Monday, November 22, 2010

It's beginning to look....

a lot like Christmas around my house. 

Generally I follow the rule that Christmas, Christmas music, and Christmas decorations are strictly NOT ALLOWED until after Thanksgiving.  Or, to be more specific, until Santa comes down the Thanksgiving Day parade - then we can officially start the Christmas talk. 

But, as folks in MN know, yesterday was miserable.  I'm talking sleet, freezing rain, cold, more freezing rain.  I was trapped.  Trapped in my house.  Since I don't often get entire days in the house I figured it was a perfect time to do my labor and time intensive work of Christmas decor.

First up, snow village! (no, I'm not 82 years old)  My mom started a tradition giving her daughters pieces for a snow village every year.  We've stopped, just because we've run out of space!  We always loved helping set up her snow village when we were growing up and it's such a part of our holiday tradition that it has been great to make it mine now too.  While my mom has the Original Snow Village, my oldest sister Kris has the North Pole series, my sister Jen has the Christmas in the City series, and I have the Alpine Village.

With the addition of my built in bookcase unit in the living room, this years set up was a snap!  I had plenty of room for all the pieces and had an easier time arranging the all important electrical set up as well. 

I snapped some photos yesterday from my phone - sorry for the poor quality.

My villiage is full of little houses (Hofburg Castle and the von Trapp family villa too!)

and full of little people doing important mountain things. Like drinking beer. And climbing mountains.

The one piece I do have up that is not part of my series is the limited edition Ice Palace.  A must have for any St. Paul Winter Carnival lover.

Next up, the tree!

I totally cheat with the tree.  I've got a pre-lit fold down number that only requires me to attach 4 pieces together, tighten one screw and plug four plugs into power. And voila, I have a lit tree!

The tree is lit, but it is sadly not decorated

Decorations were easy.  Started with some tinsel, then moved onto ornaments. I've got so many awesome ornaments that I don't need to use the filler ornaments anymore.  I don't really get into the *theme* trees, where its all one color.  I love using ornaments that have a history, that were given out of love, that were made.  I can't wait until I have children so I can have a tree full of handmade ornaments.

My most absolutely favorite ornaments are the ones that I bought when I was studying abroad my junior year of college.  I sent home 3 boxes of hand blown, hand painted ornaments from Krakow to give as presents to my family and friends.  I did keep an entire box just for myself, of course. Every year as I decorate the tree, I remember all the fun I had on my trip, the great friends I made, and the magic I experienced as the holiday season approached on the Rynek Glowny.

A spattering of my Polish ornaments

I also have a few ornaments I bought during a long weekend in Moscow (the most harrowing experience of my life).  Adorable little Santa's carved out of wood and a stacking doll that I keep out all year long.  By the way, I was AWESOME at haggling.

And the finished product.  I got the living room cleaned back up and boxes back down into the basement.  Baked some cookies and it was a perfect end to a day stranded in my house.

I love the way the lights glow on the gold wall color