Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Corners of the Home: Christmas Decorations

I mentioned last week that the holidays this year have been a source of relaxation and comfort for me, and I decided to share some of that with you today, in place of my usual World of Wonder. I really enjoy reading the "Corners of the Home" feature that some blogs do, so you're getting a version of that here today. If anyone likes it (and tells me they like it), I'll do some more, non-holiday-related posts again soon. Even though my "apartment" is really my parents' basement, I'm proud of the choices I made during the renovations (I was living in Brooklyn while most of them were completed, so I can't say I helped much when it came to actually laying down the floors), and of the way I've made it my own since then. It's a cozy little nook all my own, and I really enjoy living here.

Now, onto the Christmas decorations. As I think I've mentioned before, Christmas goodies are my favorite souvenir to buy during travels, because they come out at a special time of year when I can think back on my memories of the trip, and when I can relish a little bit of kitsch, which I usually don't allow myself during the year. The felted nativity set to the right isn't kitschy at all, but it's still one of my favorite pieces. I bought it in Iceland in January, and even though it was more expensive than I wanted to pay, I'm glad I did, because a year later, I still think it's just gorgeous.

I have two other nativities set up, a porcelain one I've had since I was a little girl on my bookshelf, and a tiny one in a globe that I bought at the Vatican and had blessed by the Pope on one of the side tables. I'm not religious at all, but I like nativities because I like miniatures and I like families, and that's pretty much exactly what a nativity is. My mother has the most beautiful Asian nativity, and my grandmother had a very old, fun one with a stable included. My aunt made her a nice, all white porcelain set in the 90s, and I don't know what happened to her older set. I expect that it didn't survive the new nativity, though perhaps it's just lost in the attic.

I do have some of her vintage ornaments, though. They're extremely fragile, and I've already broken two this year (if anyone knows of some sort of coating I could paint or spray them with to make them a little stronger, I'd be most appreciative), so I display them in a holiday planter, instead of hanging them on my tree. They're made of such bright colors and use glitter as designs, and they're just a ton of fun. I have some of her larger ones that I haven't figured out how to display, as well as a set of Lenox balls. I like the way ball ornaments look, but I'm too big of a klutz to be trusted with them!

Most of my ornaments, instead, are plastic or wood, gathered from my travels. One of my favorites are the ones I purchased in England, little cloth dolls of Henry VIII and his wives. They were another too-expensive purchase, but I love them and think they were worth every penny. I also have a book ornament that my 3rd grade teacher gave me in 1994, which I treasure, and the angel tree-topper that sat on my parents' trees until they found the really gorgeous Father Christmas topper they have now. (Yes, they are where I got my obsession with Christmas decorations. My house is tame comparatively.) I'm hoping to raid their ornament collection one year in the near future, but for now, my tree is tiny, and I have just the right number of ornaments on it.

The lights I use on the tree (and in my "mantle" garland) are big LED bulbs, because they remind me of the really big, retro lights my next door neighbor always had. Maybe one day they'll recreate the amazing string lights she had that bubbled. They always seemed like a huge fire hazard, but god, they were the coolest. Other than that, the only thing I need is some mistletoe! I got a great big fake ball of it in 2006, and used it for a few years after that, but somewhere along the lines, I loaned it to my parents, and like so many of the Christmas decorations they've "loaned" me, it disappeared into their holiday collection.

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