Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I'm trying, in the few shorts scraps of time I can find, to get some Christmas decorations for our house! I've even started "test driving" decorations to see how things might look and where they might go.

So far I've been buying things in $20 increments...a few balls and a wacky green tinsel tree here, some candles and a tablecloth there. Yesterday I bought a lovely white "Hotel" tablecloth at Pottery Barn (it was considerably more than $20) which I really like as it's good quality, will last forever and have regular use, and is fine but not so exquisite that I'll be afraid to use it (photos to come...)
I've also been hitting the church bazaars and picked up this cute little gold tree (star on top) for $2.50. Plus, I got a couple of wee hand-made woollen folk ornaments (oh, and a few sweets in case I don't get all my baking done!)

I don't have a lot of Christmas "stuff" accumulated since I always went *home* (to my parents' house in New Brunswick) for Christmas, where my mother has boxes full of lovely items that we sorted through each year and used to decorate. She has many inexpensive things as well as lots of finer things, but all tasteful and good quality, as much of it is older and unique and tastefully traditional. They have a cottage style house, so everything she puts up seems to look sweet! Plus, she is a firm believer in the "after" Christmas sale and has picked up many gems over the years!

Now that I'm finally doing Christmas in my own house, I can no longer get away with the single girl "wreath and mini-tree combo" as my sole contribution to the decor world.

(this rug will be replaced, even if the cat does like it)

My cat doesn't care what we do for Christmas, as long as it involves naps. But I'm feeling harried trying to decide on colour schemes and styles. I want it all to look "put together" but I also want it to be honest and real and simple. Who knew there were so many styles of ornaments - rustic, modern, traditional? Even choosing a wreath is a nightmare. I don't want a black feather one, and I don't want birch bark. Oh, and I have an issue with red (the rugs are pink, so red is a no-no) and don't want gold (the house is rather dated with brass fixtures and knobs and switchplates, which I'm desparately trying to eradicate)!

What pressure! What choices!

First, I don't want to spend a ton of money. I'd prefer to buy a few things each year (and preferably shop after Christmas this time, now that I know what I need) and get the fancier ornaments on sale! I'm not a cheapskate (au contraire), but I don't like waste. I don't want to buy a lot of things this year and decide not to use them next year. That's just how I am. I don't like wanton consumption, as much as I want my house to be lovely! And I'm not crafty enough, or have enough time on my hands, to make my own decorations, as much as I would enjoy it.

So what colour? What I buy this year needs to work in the future once I've re-decorated the room. The living/dining room is painted Green Apple, I think it's called. According to the cans in the basement, it's a Farrow & Ball colour, which would be very posh except it's much too "apple green" (a.k.a lime) for my tastes. I will change it eventually...something off-white I think...since my sofa and chair are green and they're are staying put. Right now it feels like a fruit basket with green furniture and walls. The dining room rug (inherited) is pink (see photo below)! Not my first choice but I do like it and since it's a good quality wool, it's staying! The living room rug is also pink (see cat above), but it's gotta go! It's faded and pastel-dull and I want to replace it with something lighter, perhaps a grey-beige or ivory colour, to match the future walls. So the room will eventually be ivory with green and rose (and taupe), I hope.

By the way, we have a new console table coming from Ethan Allen this week, which will replace the dresser (near the green armchair in the living room) in this photo...

(this rug stays)

So with all this present and future colour, I can't use red!! It will clash! Too primary! So RED IS OUT, even if it is Christmas and I am sorry to say that. Luckily every damned thing at Pottery Barn is red this year. No more shopping there for me!

So I decided on this apple green and white as my colours, with silver accents. I'm using regular and pearl white balls and taupe-y pink/pearl/oyster coloured things too because they work with the rug.

Now comes the problem of a tree. David and I both have small collections of disparate ornaments, ranging from hokey cartoons to an elegant cloth ornament from England to traditional vintage Santas. To pull it all together, I want a tree with white lights and very little else besides pearly-white and silver balls and some apple green ribbon maybe, which will make a nice backdrop. I've even bought white ribbon to thread on several of the varied ornaments to try to "bring it together". Now the problem...David wants coloured lights for the tree! You know...red, green, blue, yellow, pink! ARGH! He really wants them. This is his contribution, he says! But this won't do. It will be garrish and visually jarring, and as much as I love him and respect the trashier aspects of Christmas, it could be ugly. The room is already busy and vaguely sugar-sweet. And what about my posh new green and white/pearl/pink stuff?

Whatever shall I do? I worry about this daily. Important office-thinking is being replaced by frightful daydreams about blinking blue and red lights on my tree.

Please advise. Tell me it will be okay. Make it better.


  1. Loved the glimpse into your home! The green and silver will be very pretty!

  2. solution, two trees. your pretty white light one in the living room, and a smaller milti coloured one in another room.

  3. I understand your boyfriend's attitude!

    Do you ever read 'the Inspired Room' blog? Melissa had some postings in Christmas decorations over the past few months. I am at the point now where I pull out my absolute favorite ornaments and decorations...and do not even bring out much of the other 'stuff' that I have accumulated over the years.

  4. Oops...I had to cut and paste my post because of some blog error, and the whole first paragraph (except for the last sentence) was chopped.

    I grew up with a colorful tree, and to me it isn't Christmas with white lights. White lights are WHAT IS DONE in Atlanta, but I defy convention and go with my colored lights! So, I understand your boyfriend's attitude!

  5. i'm with jackie. LOTS of ppl. have two trees for this very reason. one that is beautiful and one that has all the memories, however tacky it might look to others.

  6. I tried to post earlier but I've been having troubles with blogger lately.

    anyway, my solution was this, when my husband had the SAME PROBLEM:

    I bought amber lights (not to be confused with orange) they set a very romantic and subtle glow with my whites and give him the appreciation that I've added some color. And they look kind of sexy, too.

  7. Hi Terri,
    I laughed at your dilemma about your boyfriend wanting coloured lights. Everyone in my family (except me) thinks we should have coloured lights on our tree, too.
    I say, fight for the white lights; but if you can't win this one, then compromise by adding the odd strand of lights in another single colour thrown in.

    As for your other Christmas decorating woes, I say stick to shades of cream or white with the odd jolt of colour thrown in (like your vase of coloured balls. Go for a snowy theme, with vintage mica snow dusted on top of the decorations...it is very muted but brings some shimmer.
    I am going to be starting my holiday decorating series soon on my blog, where I showcase different colour schemes and styles. I will try to come up with a scheme for you that will be tasteful, elegant and of a calmer palette.

    Your house looks very pretty, by the way...I'd love to see more!!

  8. I love your cat Terri!...when I was young(er!), I have always had cats the same shade and coloring as yours :-)

    The christmas decoration are coming up very nicely...do keep sharing new additions!

  9. I have to laugh at your post, you sound as manic as me sometimes! I cannot work because I must solve a design dilemma. What to do indeed!

    I see my friend from Things That Inspire has directed you to me! Good girl! :-) I'll have to pay her later. LOL!

    Now, I have a little thought for you. I myself have been a big fan of white lights. I think it is the whole Disneyland thing. But last year, on a whim, I brought out the colored lights and put them on my swags down my stairwell. And the funny thing was, I liked it!

    So, here is a little secret. I bet that colored lights are going to come back with a vengeance. That is my unscientific prediction, not based on anything but my own inkling! White lights will be so passe at some point very soon! If you go with colored lights, be sure to make them not blink, or at the very least stick with twinkling. Blinking would be nauseating, I agree.

    With that said, before your boyfriend calls me a genius and his favorite designer ever (or let's just let him call me that if he wants to), I also happen to love the idea of the white lights with the white and green apple colors. I myself bought tons of white ornaments last year for our tree and it was magical! However, my room is very serious so it added some sparkle to have all the white. You could end up finding that with too much white and green you really do feel like the room is still a fruit basket. I will have to think on this one.

    Another option outside of the compromise or the two tree idea is to do both of your personal lighting ideas in different areas. Put all white on the tree and then colored lights on something else, like swags around a kitchen window. I think that can look pretty too. That is where you could hang all those silly ornaments you don't want to use in your chic living room.

    Ok, kids, come to a solution now and get busy! Time is a wasting! And now that I have written an entire blog post right here on your comments, maybe I better cut and paste to use this on my blog! Excellent idea!


  10. PS. Loved all the glimpses of your home, it is looking very pretty! So excited about your Ethan Allen table too! Merry Christmas to you, what a great gift that will be!

  11. Terri, after seeing your beautiful photos of such a lovely space, I don't think my advice would be a good thing. You're doing a fantastic job!

    When I had a large home, I had a tree in every major room. My kitchen tree was for the hodge-podge ornaments and what it lacked in coherence it gained in cheeriness.

    And you're another displaced New Brunswicker? (My mother, grandmother, too, were both born in Moncton and my cousins live near St. Stephen.)

  12. There is only white for me, a white Christmas with a white tree and white lights and layers of white ornaments that sparkle, I save the color for the special ornaments I have like my Oma's vintage glass balls from Germany , I love them so, hopefully none will be broken this year.
    White , white and more white lights.