four letters - one from her, one from our dog Sugar, (who needs a new bed), one asking him to help the people in Ireland who were affected by floods and another to Santa asking him to help the people starving in Africa. I'm so proud that she can think beyond her own needs and is reaching out in spirit to those less fortunate. I'm also delighted that by constantly reiterating that Santa only brings one big present (and maybe a surprise...plus our stockings, and yes Sugar has one too) that we haven't had to make any adjustments in the recession - and believe me, she appreciates that one present so much more.
As usual though, I feel Christmas has snuck up behind me quickly and I only yesterday ordered some gifts from Amazon in the UK but they won't be here until later in the month....just can't let myself do priority shipping - it adds €70 to the cost! So, a few people, and they know who they are, will be getting an extra part of their gift after Christmas.
Otherwise we are done......I'm hoping to cook up homemade gifts for all my wonderful neighbours and do some baking for my daughter's birthday next Tuesday but other than that I don't have any major cooking until Christmas Day when we are having my mother in law along with two brother in laws, my nephew and sister in law and her mother - I'm delighted as I love a full house on Christmas.