Holiday Whimsy

Driving home from work one night many years ago, I could see lights burning bright through the windows of my nearly-finished house from the highway. I knew that the rest of the contractors were mostly done, so the fact that I could see my new house all lit up from the road meant that the electricians had installed the light fixtures!!! The paint was done, and the carpet, even the cabinets. The lighting had been one of the very last things to do before we could move in. Smiling from ear to ear, I pulled into the driveway and ran into the house, up the stairs, into each room, and spun with my hands out like Julie Andrews at the beginning of The Sound of Music. I could not have been more overjoyed.

Sadly, that euphoria did not last long. 

Once we moved in, I realized how many rookie mistakes I'd made. Seriously, I must've answered every single question that every one of those sub-contractors asked me WRONG! In my defense, I was 24 and knew NOTHING about this process. Of course, I didn't do the necessary research, either. Where do you want your outlets and how many in each room? What type of windows, sliding or open by crank? What brand of carpet and what color? Tile or linoleum? What do you want your railings to look like? What type of wood, what color? And how about one of those cool brass bands running along the bannisters? (Oh, my gosh. That was an 80s nightmare--still is) One of my modeling buddies, also an interior designer, talked me into formica cabinets. FORMICA CABINETS!!! Tell me, does anyone you know have formica cabinets? I'm sure not. He said they were very trendy, easy to clean, and matched the linoleum perfectly. Groan, despair, gnashing of teeth. Did I really choose that? Ugh!

So, we had off-white cabinets, off-white linoleum, off-white walls (call me creative), mud-colored carpet, no window coverings, and lots of snow that year. My thinking at the time was to go neutral and I would add color and furnishings as we went along. Problem with that thought process: no extra money to do anything like that. As newlyweds, we were lucky to eat for our first few years together. Anyway, my hubby, he's super-hyper-sensory perceptive and can't stand the monotony of colors~and he lets me know how he feels about it~a lot. So, I went overboard and purchased forest green wallpaper for our kitchen with a gift certificate we got for our wedding. You following this? Everything is a dull white, inside, outside. He's about to go crazy. I put up the green wallpaper and he's happy (cue pic of the 80stastic kitchen) but I'm instantly looking at it wondering why in the world did I do that. It's been 24 years folks, that I've been looking at that wallpaper everyday. I've really got to save my money for a remodel. (Thankfully, I have corrected some of my 80s mistakes in the house. Unfortunately, the kitchen will be the last.)

I had some really darling neighbors who were in the interior design business try to help me de-emphasize my mistakes. While I was grateful for their help, what they thought of to help me wasn't really me. As they moved from their starter homes into bigger mansion-type homes, I tore down all their stuff and tried to figure out what I really wanted my house to look like. I realized that while I loved the wealthy, elegant look, it was often too ritzy for my tastes (and too expensive). I liked some country themes, but not too much. I really could not live with an elk with antlers hanging over the fireplace (eyes following me as I walk through the living room), wallpaper border with ducks on it, and heavy pine furniture. I really had to find my own style.

I still get a little insecure when my interior design friends drop by because I know they have very different ideas about how to decorate my house, but I think I've finally figured out what is appealing to me and what I can afford. It's not really country and it's not what I'd call elegant. It's got features of both, but they are softened in my house.

For the holidays, I'd call it whimsy. 

My living room decked out for the holidays.
It's hard for me to figure what to do with top of these shelves, but I've come to love my arrangements.
With a roaring fire, this is our favorite spot in the dead of winter.

Just look at my blog topper, if that's not whimsical, then I don't know what is:) 

Most of my decorating for Christmas derives from memories I have of past holidays, especially with my kids. I can't not hang an ornament on the tree because it's got a picture of my sweet younger boy as a 6-year-old, or my older son's ornaments from his time in the elite choir in high school. And I can't really decide if I want to focus on the baby Jesus, Santa, snowmen, snowflakes, stars, angels, elegance, country, or what. So, I pretty much just throw them in together. I know that less is more and I've often looked at what I've done and thought, "Okay, there is just too much going on in one little room." So, I've adapted. I have a friend who once told me that you should never be ashamed of how you decorate your house, never feel embarrassed by having friends drop by and what they might think. A house should reflect who you are. And so mine does.

My big, beautiful, very alive and fat and wonderful Christmas Tree this year.

Leave me a link to your blog in your comment and I will drop by and see what you're up to for the holidays. I'd love to see what's going out there.


  1. Love the header. I used to decorate tons when I had kids at home. Not much fun unless you have someone to do it with.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

No More Halloweens to Go!

My Son Got Married, but I'm Still Editing!

Nothing Like a Big Case of Writer's Block