Tuesday, December 9, 2014

No-Fuss Decorations with Memories

Little by little, I have been getting the house dressed for Christmas. As I age, I increasingly try to simplify my decorations, aiming for arrangements that won't have to be redone multiple times between December 1 and January 1. Even with simplifying, it is a lot of work to deck the halls. That said, I enjoy it because it reminds me of happy memories from Christmases past.

These silver trees have been used on table tops around the house. I purchased them at Wannamakers in Philadelphia on a shopping trip with my sister. That department store closed years ago, but when I put out these trees I can almost hear the pipe organ swells reverberating off the marble floors of that grand old store, and I think of the fun that sister and I have had over the years. This year the still- glistening trees found a place on our library mantel. I'm loving the simplicity.
 In the short hallway between the living room and library is a door to the lower level. Every year it seems to be the perfect spot for a wreath I made when we were first married. I smile when I remember how creative I had to be to decorate our small bungalow on my meager salary when my husband was in grad school. What we didn't have in the way of discretionary spending, we made up for in love.
The freeze-dried boxwood balls fill this bowl year around, but I added some small shiny glass ornaments in honor of the season. You can't get any simpler than that.

The tiny nativity set on our living room coffee table has special significance. Our first baby lived only a few hours. Shortly after he died, my husband and I took a trip to the Outer Banks. We walked the beach and cried together. On that trip, we visited the amazing Christmas shop on the southern end of the island and purchased this Mary, Joseph, and Christ child. Now every year as I put it out, I remember our little boy who looked so much like my husband, and I whisper a prayer thanking my heavenly Father for sending his Son to purchase eternal life so we have hope of seeing our son again.
Across the room, from the nativity are three angels made from antique lace and linen by a kind neighbor. These remind me of the three "angels" God gave us after our first baby's death. (My adult children will smirk at this.)
Over the years, we have collected quite a huge choir of carolers. We purchased the first family when we lived in Haiti. Our resident school teacher went home in the summers and worked at the factory where these are made. I gave "Miss Chris" money to buy some for us. She kindly added a pooch to the family to represent our little cock-a-poo. Over the years our choir has grown much as our family has.
Our Christmas tree is a vagabond. Yearly, it changes locations. This year we placed it between the kitchen and the sunroom. Happily, in this spot I can see it as I prepare meals! My sweet sister gave me the angel that sits atop the branches.
When our kids were younger, I bought the June McKenna nativity because children could handle it without breakage. The initial pieces to this set were purchased at The Charm House in Leola, PA, and additional angels and wise men came from Donekars, a family department store in Ephrata. Neither store is still in business. However, I sure do have happy memories of shopping at both places! :)
Three of the buildings of our Dickens village on the dining room sideboard were an anniversary gift from my husband's parents. When I set them out each year, I recognize their wisdom in affirming our marriage. My wise in-laws were simply following the Proverb, "A wise woman builds her house, a foolish woman tears it down."
On my dining room table is the simplest table arrangement I could think of--glass balls heaped in a large bowl. This does not wilt nor need to be watered!
 And what could be easier than placing some poinsettias in a footed brass cooler?
 A final touch of Christmas hangs in the kitchen from the oven door. (I keep easy-to-launder ones on the lower oven door.) I bought a red embroidered towel like this to give a friend one Christmas. However, the design stuck with me,  so I went back and purchased a couple more for myself. Now these cheerful towels remind me of that friend and my own folly. :)

There you have it, in no particular order. I hope you enjoyed a stroll down memory lane and a few ideas for no-fuss decorating.


  1. Your holiday home is festive and beautiful, Marcia! I especially love the village display of illuminated homes gathered on the sideboard - so warm! Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas!! Cheers

    1. And a happy New Year to you, Loi. I am sure you enjoyed decorating your Maine home!

  2. ...because it looks NOTHING like the trends we see on the internet which includes pinterest to HOUZZ and everything in between. Your home is a breath of fresh air and an inspiration to me.

    1. Thank you, Karen. I must admit simpler is better for me. :)