Christmas Tour of Homes

I remember waaay back in December of 2006 when Boomama graciously hosted the first ever Christmas Tour of Homes.  (Actually, the very first one wasn’t even at Christmastime!)  That was back when the blogging community was relatively small and most of us weren’t nearly as busy as we are now.  I remember sitting around all week long, perusing all the gorgeous photos on blogs and leaving comments all over the blogosphere.

Then I remember the summer of 2009, sitting around my hotel room at the She Speaks Conference, while Boomama said she felt like she was ready to pass the torch, and my sweet friend “the Nester” volunteered to take over.  Now the Christmas Tour of Homes is located at The Nesting Place.  I have participated every year.

I almost didn’t join in this year, mainly because I feel like my pictures are much the same every year, but as this post took shape this morning, I decided that it just wouldn’t be Christmas around the blogosphere without joining into the Christmas Tour of Homes.

I think our house is FINALLY ready for Christmas.  It has been a slow process this year.  Usually we are wham, bam, thankyouma’am, and all set up on Thanksgiving weekend.  But I think I actually like taking our time with it.

You saw my fancy tree soon after we put it up, and now you can see it every day in my header.  I love this tree.  I could gaze at it all day long.

Each and every ornament has been chosen because I love it.

I decided NOT to put up my lighted village houses this year.  It’s just more work than I can handle. But last Saturday, we took advantage of the only over-40-degree-day we’ve had this month to visit a local tree farm and chop down our family tree. We rode in the wagon withOUT the horses because I am that allergic. A nice gentleman offered to take our family’s picture.

The kids had a blast, as usual.

Incidentally, I’m loving the Winterize effect in Picnik.

Turns out, it’s a bit of a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree. I don’t know what it is with trees these days, but in recent years, the boughs are so limp. The second we put lights on them, they drooped. Then add the ornaments and the cranberry garland, and, well, it’s a sad state of affairs. But if you stand back and don’t look at it too carefully, you can’t really tell, and it is lovely, in a retro sort of way.

I still haven’t perfected taking pictures in the dark, as you can clearly see by this photo. But you get the idea. Every ornament has sentimental value. Some are from my childhood, some from my husband’s. Many were handmade by his dad. Some I bought for our children, and others they made at school. There is a story behind each and every one.

Yesterday I received a box in the mail with a fragrant surprise — a gorgeous wreath from Maine, a gift from my mother. I had already ordered one from a local farm, so I hung one on my front door and one on the glass-paned door to our basement inside our house.

I also decorated our mantle with a swag I bought years ago at a Pottery Barn after-Christmas-sale and the tin angels my mom bought for me when we visited Williamsburg earlier this year.

The outside of the house is adorned with live greenery and white lights, but I’m not about to step outside in 20-degree weather to take pictures, so you’ll have to use your imagination.

I’m really enjoying the conversation about Christmas cards from yesterday’s post.  Keep ’em coming.  I started to type up a letter, and I may still send it to some, but when my Christmas cards arrived yesterday, I spontaneously started writing notes on the backs of each one.  I’m going old school this year.  It feels good.  It will take longer, and I hand address the envelopes too, always have, but I’m really feeling the tug to take back some of the Christmas tradition that we’ve lost in this digital age.

And another thing. Rather than cutting back on the amount of cards I’m sending, I’m sending more.  I’m sending to people that I’ve lost touch with, but that I remember fondly. We tend to cut people out once we stop seeing them, but I know that there were people that my mom only ever heard from on Christmas.  It was neat!  I loved getting those cards and pictures.  I don’t want to drop people from my list just because I don’t see them anymore.

Christmas cards were always my thing.  I always got them early and enjoyed the process of writing, stuffing, addressing, licking, stamping.  I don’t want it to be a chore.  I want to take my time and enjoy it.  So that’s what I’m doing.  With my cup of coffee while I sit by the fire and enjoy the glow of the Christmas tree.  It’s glorious.

How are you slowing down and enjoying the Season?

And did you participate in the Tour of Homes?  I’d love to check out your post, if you did.  There are, as of right now, 703 entries.  Go check ’em out!  Start at the bottom or in the middle and make sure to leave comments when you visit.  Spread some yuletide cheer!