RANCHO LA ZACA, Calif.–To my old-fashioned self it seems a little early to decorate the house for Christmas and put the tree up and all–mainly because by Christmas all the greenery will have to be replaced at least once.
But I left the ranch yesterday until the 27th, and it had to get done for His Grace (aka my sweetheart Tom, aka the Cowboy) and all his family coming for Christmas. Yes I hate not to be here, but I’ll be in Atlanta with my family, and then we’re ALL coming back out for New Year’s. Woo-hoo! It’s the first Christmas Tom has celebrated there, so it’s kind of a big deal, and I want it to be pretty and homey for them all.
For those of you who remember my Thanksgiving post, I was terrified at the prospect last year of decorating the great room which I not-so-fondly refer to as the Temple of Dendur–daunting in scale and, ahem, somewhat scarce of charm (but we’re working on that). Anyway happy to say the terror has subsided and my first two rules of floral/table/mantle decorating apply especially well here: 1. Use what you need and then add some more, and 2. Go big or go home. In other words, a look of abundance and a boldness of scale are always effective; and in a large space they are imperative.
But alas. I wimped out on the tree. It is 10 feet and a skinny kind of Colorado spruce because I was worried about the room feeling crowded. I should have gotten a fatter 12-footer. Oh well. I also confess to you that it is from Frontgate, as in fake. But honestly the fresh tree was going to be just as expensive, if not more so, and would have been dead as Herman Cain’s candidacy by Christmas. I thought the fake was worth a try; and they really do make such good ones now, with the lights already on them and… Heresy, heinous, horrible in concept – not to mention I hear Mama rolling over in her grave – but I swear it looks pretty dang good. And I added – and will keep adding – fresh eucalyptus branches, which have a wonderful smell and give the tree a sort of California vibe.
It was such fun finally to hang all the ornaments I’ve collected over the past – what, 30 years? – and used only sparingly in my old Atlanta townhouse and Manhattan apartment.
None of them “match” and quite a few of them are goofy, but it’s not a tree you’d see in a hotel lobby. It has soul, if you know what I mean. But gosh I wish I had some of those pitiful construction paper and clay baubles and creatures my sister Duvall and I made when we were little. Our mama clung to them as if they were Verdura earrings and wouldn’t hear of not hanging them, to our horror. Then it got to be a huge joke and a favorite ritual: Oh boy! Here’s Mr. Anorexic Snowman! And the Rectangular Reindeer! I think you made that one! Did not! Mamas everywhere, don’t y’all throw away those ornaments your babies made; you’ll miss ’em and so will they.
Well the cowboy thought thought all those ornaments were ridiculous, except of course for the one that said COWBOY, but he was a good sport. He even hung candy canes on top of the ornaments, which he thought was really ridiculous. But you have to have candy canes. Plus they were 4 boxes for $5 at the CVS. Ho!