I sit in the rainy aftermath of Christmas contemplating what was and notice that once the eye of the storm has passed, my experience of the Christmas just passed is in stark contrast to that leading up to it.
Christmas bears down on me in the lead up to the big day; it’s a messy mix of work, children, home and preparations. As an incurable romantic I very much like the idea of Christmas as it approaches (somewhere around November) yet it weighs down on me the closer it gets. I’m now considering how I can enrich and enjoy the full Christmas experience next year; embracing its challenges and charisma from woe to go.
This year I coveted a super stylish tree that beckoned me as it stood glamorously in a shop window near my home. I practically stalked that poor tree until my budget dictated that I drag our trusty imitation tree and decorations out from under the house. Yet as my toddler handed me decorations from years gone by and carols played in the background, I found a renewed love for our little tree and delighted in discovering that nearly the entire tree was covered with decorations resulting from accumulation over the years. With the fairy lights aglow our tree was complete and could nearly have brought a tear to my eye had I surrendered to the moment.
My travelling friend spent Christmas in Copenhagen and shared some beautiful photographs of Tivoli Gardens, which was simply resplendent with fairy lights. Europeans have had many more years to hone the art of decorating and we should take their lead; fairy lights create magic. And no coloured lights. Ever.
Along with our tree that embodies the heritage of our family, I added my own simple touch to a front door wreath, which made me smile each time I saw it. Social media displayed an array of ‘living wreaths’ made under tutorage at new florist Botanical that were both beautiful and inspiring.
In contemplation, it was the little things that showed someone else that I care that enriched my own experience. Carefully ironed linen napkins, presents wrapped with care, and gorgeous candles twinkling in the background.
My beautiful home provides perfectly for my family throughout the year yet Christmas is the time when neither my fridge, nor my rubbish bin or indeed my house ever seem quite big enough.
I’m reminded of useful ways to increase capacity that work all year round. A long rectangular ottoman works really well against a window or wall and doesn’t take up much space. It provides additional seating when needed along with texture and colour when upholstered in a beautiful fabric. Mix and match chairs work well around a dining table; to achieve a stylish look have either 2 of each kind or use only 2 different styles that work together. During the year, do not have chairs at either end of a rectangular table for a more sophisticated look.
Next year I propose our Christmas will be a full sensory experience going beyond where previously I have cooked, designed, tweaked, arranged and cleaned. I will go above and beyond my classic aesthetic, fragrant and tactile favourites, which include crystal glassware, linen napkins and Christmas lilies. Next year I plan to pay homage to the three wise men and their generous gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. With any luck this will include a trip to Oman to purchase all three.
With a vision of next year’s Christmas clear and magnificent, packing up the Christmas tree no longer seems so miserable.