Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Deck the Halls

It’s Christmas Eve! I love the holidays, and I so often find myself wishing that time—which is already a precious commodity—would slow down so I could enjoy the preparations and shopping even more than I already do.

I especially love to decorate for the holidays, even though I’m not particularly creative in that area. But by combining some natural greenery with everyday things I have in my home, I can decorate almost nook and cranny...on a shoestring!

Here’s a smattering of the things I use, starting with locally collected holly and cedar boughs, an assortment of cones, various glassware items, and a selection of floating candles.

I found this metal moose-and-tree sleigh at a Boxing Day sale several years ago. It’s quite plain looking until it has been lined with cedar and filled with cones and pillar candles. In this picture it’s on top of the china cabinet but I might also use it as centrepiece for one of our holiday meals.

This big sea-green bowl is lined with more cedar and filled with pears (the fake kind from the dollar store) and pine cones. I think there are some redwood cones in there, too, and when we decorate the tree later today, I might add a few colored glass balls.

I really love this combination. The footed glass bowl is from a secondhand store, and I use it year round for fruit, flowers, etc. Here it’s filled with water that floats holly leaves, holly berries and a floating candle. It might be hard to tell from the photo, but it's a green Christmas-tree-shaped candle.

Continuing with that theme, this cylindrical vase is also filled with water and holly branches and topped with a floating candle. This is a deep red beeswax candle. Could anything be simpler?

My daughter suggested using wine glasses as candle holders, and I think it’s a great idea! Right side up or upside down, they make fun tea light holders. Add a few sprigs of greenery and I’m done! This arrangement is on the window sill above the kitchen sink.

For me, Christmas is all about creative fun and a festive home filled with family. If I can accomplish that with relatively little fuss and bother, great. If I can do it on a shoestring budget, even better!

How do you decorate your home? Any last-minute tips for sprucing up the house?

Wishing you a happy, happy holiday!

Lee’s blog
Lee’s website


Gillian Layne said...

Merry Christmas Eve to all of you, and a huge thanks to all the American Harlequin authors who provided all the happy reads for us!

I love your iron holder--I think it's beautiful, but that upside down glass candle holder is brilliant. I never would have thought of that, what a cute idea!

Lee McKenzie said...

Thanks for reading American Romance, Gillian!

The metal holder is one of my favorite pieces. Over the years I've collected lots of moose-and-tree themed holiday decorations.

My husband, who is a metal sculptor, made a pattern from one of my moose candle holders, enlarged it, and cut a pair of two-foot-tall moose from sheets of steel.

Those two now have a lovely rust-colored patina, and we're the only house in the neighborhood with moose flanking the front walk!

Anonymous said...

Lee, you've done such a beautiful job! I bet your whole house looks wonderful – and smells great, too!

I love to cut hawthorn, snowberry and wild rose branches from the roadside hedges just outside town and display them in tall vases on tables draped with my great-grandmothers' embroidered cloths. Your bowl with the cedar and cones reminds me of that.

I also love to cut juniper branches from the shrubs in my front yard – they add a wonderful spicy scent to the house, on top of the fir from the tree.

And right now, I'm going to put a pot of water and a couple of chai teabags on the stove to make the house smell like cloves and cinnamon and cardamom!

Happy holidays!


Ros said...

Lee, you are so wonderfully creative (as is your daughter)! Your ideas are simple to put together, but so effective. I have a lot of fir trees around our place, but sadly no cedar. I love the look of cedar boughs at Christmas. I like to gather up fallen fir (and if I'm lucky, pine) branches with salal and oregon grape, and make a swag for the front door. I also have a pretty glass bowl that I put silver Christmas balls in, and sometimes I line it with holly or salal first.

Thanks for sharing all your decorating ideas. I might just steal some. :) Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and all the best in the new year!

Gillian Layne said...

Lee, please post a picture of your moose sometime! I would love to see them.

Anonymous said...

Super photos Lee. Your house will be very festive.

All the best to you during this Christmas season.


Estella said...

Happy Holidays, Lee!

Lee McKenzie said...

I'm with you, Rachel. I love a Christmas-scented house. Tomorrow is my favorite day of the year, and I'm already longing for the smell of roast turkey and stuffing!

Lee McKenzie said...

Ros, I don't have any cedar in my yard, either. Years ago my husband and I discovered a place - a public forest that isn't a park - that has lots of cedar and holly. Our annual visit to that special place has become one of our holiday traditions.

And no need to "steal" any of my ideas. If you like them, please consider them a gift.

Have a wonderful holiday!

Lee McKenzie said...

Gillian, I'll try to remember to post a picture of the moose on my personal blog, "The Writer Side of Life," sometime after Christmas. Right now those moose are up to their withers in snow, which is most unusual for the Pacific Northwest!

Lee McKenzie said...

Thanks for stopping by, Jodie! I hope you're having a wonderful holiday!

Lee McKenzie said...

Thank you, Estella! I hope your holiday is everything you wish for, and more.