I’m finally ready to reveal the Christmas fireplace. Who knew having a mantel would be such work?
For the first 20 years of our marriage, we didn’t have a mantel. I’ve longed for that extra bit of wood to finish off the fireplace and make it look special–a place to decorate and add some charm and personality. Oh Kim, be careful what you wish for. I now have over 11 feet of mantel to call my own plus two flanking walls to decorate. When it rains, it pours.
Thanksgiving weekend, we got out all our Christmas decorations, and I brought out the nutcrackers and arranged them along the flanking walls. Just looking at them made me smile. And then I turned to the very lackluster mantel.
And this is where I left you last week. Staring at bland, barren, and blah. So Monday, I went to Target, and Tuesday I went to Ross, and Wednesday I finished up at the Dollar Store. Just by the by, the Dollar Store in the town best known for its fancy wineries is garbage compared to the Dollar Store in the town best known for its maximum security prison. I guess upscale is not your friend when it comes to cheap.
Last year, I filled a hurricane with sparkly ornaments and was quite pleased with the effect. So this year, I decided to go with a silver and red theme. I added a few more containers, a few more ornaments, a little more shine, and see what happened.
While this was definitely an improvement, wouldn’t it be better if the containers on the side were filled to overflowing? I thought maybe it would be fun to cover the bump out section with wrapping paper, so it would look like a giant present, but wrapping that section on a ladder over very hard tile gave me pause. I knew I needed some height and something to tie it all together.
Growing up, we always had garland on our Christmas tree; but when I got married, I was informed that garland was tacky. I was willing to give it up for marital harmony, but recently I’d purchased a few packs for a craft project that never materialized, and then at the Dollar Store I saw some sparkly silver garland–27 feet for $3 was a deal I couldn’t pass up. I spent another $3 on silver spray-painted eucalyptus and brought it all home. With a little finissing here and there, I came up with this.
I’ll take a few steps back so you can see the full effect with all those lovely nutcrackers.
I thought about two fake trees in white for the side areas and bought a bunch of mini ornaments for the garland, but sometimes you need a little restraint. Who knows, maybe next year I’ll pull out the wrapping paper and a big bow. I’m glad Christmas decorating isn’t set in stone.
And now let’s take a look at that big, old tree we put up. When I was on the virtual house tour checking out all the bloggers lovely homes, I noticed some large, overstated ornaments, and figured at 10-foot plus our tree could carry it off. Now if you remember last year, we had a bit of an issue.
Trees falling at my feet make me very, very sad as do broken ornaments. It kind of kills the joy of buying pretty expensive decorations. So I decided giant, Dollar Store ornaments were the way to go and bought a bunch of big old snow flakes. The MR is a good guy, but after a week of climbing ladders and reaching all the high spots, his patience is running thin; and as you know, my guy has a lot of projects of his own. So I used a length of PVC pipe to reach the tall spots.
In all honesty, I wouldn’t recommend this method for really expensive, heavy ornaments; but for cheap, plastic, snowflakes, it was perfect. While our tree sports a lot of crewel ornaments I made in the 70’s, and fun foam and finger-painted ornaments the girls made growing up, and cast-offs from family we received over the years, I love it. It’s imperfect, and real, and makes me happy.
Wishing you some holiday sparkle.
Do you have a theme tree or a hodgepodge of ornaments? How is your holiday mantel shaping up?