Hello and welcome to Episode 11 of Life On the Brink, and the first of our holiday special!
We’re officially all the way into Christmastime! Even if you’re a stickler about “no Christmas before Thanksgiving,” we’re all on board now, and about time! I think we need a little Christmas this year.
Though it does look a little different this year, doesn’t it? We can’t do all of the same things that we always do to celebrate, and I think, for a lot of us, we’ve been returning to the home. And not just because we have to spend so much time there. This year has definitely been eye-opening in terms of priorities, and this season I find myself really valuing my home.
The flashiness and excitement isn’t what’s drawing me into Christmastime this year. Instead, I’m enjoying being at home with Josh and having some simple touches of Christmas throughout the home.
So today I’m just sharing some homemade (or naturally derived) festive decor ideas. Maybe one or two will pop out to you and spark some Christmas imagination.
I’m basically thinking of that scene from Little Women (1994 obvs) where they have Christmas in the middle of the movie. It’s simple, yet magical.
EMBRACING THE OUTDOORS
Josh and I happen to live in an apartment complex that is totally surrounded by pine trees (yellow pine, I recently discovered), the official tree of the season in my opinion. Even if you’re not near a piney area, though, I feel like there are seasonal elements in nature pretty much everywhere.
-I’ve really been on a pinecone thing this year, I just think they look really pretty. So I went hunting around the complex and learned how to clean them here LINK, and now they’re dry and ready to decorate.
-I also picked up some sections of green pine needles after the landscaping crew pruned the trees last week. I may not have a mantle or a fireplace, but I’m enjoying adding little touches of green throughout the home. Plus! I found out that these pine needles can also make a nice tea, so I’m definitely trying that.
-Another cool idea: taking wood slices, either from nature or the craft store, and painting them into handmade ornaments. It brings a nice, raw, natural element to the decor.
I feel like these are really great to bring inside especially if you, like me, have an artificial Christmas tree. Ours is about 3 feet tall and sitting on a table in the living room (it’s so cute), but these touches of the outdoors help to bring that natural beauty into the home.
-Maybe it’s my proximity to Colonial Williamsburg, but dried orange slices have become my new Christmas obsession. This week I’m going to be drying some in the oven and stringing them up on the tree and around the house. It’s a beautiful burst of freshness that has such a classic look.
Ok, these two are a bit more involved:
-I am currently crocheting a LOT of snowflakes. The plan is to make some ornaments (both for myself and for others) and to string some up into a garland. Now, I have been crocheting for several years and am able to follow a basic pattern. I’m by no means an expert, though, so don’t lose heart. Here is the simple snowflake pattern I’ve been using. It might be a fun project for these colder months! Personally, I like giving my hands something to do while watching a movie at the end of the day. It’s honestly very relaxing, and feels like the grown-up
-Finally, here’s one for those of you who are more patient than me. Leonard, a friend from college and fellow Life On the Brink listener, made some stunning cross stitched ornaments for his tree this year. I’m including some photos here, and you can see that it’s way more complicated than the snowflakes.
So if you’re looking for a bit of a crafty challenge, why not pick up some yarn or thread and make something unique and personal for your Christmas collection? It adds a very special touch to the home, I think.
I wanted to add one more little Christmasy addition that kind of gets a category all its own. This year I plan on actually doing one of those “simmers”. You essentially heat water with citrus slices and whole spices (hey that rhymes), maybe I’ll throw a little pine in there too, and just let it simmer slowly, letting the fragrances fill the house. For once, I have cinnamon sticks, so it’s game on.
I wanted to include a couple more references that I think you’ll enjoy. If you’re liking these simple, natural Christmas vibes, you’ll love these two Youtube channels:
-Fairyland Cottage: I mean, it’s in the name right there. Niamh (she’s Irish) does lots of videos on simple living and has several on no spend/no waste holiday decor. She’s the one who inspired me to go hunting for pinecones.
-Darling Desi: My new favorite Youtuber. Desi does a lot of videos on books, but one of her most recent videos focused on Victorian Christmas traditions, and it was LOVELY. She’s the one who inspired me to dry orange slices and try the simmer.
And, naturally, I’m going to suggest you watch (the 1994 version of) Little Women. It’s exactly all those warm Christmasy feelings. Along with that. I definitely recommend the 1985 Anne of Green Gables miniseries, as the Christmas scenes are beautiful and it has all the warm fuzzies.
This Week’s Little Joy:
I finally started watching Gilmore Girls, and I actually do like it now. When I tried watching it a couple years ago it just didn’t take. It turns out that I actually do like the characters and really love the small town community. It took a second to pull me in, but I can tell it’s going to be a great thing for me this winter.
What I’m Listening To:
Tori Kelly’s Christmas album. It makes sense that since she’s one of the best vocalists alive that this would be good. Not since Michael Buble’s have I enjoyed a new holiday album so much! It’s just so good, give it a listen...
Thank you for tuning in to this first of many holiday episodes to come. If you're enjoying it, be sure to let me know in the comments or leave a rating wherever you listen to your podcasts!
Make yourself a little tea, and until next time, friends, have a lovely week!