Decking the Halls

Today I found myself sitting in a chair, and staring at my Christmas tree for a very, very long time. It felt luxurious, to sit and stare like that. George slept soundly on the couch, while James slept under the window. I almost made my mom’s hot chocolate recipe so that I could make the experience even more perfect, but instead I pulled out my camera and began documenting nearly every inch of decorated space. In a few weeks, all of this will be transformed back to the ordinary, so I want to remember our first Christmas back in Birmingham, where we had a snow day, and where I helped Trey dress while he was recovering from surgery.

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My coffee table this month held a candle that smelled of frankincense, a bowl of my favorite polaroids from past Christmas seasons, the most gorgeous gift tags that I saved from a gift from a friend, and my Christmassy books.

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Trey picked out this vintage edition of The Night Before Christmas, and I love the quirky printing.

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This is the book that I picked last year that took one of my favorite stories and made it swirlier, twirlier, and sweeter than I had ever seen it. I always felt that I related to the heroine in The Nutcracker. Her brother broke her toys, as did mine. Some editions have her named Sarah, others Marie, others Clara, others Maria, but I’ve always felt that I related to each and every version of her.

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One of my all-time favorite Christmas books is I Spy. I remember making my older brother sit and look at it with me. He had one page, I had the other, and we would spend hours, laying on our bellies in the floor, searching and searching.

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This year, I dried oranges and hung them all over our tree. I love the way that the light shines through them, resembling stained glass. Years ago, Trey and I made cinnamon ornaments that are still holding up, despite moving many times. Last year, we filled clear glass ornaments with paint on our anniversary trip, and one of those can be seen here.

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This year, we spent part of our anniversary scouring antique stores for antique sheet music and antique Christmas post cards. We found a treasure trove, and I stocked up.

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Below are a few of my favorite finds, a page from a book showing Santa Claus stuffing stockings, and a postcard featuring a giant Christmas tree with a city skyline behind it. I have these displayed proudly beside a photo that I took of my grandfather with film years ago. It was one of the last times that he grilled for all of us, and I sat outside with him while he sang to me and told me stories while the smell of charcoal filled the cold air. I recorded these conversations, but I can’t bring myself to listen to them yet.

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Below is a closeup of the vintage stamps that a friend used on a Christmas card sent to us years ago. She put so much work into her Christmas cards that year, even hiring someone to write everyone’s instagram names in calligraphy! This is a prized possession of mine, and it brings me overwhelming joy when I see it.

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I strung up more dried oranges in a window with my “Merry and Bright” banner. I love love love these dried oranges, and I’ll hate to see them go.

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I’m spending the rest of today curled up on my couch, surrounded by the home I’ve made, and deeply appreciating all of it. It’s making these cold, January days feel so much warmer.

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