Thursday 13: Decking the halls, a photo tour

So I have a bit of a reputation for Christmas craziness. Maybe it's because I start thinking about Christmas in July. Or that I keep "Sleigh Ride" on my Ipod gym mix (if I get there, I know I've been on the elliptical for way too long!). Or that I buy White Elephant gifts all year long. I don't know. Perhaps this post is evidence? For this Thursday 13, I thought I'd share how a Christmas Crazy decks the halls.

I do feel compelled to add that 90% of the Christmas crap shown here was purchased on after-Christmas clearance. And for the record, I did *not* paint our house red and green in honor of Christmas. (Someone actually asked me that over the weekend. I'm not *that* crazy. At least I think I'm not.)

1. Curb appeal. I may or may not have spent 12 hours week before last stringing Christmas lights. Granted, that includes hedge trimming and leaf raking, but still, we're talking serious twinkleage. Rolling his eyes at my frivolity, Mr. T doesn't seem to see what the fuss is about but he does his best to humor me.
I considered it a serious boon that I neither hurt myself or the house with the hedge trimmer, nor did I fall off the ladder.

I am, of course, showing you the lighting "nets" I bought a few years ago. Just to the right begins the hand-strung lights. I'm hoping our neighbors will think a young child helped put up the lights this year. 
2. Welcome! New this year, I found this snowman at Target.
Goliath is looking to make an escape per usual. 
3. Christmas tree smell. So one of the biggest complaints I get when people find out I harbor a "perennially perfect" (from-the-box) Christmas tree is that I don't have the delicious pine tree smell. Well, a gigantic Costco wreath solves that issue. I swear this sucker wafts piney goodness throughout the entire house.
I must admit I forgot how good the "Christmas smell" is after four years of a fake tree. Still, I'm pleased to be vacuuming only the most miniature pile of pine needles.
4. Poinsettias. Now, the presence of these plants in my home is something of a surprise to me. When I worked at Ukiah Valley Medical Center right out of college, my boss and I got this wild hair to decorate the hospital with poinsettias. This meant *I* got to decorate the hospital with poinsettias... zillions (okay, at least 50) of 'em. And not only set them out, make sure they stayed alive for the whole season. It's taken me five years to get over the trauma apparently.
I remembered that poinsettias like relatively light watering. Note to yourselves: This doesn't mean it can go two weeks without a drink. So glad I took this picture early on during it's tenure in the Redden abode.
5. Wreaths, wreaths, wreaths. My "main" wreath is some poinsettia thing I picked up from Target some years back (see below somewhere), but I went glue-gun crazy a few years ago and created these mini-wreaths. Yes, I hand-glued each bead to grapevine rounds. Needless to say Michaels and I were good friends at the time.
Crafting your own decorations can save a lot of money at Christmas, but it takes lots-o-time.

I love that the book shelf sort of exemplifies the his-n-hers-ness of our library. One day I'll actually organize the books.

6. A snowy white owl. I have no idea why I own this. At all.
This is what Target clearance sales do to you.

I can't tell you what possessed me to purchase a paper snow owl except that it was on sale.

7. Figurines and things.
I'm pretty sure this guy is supposed to be an outdoor decor item, but he's too cute for the elements I think. And apparently someone forgot to put her party shoes away, ahem.
St. Nick! 

I went through a mod phase a couple years ago... Christmas tree cones and silver reindeer. 
8. Empty stockings. Strange, stockings used to be such a big fixture of Christmas growing up, but Mr. T and I have never filled them for each other. Hmm.
The red and white stockings were the first ones I purchased in my adulthood.

Love it!

The grown-up, but still empty, stockings.
9. Bathrooms should be festive, too. I'm taking a cue from Heather Wheeler here. If you think I'm nuts, most years, every single room in her house is Christmas-a-fied. I LOVE it.
There are, of course, reindeer hand towels. I haven't gone as far as changing out the rest of the bathroom towels or mats. 

10. Candles and cones.
I am guilty of keeping pretty candles for years without burning them. 
In the big basket, you see pine cones I purchased several years ago. And then this year it hit me that I have free pine cones in abundance (see foreground). Damn evergreens outback at least provide something beneficial. 

11. Mini-trees!
I put little candles everywhere, but word to the wise: Do NOT burn candles so close to the wall or draperies lest you're interested in setting the house on fire. 

Also a little something I picked up from my time in Ukiah... Hiding Christmas lights under "Buffalo snow." If you're decorating a big stage, ball up newspaper to drape the "snow" over to make it go further.
Goliath's Charlie Brown Christmas Tree. Object of the 2010 White Elephant Debacle, this tree is why my sister-in-law almost had to eat Christmas brunch on the front porch last year. Stealing is a punishable offense around these parts. (I did let her eat inside, for the records. As it happens, her cat gifted the tree to Goliath for Christmas.)

Home Goods is to blame for the sparkly cone Christmas trees.

12. Christmas balls. Something about the shiny makes me happy. In college when I was an RA, I may or may not have hung a couple hundred Christmas ornaments from the ceiling over Thanksgiving break one year. The fire marshall threatened to shut me down (what fire hazard??), but my girls loved it! It may be a post-grad school project, but I swear there will be ceiling-ornaments at my house one of these days.
I keep planning to put ornaments in a hurricane vase or something, but I never get around to it.

13. The pièce de résistance. Up for its fourth season, the tree is my very favorite part of the decor extravangaza. And, Mr. T will note, I'm pretty sure it's more than paid for itself already in joy experienced... Especially considering I kinda left it up for 15 months one year. It was undecorated, for the record, and I whole heartedly blame Ph.D. school.
9 feet of fabulous. (If I do say so myself.)

Ladders are required.

A gift from my parentals last year.

A couple weeks ago, T hung this giant mirror for me. I love to see the tree's reflection, especially as it gives credence to why I decorated the back of the tree. (ha!)

What? Is that Santa riding an alligator? I think so! 

Dotted throughout the tree are airplane ornaments compliments of T's dear airport friends.

The one souvenir I bought from the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. Sigh. 
What are your favorite holiday decorations?


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