Over the weekend I noticed that the pictures I've taken of my 2010 tree are nearly identical to last year's shots. No doubt influenced by this book, the decorations are an imperfect mix, and the Fir occupies so much space that I'm reminded of the scene in How I Met Your Mother when Lily hoards all the Christmas decorations in her tiny apartment.
In an attempt to be a little less redundant, I did use Benjamin Moore's Color Viewer® to digitally change my wall color (selected something resembling the shade seen inside Leigh Magar's Charleston building). But if you're looking for styling inspiration, I suggest visiting Sibella Court's revamped site.
I frequently refer to Sibella's book, Etcetera: Creating Beautiful Interiors with the Things You Love, so I was happy to read her recent post about another edition scheduled to be released May 2011: a style guide to NYC. Apart from Sibella's unique photographs of interiors, shops and buildings, coverage of museums will be included, too. It was her mention of Pitt Rivers Museum, in the first book, that turned me on to the natural history institution as a great source of design inspiration.
[Photo courtesy Ryan in D.C.]
Since my tree above is essentially a repeat, I think today might be a good time for the annual "re-run" of favorite holiday-related ideas and memories from past posts. On Sunday, a beautiful arrangement of peonies displayed beneath winter branches in Bella Cucina's window took me back to Ryan's dad's garden. Last May, Ryan shared with us the layers of meaning behind the objects in his D.C. house.
[Photo by Janet Blyberg.]
He described his pieces as not overly precious in the monetary sense. "Their value is in the associated memory," he explained, "I spent many a weekend of my childhood roaming estate sales and antique malls around Northern Virginia and Maryland. At an early age, we were taught that old objects should be respected."
His small landscape, titled Vermont, was purchased at a threadbare shop in South Carolina. "When you are a kid and make an allowance of, say, $5 dollars a week, $25 is a lot to pay for a small painting. My father, noticing how much I loved it, went back the next day and bought it along with a second painting by the same unknown artist. Both were waiting under the tree the following Christmas."
[Image above from past Anthro holiday catalog.]
In November, Mary Randolph Carter told us about her big extended family's Christmas Eve rituals. And long-time readers are familiar with my friend Cameron's parent's Christmas Eve date. When the children were little, her parents usually began the evening like a romantic date instead of diving straight into the toy assembly. They typically tucked the kids in bed then went downstairs to share snacks and champagne by the tree while exchanging presents with each other. After that the Star Wars action figures came out of storage.
[A multi-generational phenomenon. I wonder how many of these will be left for Santa this year?
Cookie cutters via Williams-Sonoma.]
A variation on the Christmas Eve date is the "double date." During the years when my mother and her brother were very young, my grandparents waited until Christmas Eve to decorate the tree, hoping the kids would think Santa did everything. They invited their friends and relatives without children to join in the merriment and help make the living room magical before morning.