My family teases me that we have an Elf that lives amongst us. It may be true. And I’m slightly embarrassed to say that it isn’t an Elf on the Shelf. The Elf who lives amongst us is me. Like clock-work, I pick two days and immerse myself in spending about 48 hours decorating our home and Farm, Hemlock Lane. Typically, the date of decorating falls on my birthday, the 16th and truthfully, I don’t really mind that. I’m off in my own happy spot, greeting all of the boxes that come out of the basement that contain all of our old friends - decorations that have seen us through good times and bad, have chronicled the ebbs and flow of our lives and the woven memories that make up the fabric of our lives. Treasures from when Lizzie was a baby, when certain litters of puppies were born and when foals were foaled. Multiple houses we’ve been honored to call home. Years that were fabulous; some not quite as fabulous. Milestones along the way, buildings built, gardens planted, degrees obtained.
Our kitchen island this year.
Everyone knows when the Elf appears, don’t plan on a home cooked dinner, in fact, she’s off in her own world, blowing the dust off of the boxes and cherished memories. I tend to stay up late at night after everyone goes to sleep, just decorating, tying out new schemes and colors and enjoying the process. The quiet home helps me think; contemplate and plan. And while I do that, it’s also a reflective process for me of evaluating the year. What have we accomplished; what haven’t we accomplished. I rarely add anything new to my decorations; I like mixing up the antiques and decorating what I have. These items are like cherished friends whom I only get to see once a year, so I have to make the most of my time with them. But, it really isn’t the physical things that give me that reaction, it’s the memories that they hold that give me that reaction. So, two days later, when I’m done with the whirlwind of decorating, the tired, but happy and grounded Elf returns to her hiding place and its like magic has sprinkled over our house. In so many ways, its the greatest gift I can give my family, helping us all to create more warm memories.
Two of many feather trees I decorated around our home.
This year, I used mostly evergreen that I cut from the yard, planted Paperwhites and Amaryllis in all vintage mid-century pottery and vintage ceramic dog dishes. I love creating vignettes with cloches and all of my antique animals. I utilize the antiques and topiaries that we live with all year and mica snow and fairy lights everywhere. I do have a huge collection of antique ornaments and I tend to use feather trees for most of those; we also have a family tree with all of our ornaments collected through the years. I also have a tree that features all of the antique ornaments that came with our Farmhouse when we moved in to this Farm, graciously given to us by the former owner; I often think about what those fragile glass ornaments have been witness to in 100 years - some still have 5 cent stickers on them from the local Chagrin Falls Woolworths that closed over 50 years ago. They have witnessed men landing on the moon, wars, the development of antibiotics, vaccines and COVID to name a few.
Our family Christmas tree with our personal collection of ornaments collected throughout the years.
Even my beloved cabinets of animal figures are decorated for Christmas.
For me, the creative process is always a healing process. Create a vignette in your home today and start a lifetime of cherished memories.
Our dining room in its festive glory!
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