Wish I could caption this “easy like Sunday morning” but we’ve got a kid down with the 24 hour stomach bug (we received two emails from the school about it this week—it was practically an inevitability). So while he rests and plays games in quarantine, I’m cozy with my Christmas cards. Haven’t been able to watch Danny Kaye and Vera Ellen dance their way into a “White Christmas” in the background, but I’ll keep the cartoons on all day if it keeps the wee one occupied and away from the germs. On the bright side, these might be my favorite @minted cards yet, and I’m loving my new socks that I scored at a friend’s annual yankee swap party. Little bits of lights everywhere.
The holiday cards have started rolling in! It might seem strange in the age of social media when we are able to see perfectly filtered photographs of one another’s lives every moment of every day, but I genuinely love the holiday card tradition. I love receiving them and I love sending them out. I always order from @minted (ordered on Saturday night and they are due to be delivered tomorrow!) because I just think the quality is unmatched. Every year I pick an afternoon to settle in front of an old school Christmas movie that I already know by heart, bust out my favorite fine point Stabilo markers and my constantly changing address list, and set to work. The act of hand-addressing each card feels like a mediation, a chance to pause over every contact and think about them and send them good wishes. It’s an extra holiday task and an extra expense, but one I hope I can always make the time for in the midst of the hustle and bustle.
When I was a kid, we always cut down our Christmas tree. My father had clients who owned a tree farm and I have such strong memories of the hilly, winding drive to the woods in the dusk—the strange sensation of sitting facing backwards in a station wagon, watching the landscape fade. I would gather the trimmed and fallen branches from the trees and deliver them to the owner for weaving into wreaths, and she would reward me with hot cocoa and candy canes. I was tickled that my own family got to have a similar experience yesterday at Fogg Hollow Tree Farm. We scoured the fields for just the right specimen and the boys helped position it carefully in our sled and cart it over to the shaker and bundler. They were even given candy canes. I’m only 35, but sometimes the world feels so incredibly different from the one I grew up in. I worry that there are simple pleasures and experiences that I will never be able to give my boys. But this was not one of them.
So as I shared (quite passionately—#sorrynotsorry ) in my stories, I scored one of the best #aldifinds ever today. That pretty little cobalt jar is a $7.99 candle that is a complete dupe for the ultra lovely but very expensive Capri Blue Volcano candle—which sells for anywhere from $25-$30 online or in stores like Anthropologie. I grabbed two and will probably go back for more to give as gifts. I’ve been burning it since I got home and the smell is perfect and is wafting all throughout the house. Yet another reason to love @aldiusa. And if you’re one of those people who is wary of Aldi for some reason, please comment and tell me why so I can change your mind and your life.
Last week, the always inspirational @beatrixblue wrote a post about not falling prey to the temptations of every store trying to sell you all new on-trend seasonal decorations every year. Her words struck such a chord with me. Probably because I am so the target audience for all that slick marketing and charming “stuff”. But how can anything become beloved and traditional and imbued with warm memories if you only use it once? Think about the objects that speak Christmas to your childhood memories—your grandmother’s ceramic trees or your family’s one and only well-worn tree skirt. They matter and they mean Christmas because they are brought out year after year, not just until the next trend comes along. So keeping Crystal’s words in mind, I decided to pull out my boxes of decorations and challenge myself to find new ways to repurpose and love what I already have. I had wanted to buy heaps of eucalyptus garland for my mantle à la Hearth and Hand, but I stuck with our old standby pine cones. I wanted to buy new blue and green tartan stockings (so Scottish!), but I am keeping our white and grey wooly ones that we bought our first year as a family of four. I wanted some kind of Instagram perfect tabletop vignette, but instead pulled out old books and baked orange slices and placed them around our growing narcissus bulbs (another yearly tradition). That doesn’t mean I can’t switch things up and embrace trends. I put together a Scandinavian wreath from an old embroidery loop in my attic. And I can’t wait to gather some greens and bittersweet branches to add wherever I can find the space. But I am actively resisting the urge to choose magazine-perfect over meaningful and memory-laden. Just one of the things on my mind this season. #instadecor