I absolutely love Christmas and all the decorations that come with it but this year is different for us. We are moving house, or at least we think we are, before Christmas. It is really difficult to explain to someone who has not gone through the process of buying a property in England just how ridiculous it can be (it takes approximately three months even without a chain). There are many systems all over the world that work well, there’s one just across the border in Scotland that is quicker and more efficient which we could just copy, but why would we do that when we can have all this stomach churning uncertainty?
Anyway, our house was marked as sold in June but six months later we’re still here. So, as I sneak like an eager elf towards Christmas with the prospect of moving just before the big day being dangled in front of me like a piece of tinsel, I am forced to have a minimalist Christmas.
Now I normally aspire to minimalism and get thwarted at every turn by my hoarder husband but I have never ever aspired to a minimalist Christmas! If you read my previous post you’ll find out how I like to mix all the traditions of the festive time and throw in some new ones of our own. I love the Christian traditions of singing carols and giving thanks; the Pagan rituals of eating and drinking and getting rather too merry; the Victorian traditions of bringing nature indoors and sending cards and of course the inexplicable magic of Father Christmas. (I do make and exception for Elf on The Shelf – he can go and spy on other children but he’s not bringing his creepy ‘don’t touch me’ vibe into my home.)
This year I took one box down from the loft and had to decorate the house with things that could be easily packed up. This is what I chose:
The Wooden Advent Calendar
We bought this from John Lewis a few years ago and it is such a thing of beauty. When the children were younger we put chocolate and little toys inside. Now they’re a bit older and because we’re all more concerned with plastic waste the toys have gone. We usually put a little scroll in with a Christmas activity. These can range from a trip to the theatre (very expensive) to taking Christmas treats to the foodbank (remember how lucky we are) but they usually centre on something we can do as a family like watching a film or making mince pies. Important note: there is also chocolate in there!
The Pinecone Wreath
I have three wreaths (not over the top at all). As we’re only putting one up I thought it was best that it went on the door so we don’t look like a total Grinch house. This one was from Down Memory Lane, a local shop that turns itself into a Christmas paradise every year. I love having this one on the door because it looks a bit like we forgot to take it down when we were painting!
Nanna’s Father Christmas
This is not in keeping with any of my aesthetic ideals but my Nanna bought it for us way back before we had children because it made her laugh (she was full of laughter and I miss that). This is the first video I’ve put into my blog so you too could share the joy. It simply wouldn’t be Christmas in our house without a singing Santa on a motor bike!
This is the most difficult one as I have never had a Christmas without a tree. When I was a child I would decorate the tree with my dad and sister the day we broke up from school so it would be all ready when my mum got home. Since having a family of my own we have our own tradition where we go and choose a slightly-too-big tree together from a local garden centre. I know the children were disappointed that we haven’t done that this year (there might still be time if we move next week) but they were pretty good about it. This tree usually goes in one of their bedrooms but this year its stepping out of the wings and taking on the star role.
So what to decorate with? Well that was easy, none of the many boxes of matching baubles, just one of the special boxes. Open it up and they’re all there like a burst of Christmas past – the very special decorations chosen carefully over the years, Auntie Charlie’s glass heart and felt stockings sewn in year two. Taking pride of place on the top is Great Grandma’s moose angel all the way from Canada and infused with love and memories!
Maybe I have embraced minimalist Christmas decorating. Its a far cry from the scandi chic posts populating Instagram but actually achieves the pure minimalist ideal, each item has either beauty or meaning to us. We may not have all the glitter and lights this year and there a good chance that I’ll lose half the presents I’ve bought amongst the mountains of packing boxes but there’s plenty of Christmas spirit sparkling in this house and its ready to move to a new one.
Which decorations mean the most to you and why? Do let me know in the comments section X