Now that Thanksgiving is out of the way, it’s on to the next holiday, which, for us, is Christmas. That means hauling out our decorations, setting them up, and making sure they all work, so that if I need to replace some LED string lights, I can do it in time.
My neighbor two houses diagonally across the street already has his whole house and yard lit up with thousands of lights after dark. Another neighbor tells me that he strings them up himself, rather than hire a landscaper to do it for him. That’s a Herculean task. He’s got the main house, a smaller cottage, and the entire tree row along the road to decorate. Maybe he leaves them up all year, and only lights them up for ~ 6 weeks of the year, but I doubt it because each year, it looks a little different.
I use solar LED light strings on the Alberta Spruces outside. Those work if I set up a tree in the sun porch, too, but elsewhere in the house, they need to either be plug-in, or run on batteries. With three cats and a dog, all tree ornaments must be unbreakable. That goes for both the tabletop sized ones, and the 8′ ones. So, they’re mostly metal, wood, cloth, or straw. Fortunately, all of our pets are 11+ people years old by now, so they’re no longer into climbing the trees, or batting ornaments around. Still, if something happens, I don’t want to be sweeping (or vacuuming) up tiny shards of glass.
So, it’s one big tree and one tabletop tree for the main house, and another set for the annex. Then, there are the door wreaths to hang. For those, I just go with plain grapevine wreaths that I leave up, but redecorate for each season. It’s more a matter of swapping out (by now desiccated) red, yellow, and orange maple and oak leaves for sprigs of holly, and other evergreens than anything else. Finish those off with a red velvet bow, and they’re done.
This year, I think I’ll incorporate costume jewelry as tree ornaments — rings, brooches, and pendants that I’ve inherited, found at flea markets, or barn sales. Not everything you find at barn sales involves farm implements; it’s just where people choose to set up their sale for whatever they want to get rid of that still has some nominal value to someone else.
On a semi-related note, ordering holiday string lights directly from China, if you can’t find an importer with a U.S. based warehouse, and have ~2-3 weeks to wait for it, you’ll pay 20-25% of what it would cost to buy the same item from a U.S. retailer, who imported it from China, anyway. Also, I don’t have to sign upon delivery from China, like I do with orders shipped from Japan, Poland, Peru, etc.
Although we have not yet been extended an invitation to our across the street neighbors’ Christmas party, I’ve already ordered a box of John & Kira’s chocolates to bring as a hostess gift. They have their party in mid-December, so they probably haven’t even sent out invitations yet. Last year, we only got a few days’ notice. If they don’t have it, or we don’t get invited, we’ll just eat the gourmet chocolates ourselves.