It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
I love the holiday season. There’s just something magical about Christmas. And one of the biggest parts of Christmas is the sights. The holiday decorations. Every year, I have big dreams of turning my home into something out of a magazine. To be honest, I’m lucky if we get a tree up and my girls’ stockings. But I have big dreams!!
We have a few traditions around Christmas holiday decorations. First, I do love the look of a house decorated outside for the season. Then there’s the tree of course, and the stockings. We also like to do some homemade things. It’s all about making it fun for everyone, even if it’s not Pinterest-perfect.
Starting outside with holiday decorations.
As a single mom, it’s a little harder to decorate outside. This year I’ve bought a ladder and my teenager and I are planning on outlining not only our roof line, but other parts of the house too. I bought extra lights and everything.
We’ve also outlined our windows and I have battery operated candles and sparkly lit decorations in them too. Because I have small children, I believe in safety first. So I try to go battery-operated as much as possible for our lights.
New this year are the lights we’ve put around a ceiling fan. It’s so pretty when the overhead lights are off, and just the Christmas lights are on.
I also bought an electric fireplace, so as soon as I can make the room for it, I plan on having it in our living room too.
The Front Door
Every year, I buy an extravagant wreath for my front door. I love the look of these wreaths. I know I could reuse them from year to year, which I do, but not on my front door. The wreaths of other years get put on other doors and in other places. I love getting a new one every year. It’s just part of the charm of decorating for Christmas!
This year I have some planters for my house. They have had hostas planted in them, but now that the frost has killed off the leaves, we just have bare dirt. I’m planning on getting evergreen decorations to put in the planters. It should look marvelous.
Of course, the center of any Christmas decorating scheme is the Christmas tree. For my family this is a huge deal. For the last four years or so, we’ve gone to a special Christmas tree farm, approximately two hours away. Why so far? Because this farm has a Christmas village!
My girls have so much fun at this farm. There’s an amazing playground complete with tire swings and ziplines. There’s horse-drawn wagon rides. The giant hay maze is more like a huge hay-fortress! And there’s candle making, cookie-decorating, and ornaments to personalize. I think we all like the campfire best though. I bring hot dogs and marshmallows to roast, along with blankets to curl up in and hot chocolate thermoses to sip. It’s fantastic.
After the day exploring the farm activities, we all troop out to the trees themselves. The girls take their time picking just the right one, which I then cut with a hand saw. (Yes, me! You don’t know what you can do until you’ve cut down your Christmas tree with a saw!)
We drag it out for the tractor to bring back and grab the wagon ride back to the village. They wrap and shake the tree, and drill a hole in the bottom for us. Then I load all the kids, their ornaments, my wreath and our lunch back in my van. And then I tie the tree to the roof rack for our two-hour-drive back home.
It’s a lot of work, but its so worth it. And the kids beg to go back every year!
Decorating the tree
A live tree is a lot of work, but the smell can’t be beat! I have a special stand for it, so once we get home, I get it into the stand and get water into it right away.
Depending on how late it is, we may wait a day to decorate the tree itself. But when we do, again, it’s a big deal for my kids and I.
First go on the lights. Every year, they tease me that no matter how carefully I put away the cords, they always end up tangled. (It’s true! I have the worst luck with tangling cords!) I stick to white lights on our tree.
We have a special tree topper too. It isn’t just one star, it’s a spray of stars, with LED lights, that change color in a pattern. It looks fantastic, and every year my girls shout over it.
The tree ornaments
Next we get out our ornaments. No we don’t have generic sparkly balls. We have special ornaments.
These are from another of our Christmas traditions, started 14 years ago with my oldest daughter. For her first Christmas, I bought her a Christmas tree ornament, with the year on it.
And every year after that, I bought another dated ornament. When she got old enough, I took her shopping and we chose it together.
I only ever missed one year — the year I got married. My ex didn’t understand the importance of the tradition, so refused to let me get it. But the next year, I bought two ornaments to make up for it.
And I bought them for every new baby.
Now my girls can’t wait to go shopping for their ornaments every year. In fact, we’ve already bought a few, when by chance we saw the perfect ornament for some of my daughters. I mark the date on them, if they don’t have them already.
The process of unwrapping the ornaments, and handing them out to each child is part of the fun. Everyone exclaims over “their” ornaments and tells the stories of why they picked them.
It’s important to have traditions like this. And I love the look of the ornaments — and the memories they carry are special.
Another big tradition we have here is our stockings. Every one of us has a stocking, and for my girls, theirs has their name on it.
Even though we don’t do the Santa story, I do fill their stockings on Christmas eve, with hair things, jewelry, pencils and markers, and little treasures that suit each child. I also pass out just a little bit of candy.
After all, what’s Christmas without candy? I even fill my own stocking!
The rest of the house
It’s a bit harder to decorate the rest of our house, just yet. My youngest is still quite little, so its not like I can put out kitschy things. But I do have a few candles, figurines and hangings that I bring out just at Christmas.
And we have a nativity set, that I clear out a shelf for on my special bookshelf (that the girls know not to touch!). I have a play nativity for them to play and re-enact the story with.
We also cut out snowflakes and hang them in our hallway. And I have a few smaller wreaths to hang on the girls’ bedroom doors. For the last couple of years, I’ve gotten both wall and window stickers to help make our home festive, as well. It’s been a great, safe, way to use holiday decorations.
Looking at the pretty houses
I love decorating for Christmas. And even though I don’t have the time, money or energy to go all out for it, I love the elaborate displays. So another tradition for us is to go look at the lights.
In our area, the city has a park with tons of special displays. There are also neighbourhoods known for going all out with decorated houses. So we drive around and look at all decorated houses. Then we come home for popcorn and hot chocolate and a Christmas movie.
I love Christmas. What are some of your traditions? Do you decorate all out? I’d love to see pictures! Post them on my Facebook page.
Need help with your holiday decorating? Check out my From Stress to Bliss Holiday Planner. You’ll have all the planning worksheets, including some for your decorating plans, that you need to be able to relax this Christmas.