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Minimalist Christmas Update

A couple of weeks ago I asked you for tips about how to achieve that Christmasy glow with a minimum of time and effort. And you responded with tons of excellent ideas.

Nancy, Patti, Deb and Malva all said to get a real tree, even if it was just a small one. So I got a 4 foot balsam on Sunday evening. But by Monday evening I had to admit it was an odourless balsam, which was kind of disappointing. And I was in a bit of a cranky mood because it was Monday and my tree didn’t smell Christmasy and I wasn’t feeling Christmasy and blah blah bah humbug.

SantaSo I stomped into the kitchen and made Megan’s Christmas brew, only I wasn’t making it to drink, I was making it to smell good. So I went heavy on the cinnamon sticks and cloves, and I threw in a peeled clementine orange. Before long, it started to smell incredibly yummy and Christmasy and I stopped being irritable and I stopped resenting Christmas and I started humming O Tannenbaum! and decorating the odourless balsam.

My tree with the Rogue Elf on top

My house smelled wonderfully of Megan’s Christmas brew for two full days. (I’ve got another batch on the stove right now).

Leftover ornaments enjoy the rosy glow What else? Well, David suggested I replace some ordinary light bulbs with red or orange bulbs, so I did that. This gave my home that warm, hospitable, red-light-district glow. There were a handful of Christmas treasures left over with nowhere to go, so they gathered companionably in the lamp’s rosy glow.

BJ SantaLots of people suggested a wreath. I haven’t done that yet, because I’m not sure how to attach it to my door. Last year I tried to hammer a nail into the door so I could hang BJ Santa (my mother named him that years ago; I had nothing to do with it). But the door is too hard to hammer anything into it. Suggestions?

Meanwhile, I hung BJ Santa on the back door, where he lends a certain warm, inviting, perverse charm. (Speaking of perverse Christmas charm, have you heard about the Rogue Elf?)

Genevieve, all aglowThe mannequins love a little extra sparkle at Christmas, so I decorated them next.

Clarissa and friends

Some of the Santa collection
And then I put out my little collection of Saint Nicks. One of the things I do like about Christmas is going through the Christmas box and finding all the treasures I’d forgotten about. Like the collection of Santa Clauses.

There! Now I’m all awash in Christmas minimalism. I might even bake some gingerbread, if I can find a nice easy recipe.


12 comments to Minimalist Christmas Update

  • Oh Zoom! I saw a bj santa a few days ago on someone’s door!

    There seems to be a very nice minimalist Christmas tradition here involving electric advent candles. Every window will have one single electric candle glowing in the window, or a set of 5. It helps if you have a pretty little victorian farmhouse on a hill with this look. However, even Dartmouth apartment blocks have them, though its usually 5 candles and a mix of red and orange bulbs…hmmmm red light district look you say…I’ll have to ask Maurice where that is in Dartmouth. (He’s all offended that I thought he’d know where such a place was!) Makes me almost wish I was a Catholic!

  • Gillian

    Try the hardware store for a wreath hook. It goes over the top of the door and therefore does no damage. Try Zellers & Walmart too. There are metal ones and plastic, but the plastic is not that durable.

  • I love your collection of st nicks. now I’m off to hang some christmas lights on my mannequin too

  • Patti

    you could try rubbing the tree now and

    or I bet they sell x-mas tree scent in a can!

    I KNow…you must brew up the scent on the stove like you did with the x-mas brew.

    On your way home break some branches off a pine tree and/or a spruce then try simmering.

    minimalist christmas is starting to seem like a lot of work

    my friends and I have a tradition of lowering the x-mas tree out the window from a great height in our building downtown. We call this the defenestration of the tree ceremony. We use ropes and have an upstairs and a downstairs crew. The past couple of times we have guided it to rest in a garbage container where it stays for days sometimes, tinsel sparkling in the breeze, before someone takes it away.

    We weren’t gonna get a tree this year until the 11 year old protested that we would miss the defenestration. She suggested we get the tree just for this reason and then make a bigger party of it. I think we will do it- go get a tree mostly for the joy of lowering it out the window in January.

    Of course it was Robin who taught me the joy of heaving the holiday detritus out the window-it all started with a pumpkin hurtling toward earth with a great whoop and satisfying splat.

  • Hardware store for a wreath hook?

    How about tape string to the top of the door?

  • Deb

    Don’t you have the felt advent calendar too?

  • Deb

    No, it was the felt twelve days of Christmas

  • I thought the wreath hook idea was brilliant until I saw the tape-and-string idea. 😉 Either way, both ideas are better than my hammer and nail approach.

    Dirtwitch, take pictures of everything – the advent candles, the red light district, everything. And why do you wish you were Catholic? (Not that there’s anything WRONG with it…)

    Nursemyra, I need to see pictures of ruby in her christmas finery.

    Patti, I seriously considered throwing the little tree branches that fell off into the Christmas brew. I forget why I decided not to. But about the defenestration tradition: I used to throw my tree off the third-floor balcony and then run downstairs and drag it to the curb. I just called it “throwing the tree off the balcony.” Your way is much better. (Is the throwing of the pumpkin off the balcony referred to as the defenestration of the pumpkin?)

    Deb, I made the felt 12 twelve days in Grade 6 or thereabouts, but it still lives with Mom. She seems to like it.

  • I didn’t know there was a word defenestration, or that it actually meant “the act of throwing something out of a window.” What a useful word! But I don’t know if you can use it for a mere balcony.

  • Upon further investigation, I see you are correct:


    1620, “the action of throwing out of a window,” from L. fenestra “window.” A word invented for one incident: the “Defenestration of Prague,” May 21, 1618, when two Catholic deputies to the Bohemian national assembly and a secretary were tossed out the window (into a moat) of the castle of Hradshin by Protestant radicals. It marked the start of the Thirty Years War. Some linguists link fenestra with Gk. verb phainein “to show;” others see in it an Etruscan borrowing, based on the suffix -(s)tra, as in L. loan-words aplustre “the carved stern of a ship with its ornaments,” genista “the plant broom,” lanista “trainer of gladiators.”

    Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2001 Douglas Harper

  • I promise I’ll send you some photos before christmas.

    pete has started painting the swap box too. one side is already done. it’s yellow with red hearts inside green circles.

    and I thought gay boys were meant to have good taste :-)

  • Tape and string works until it falls off. For 99 cents at Loblaws, they have flat metal hooks that go over the top of the door (there are more expensive ones but I have the 99 cent ones). I have one on the front door for the wreath-of-the-season and one on my sewing room door for my latest project, or the ironing. I’ll try to remember to post a photo of the whole thing on my sewing blog next time I do an entry. Once you have one, you’ll wonder what took you so long – they are sturdy and secure. I don’t even wire my wreath down and it has never come off even in a wind.