“My” Holiday Decorating

How Mommy (And You) Can Incorporate the Little Ones in Christmas Decorating

For me the coming of the Christmas season begins with the opening of the “blue bins.” I have 4 large plastic bins. Inside each are treasures I have collected over the years. Most of it is fragile. Some is valuable. All is adored.

In years past, I have used the day after Thanksgiving as bin opening day. All in the house were excused for the day (asked to leave) and I, all alone, by choice, in a sort of private meditation, went about the task of adorning the tree and house with my ornaments. This year, however, the girls wanted to help. Specifically, Madame Butterfly, my littlest one was pleading to help. “Please, please, please mommy … I’ll be careful …” How could I say no to that.

I remember when growing up the family task of putting up the tree, so allowing my little ones to help out seemed right, even though my ornaments are all pretty delicate. No, they are all very delicate and cost a fortune (what was I thinking?). But, in my pre-kid years collecting hand blown glass Christopher Radko ornaments from Germany was a hobby. What can I say? I just love how they illuminate on the tree and their vivid colors are just gorgeous, so, little by little, with each passing year I splurged.

The part I love most about decorating day is opening each little black & purple box. Each ornament reminds me of a moment in time. A particular afternoon of shopping with friends in Los Angeles. A Junior League fundraiser luncheon … A gift from a friend I haven’t seen in years. A memento to mark an important date, like our wedding, the baby’s first Christmas … the list goes on an on. So many memories that are just ours.

Our Christmas tree tells the story of our life, the places we have lived and traveled. The friends who have come in and out of our story. It doesn’t have a theme. It sparkles and glows with our life and I just love it’s meaning. Decorating day is such a special day, sharing it, as stressful as that may be for me, is a good thing.

So, how did the little ones do? Well, Madame Butterfly was very very careful, as she promised. Princess, on the other hand rushed in with her bike helmet still on and slightly damaged one of our special ornaments as she grabbed two from the dining room table and flew toward the tree. But, no worries. We enjoyed the afternoon and hung the now imperfect ornament right up there with the others.

So, this leads me to a few tips for incorporating the kids into holiday decorating:

1. Don’t stress about it getting done quickly. It won’t.
2. Open all the ornaments, and if you have room, spread them across a table. This way you see what you have and can decide what should go where.
3. Don’t get hung up on things being perfect. I say this as much to you as I do to myself. Letting the kids help out was killing me, but, in the end. it was worth it. They now know a little about mommy’s collection and how very very fragile and important it is to me.
4. Every now and then, step back. You will see the empty spots in the tree much more clearly then.
5. Have at least 1 glass of wine. Enjoy it. Have fun!!!
And the most important of all …
6. Get a pre-lit tree! The tangles strands of lights are so unnecessary, unless you go for a real tree.

Happy decorating and ornamenting your life. Merry Christmas.


Elizabeth Montgomery James

After living in California for several years, Beth and her husband, Rod, relocated to Florida, to live, work, and play. They have two adorable daughters, and Beth is very involved with her children’s schools as a parent volunteer, Daisy troupe, and other community organizations such as the Junior League. Beth enjoys crafts, yoga and fitness, as well as a nice glass of Chardonnay. Beth is a graphic designer who has worked on national and international ad campaigns for top consumer brands, and now brings her talents to a variety of projects in and around Central Florida. In addition for bringing classic elegance to everything she touches, Beth has a natural talent for making everything pretty, from kids’ birthday parties to her garden.

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One Response to ““My” Holiday Decorating”

  1. Melina Byers — December 17, 2011 @ 9:21 pm (#

    Beth- it was great to see you last night!! I have an annual ornament exchange and you must come next year. I love Radko!!! And Waterford, Swarovski, Wedgewood, Spade, Reed & Barton… I too have quite the collection. Lots in common! Melina 🙂 xoxo


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