To be honest, I've sort of lost track of the countdown to Christmas this weekend.
With the tragic events that unfolded Friday in Newtown, Connecticut, it has been hard to focus on the "trappings" of Christmas. My heart is heavy and burdened for the victims' families and loved ones and I cannot even begin to imagine the scope of their loss. It certainly puts things into perspective, doesn't it?
For several days, I had been trying to capture the holiday decorations in our dining area in photos that are share-worthy. Lighting in that room is tricky, particularly at this time of year. I finally just decided to go with what I had saved in my camera. After all, how important can it truly be to fuss and fret over photos for a blog post when the world is in a state of shock and hurt?
Our kitchen and dining area are open to one another and very compact. When we moved in nearly three years ago, we ended up "gutting" the kitchen down to the studs and rebuilding. We got as much storage and counter space into the small area as possible. You can see the results of that project RIGHT HERE.
For the holidays, I try to keep it simple over in the dining area. It is a very small area and everything has to be easily shifted (when we pull out the leaves to the table for dining and drag in more chairs) and kept to scale.
The floral table runner that I found this past summer at Big Lots has nice pops of red in it, so I am using it right through the holidays. A large basket holds snacks and overflow from the cabinets year round, but I've added a poinsettia, simple candle and small bottle brush tree that can be whisked off the table quickly at mealtime.
The corner cupboard was a gift from my Mother when we moved here. (I.e., she bought it for her house but couldn't find a place to put it! But, hey, it works wonderfully in this tight area!) Simple lighted garland with lots of silver and gold jingle bells and a small collection of elves dance along the top.
This odd little cubby in the wall is a constant sore point and decorating dilemma. It appears that somebody knocked this little spot out to fit a small television when they were bored one Saturday afternoon. I would love for it to be gone.....but, you work with you've got, right?!?!? So, I keep it filled, mostly with books and odds 'n' ends that change with the seasons. The tall vase was an early autumn find at TJ Maxx and I simply used another prayer candle and leftover red bead garland to fill it. A cup full of candy canes screams "Christmas" in any room and the grandkids have already hit this one.
The old salvaged window that hangs to the side of the back door is dressed with a garland and country-style Santa.....
And the spare ladder back chair is home to Rudolph, Clarice and a stuffed Santa and stocking made for me by my grandmother for my very first Christmas. The Santa and stocking are showing their age (sort of like me), but they are among some of my most treasured keepsakes.....
I've been a real homebody this weekend. Ansleigh spent the night with us Friday night and she and I made cookies yesterday. Today, I've been working on a little more Christmas baking and candy making in the kitchen. Scout is having a difficult day, feeling her age, so we are all about to snuggle up for a nap and hope she feels better when we wake up.
I hope that each of you, no matter where you are in your holiday preparations, is finding the time to stop and enjoy the little things along the way.
Hug on your loved ones a little extra,
say an extra prayer,
relish a quiet moment.....
and experience the true meaning of Christmas.