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!

Comments

  1. says

    I love your tin angels. So lovely with that garland.

    I went a little simpler on the decorating this year, choosing to only put out what I really wanted to rather than stressing about trying to find a spot for everything. And I like it. Things stand out nicer.

    I haven’t even started my cards this year. Though I am done my shopping and most of my wrapping. Guess cards is on my list for today. I love getting them but so far we’ve only gotten 2. I remember when I was a kid my parents would get close to a hundred. Every surface in the living room was covered with them. I miss that.

    • Jo-Lynne says

      Yes, I agree about only putting out what you truly love. I’m so glad we did it that way this year. Merry Christmas, dear bloggy friend! :-)

  2. says

    Your home looks beautiful!

    Yes, the blogosphere has been growing so much I can hardly believe it! Crazy!!

    I didn’t put out our houses either. I’ve been feeling kind of guilty about that, it has been actually like maybe four years since I put the houses out. My son asked about them this year and I really did think it would be fun for him if I put forth the effort to set them up. But, still, I didn’t do it. I am making the commitment to put them up next year. Sheesh, he’ll be 11 next year and probably won’t care any more. Oh well!

    By the way, Hooked on Houses has been having Christmas tours every week, they are fun to check out!!

    Merry Christmas!

    • Jo-Lynne says

      Thanks, I’ll check it out. And I am so glad I’m not the only one not putting out my houses. True confessions, I kind of want to sell them all. But I will refrain. Maybe I will feel the love again one of these years. :-)

  3. Liz says

    I love that your ornaments have stories–each and every one of our ornaments has a story behind it, and we’ve collected so many that I’ve started hanging them from garland strung along the banister. We let the kids decorate the tree. I remember my mom used to rearrange the decorations after we kids hung them, and I refuse to do this. So in years past, our tree has been very bottom-heavy, with the ornaments all clustered in groups on the lower boughs. This year, though, they did such a good job spreading them all around. They’re old enough now, too, to really enjoy the spirit of the holiday, which will come in handy when they realize that their multi-page wish lists have gone largely unfulfilled. Anyway, it’s my favorite time of year!

    • Jo-Lynne says

      Liz, yes, I have to hold myself back from rearranging. This year my 11-year-old son got on a ladder and hung the ones at the top, so it looks pretty good! :-)

  4. says

    I love your wreath on your door, i miss the smell of pine all my trees are fake now maybe we will go buy a wreath. I took longer to decorate this year too, time is moving too fast right now but i did paritcapate

  5. says

    Jo-Lynn, I’m so glad that you joined in~now you will have to continue it every. single. year. or it won’t be right.

    by the way, your wreath is breathtaking. see you at blissdom!

  6. Joules says

    I just wanted to say that I love seeing your beautiful fancy tree and your other homespun tree! I have stories for my ornaments too that decorate an old school mishmash tree and I never thought to have 2 trees – genius!
    I am new to the blogs and I haven’t seen the Tour of Homes. So just know that there will always be readers that will see your “same old, same old” as sparkly and new:)
    Money is tight this year, but I have sent out more cards too. I’m not really feeling the magic yet this Christmas and maybe it’s my way of trying to connect to the spirit of Christmas and to other people.

  7. Janmary, n ireland says

    I think I may even have first discovered YOUR blog through my first home tour in 2009 :)

    I was so thrilled to discover all these wonderful blogs who share my passion for home decor and an excuse to be nosy!!!! I haven’t missed a tour since :)

    Love those tin angels and I love the contrast between your two trees. Beautiful fresh wreath – here they are all very similar with only holly and red ribbons.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours from N Ireland

  8. says

    I’m the worst at taking pictures in the dark! I think I need to take an entire class just on that…either that, or I need to spend A LOT of money on the right equipment. ;)

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