I’ll be sharing more about our process of restoring our house in the future, a journey which will never be quite complete. But since we are at a good stopping point for now, both financially and otherwise, I thought I’d really give a go at decorating for the holidays this year. I’ve always done a tree and a few other things here and there, but now that the home feels clean and comfortable, I went quite a bit further.
A fantastic way to support a local farmer year after year is to purchase a fresh cut tree direct from the grower. And, it doesn’t have to be an entire expensive day of pomp and circumstance and hayrides…there are plenty of smaller outfits to be found, like Stout’s Tree Farm just south of us in Utica, Ohio. I scored this beautiful Fir with perfectly spaced branches, all for the price of $40 and an energizing walk up a hill, in and out in less than 45 minutes. In past years, we’ve purchased a tree from our neighbor behind us, who has a small but stunningly beautiful plot but has since retired from selling trees.
Never be afraid to follow a homemade sign advertising Christmas Trees with a painted arrow out in the country. You’ll find the best trees at the best prices, and probably make a friend or three in the meantime.
Christmas trees are fully recyclable, renewable, and promote good land stewardship and soil retention, as they are planted in grass fields often on hillsides where tilling intensive farming would lead to a great deal of runoff. Skip the plastic trees that lack the fragrance and unexpected joy of a natural fellow, and also add to the waste stream after it completes its life cycle. Real trees never go out of style.
I decorated our tree with vintage glass ornaments from The Rural Society, each year I look for a few more to add to my collection. A garland of dried babies breath that’s lasted a few years (but frankly, probably needs to retire after this year…it’s having a bit of a come-apart) and my ever-present German candle clips with white beeswax candles, lit once per year in a tense and ceremonious few minutes with several people surrounding to yell ‘smoke!, smoke!’ and quickly extinguish any errant fire.
Now, to the foyer. I’ve been wanting to decorate this staircase for years. It was the room that was abandoned to storage while we completed projects in less transient areas of the house…but finally, I have a mostly completed foyer (I’ll scrape and refinish those ceilings someday…) and a weird and wonderful garland climbing up and along the stairs. This garland is full of mixed cedar and juniper, beech leaves and curly willow, orange winterberry, and some dried flowers from the farm, and tied with the most brilliant and vibrant green silk velvet ribbon made for me by Kate from The Lesser Bear. She named the color ‘Absinthe’ and it’s just wonderful in every way.
Our bar also got some love. I’ve really missed evenings out at fancy cocktail bars, so I collected up many bottles and have gotten quite good at following other people’s cocktail recipes, especially the spirit forward lovelies from Proper Barkeep. John Wayne and I look forward to sharing my newfound skills with friends in the new year.
I went with some joyful Charlie Brown style lights around a cedar and magnolia garland with some red beech mixed in there too. I love the dark festive glow every evening in this room.
And of course, a good wreath. This one displayed for this picture on the studio entry door, but has made its way to the main entry. I made this one with cedar, box, fir and beech with green curly willow tips, and of course tied with antique white silk velvet.
Wishing you a mindful and warm holiday week and winter season.