Even as a generally forgetful person, I have these incandescent moments when it comes to decorating where I’ll see something that inspires me so much it’s unforgettable. These occasions impact me enough that I can usually remember them in such detail that reminiscing feels like I’m standing right there in awe all over again.
And it’s the simplest things, too. Like the time I came home from college at Christmas and my mom had white lights strung along the banister leading up to our front steps. She’s not the first person to string lights up a banister, but it was the first time I recognized how much I appreciated the effect; it felt so warm and magical. Years later, as soon as I had a home and a banister of my own, I couldn’t wait to wind white lights around it for the holidays–a December decorating tradition I’ve kept ever since.
On the other hand, from the get-go, my husband made it pretty clear that he had no desire to go through the hassle of putting Christmas lights on our house. Growing up, my dad never did either, so it didn’t phase me much. And I don’t blame them; I certainly don’t want that job! So, while visiting a friend one winter, I paused with wonder when I instantly noticed she’d hung icicle lights from the insides of her windows. Because of this, her home looked all the more classy and enchanting from both the interior and the exterior, and it thrilled me to discover a way to illuminate our home without having to climb a ladder out in the cold!
Thankfully, my friend’s even more elegant than her house and didn’t mind me copying her. And so, for many years, I used packaging tape to hang icicle lights in my windows like her. I can’t say this was her approach, but for many years it worked well enough, albeit a time-consuming experience trying to get them to hang evenly, and it always left a ruthless residue to clean. I was thrilled when a few years ago I thought to attach Command Hooks to the top corners of my window frames. (The hooks stay in place year-round and are hardly noticeable.) That way, all I have to do is snap the strands of lights into the hooks each year–so easy! I love it.
It’s probably the many years I spent living in Europe, admiring the beauty of castles and palaces, that attracted me to the hint of grandeur our home lends. I instantly knew I wanted to hang wreaths from our four symmetrical windows. (Outdoor Command Hooks have made that task incredibly easy, too.) I was giddy when I found wreaths for 75% off right after the first Christmas we moved in. It felt like a dream hanging them the next December and every December since.
With each sail around the sun, it seems like there’s a new charming idea dancing through my mind. Last year it was making paper stars like the outlandishly talented Linda Lomelino. This year, it’s handmade garlands made of dried oranges, evergreens foraged from our backyard, and mini star sugar cookies. Original ideas always feel extra special–I’m using a big plaid blanket scarf as a tree skirt and festive wrapping paper as a table runner for our fancier festivities.
Like the wonder of a simple string of lights does for me, I hope the layers of decor that seem to magically fall into place at Christmastime leave you standing in awe all over again as you bask in the glow of Christmas.