I’m dreaming of a white Christmas

14 Jan

Well, sometimes things don’t work out quite as planned do they? I had this drafted up on the 6th of January, hot on the heels of my last post, but never got a chance to upload the photos before I went out to Whangarei, to beautiful weather and NO internet access. We got home Friday night after one and a half days on the road, and I’ve spent the weekend unpacking, tidying up, and doing our business’ book keeping (with much backdated blog reading in between  to procrastinate) before returning to work today (let’s not dwell on that!). But when I sat down to upload the photos tonight I had a chain of thought that went something like this… “But it’s so late and the photos I took are terrible on account of being a lousy photographer armed with only a cell phone that I don’t know how to use properly and really who cares about your tree and maybe I should wait until next year for better photos but next year I won’t be using this tree and damnitall I blog for ME and I’m sure the 7 people who read this can skim over it if they don’t want and I’ve done all the work so bugger it! Up it goes!”

So one last Christmas hurrah, and I hope you’re not all rolling your eyes at it.

I mentioned in my last post that I love Christmas. I got that from my mum who always made Christmas magical for me as a child and I never grew out of the pleasure I take in Christmas. Unfortunately there was a phase in our lives where Christmas lost some of its magic for a few years. In the lead up to Christmas 2003 Mum and I were talking about it and she announced that she was reclaiming Christmas for what it meant for us. As part of that she got rid of her virtually bald artificial tree and the tired battered remnants of decorations; then bought herself a new artificial tree and announced that she was starting afresh and that her desire was for this tree to be decorated entirely in white, with silver as an occasional contrast.

That was my first Christmas after I moved to Wellington and I had already decided not to bother putting up my own tree and paltry decorations as I was coming home for three weeks over Christmas. Instead I went to Kirkcaldie and Stains, a fancy schmancy department store, and bought some exquisite glass baubles that would work well on a white decorated tree.

Just like that a tradition was born and I have bought white decorations home with me every Christmas since, and this year marked the 10th installment of the tradition. I tend towards glass or porcelain or other luxury materials and have great fun hunting every year for white decorations. Some years the hunting has been less effective and I’ve had to settle for solely silver or for materials that aren’t as nice but then other years, like this one, I have had to reel myself in – as it was this year was a big haul, with me bringing with me at least 23 individual decorations (although in my defence some of them were bought in sets).

Each year once I arrive at my Mum’s place, I take great delight in showing her this year’s haul and we ooh and aah over them, before we enjoy the pleasure of decorating the tree. This year was extra special as my brothers were with us before Christmas and got to help decorate the tree for the first time in several years. It was so much fun!

The tree in all its poorly photographed glory

The tree in all its poorly photographed glory

The tree from another angle

The tree from another angle, still not photographed well

All of the decorations out of their protective tissue and ready to go on the tree

All of the decorations out of their protective tissue and ready to go on the tree

I have a few close-ups of some of my favourite ornaments but there are so many more! Look away know if you think this might bore you and be greatful I’m not showing every single one.

Believe it or not this one is plastic but I love the beautiful shape and the white glitter surface

Believe it or not this one is plastic but I love the beautiful shape and the white glitter surface

This is blown glass, opaque white, with a sugar-like frosting over it

This is blown glass, opaque white, with a sugar-like frosting over it

This is porcelain, with beautiful cut outs

This is porcelain, with beautiful cut outs

THis little bird is porcelain. The white is hard to photograph but it is beautifully faceted to show details of wings and feathers

This little bird is porcelain. The white is hard to photograph but it is beautifully faceted to show details of wings and feathers

Another of this years - a white feather inside a glass bauble

Another of this years – a white feather inside a glass bauble. You can see a bit more detail on the porcelain bird too.

One of a set of four giant butterflies

One of a set of four giant butterflies, and an owl from this year’s set

This is from this year - it's a silver painted pine tip inside a glass onion shaped bauble that is in turn decorated with floral emblems

This is from this year – it’s a silver painted pine tip inside a glass onion shaped bauble that is in turn decorated with floral emblems

Most of the clear baubles were too hard to photograph on the tree - they all showed a reflection of me and my camera!

Most of the clear baubles were too hard to photograph on the tree – they all showed a reflection of me and my camera!

A selection of textile decorations - velvet, satin, and cord

A selection of textile decorations – velvet, satin, and cord

This little glass bird with tail feather was given to me by MrsC for Christmas a few years ago, who didn't at the time know I was collecting white decorations!

This little glass bird with tail feather was given to me by MrsC for Christmas a few years ago, who didn’t at the time know I was collecting white decorations!

The only hand made decorations on the tree, and the only ones not from me - crocheted snow flakes received as part of an ornament swap Mum participated in. How embarrassing!

The only hand made decorations on the tree, and the only ones not from me – crocheted snow flakes received as part of an ornament swap Mum participated in. How embarrassing!

In that first year Mum bought a bunch of cheaper silver decorations as fillers as it was so tricky to find white. Over 10 years her collection has built up quite a lot so this year I am taking home with me all the no longer needed silver fillers. Why is that?

Well, after 9 years in Wellington I have not once spent a Christmas day at home – I have always travelled north and loved it. And in that time I’ve not once bothered to put up my own Christmas tree as I didn’t see the point in putting it up when I’m away for three weeks. But we have decided that hopefully, next Christmas, family will come to us in Wellington! Oh how wonderful! And even before we’d decided that I decided I’m going to put up a tree every year anyway, and enjoy one of my favourite celebrations just that little bit more.

But I only have a tiny selection of decorations to my name.

Oh yes, I have big plans for next Christmas, regardless of where it is!

First I have to resolve my own Christmas Aesthetic Dilemma (CAD) – do I go for red, white, and silver as my theme or peacock colours in blue, green, and silver? I like colour themed trees and want to pick one of these two. Or maybe black and gold and steampunk? Ok, one of these three. Definitely one of these.

I’ve also realised that in 10 years of acquiring beautiful decorations for Mum I’ve never actually made any – and that is going to change, although she doesn’t know that yet! (EDIT – OK, she knows it now as she read my draft. But she doesn’t know what!) So I am looking forward to producing a selection of handmade decorations and accessories, both for my own tree (post solving of the CAD) and for Mum’s tree. I’m already looking forward to next Christmas so much – and to posting about it! Maybe even on time, with decent photos!

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12 Responses to “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas”

  1. macstabby January 15, 2013 at 4:41 am #

    Dude, Christmas tree posts are ALWAYS awesome. I love your current aesthetic, but the others sound awesome too! I personally dig the black/gold/steampunk, but I suppose you’d need to think about difficulty/ease of finding appropriate ornaments- or just make your own! Glad you had a lovely time away from home!

    • missjoiedevivre January 15, 2013 at 11:44 am #

      Thanks heaps! There were actually a bunch of black and gold ornaments around this year which is what got me thinking about it – but what are the likelihood they’ll be around next year? Still, whatever I choose there’ll be some making going on for sure!

  2. kaitui_kiwi January 15, 2013 at 9:08 am #

    Oh! I love the first, third and fourth close ups the most, I want a bird for next year too now! What a great tradition 🙂 A white tree is so pretty. I like the idea of a Steampunk tree too! That would be a fun challenge to make decorations for! At the end of this year we should totally do a decoration swap in our group. Oh and peacock colours sounds fab as well, whatever you decide it will be YOUR tree.

    We went through a bit of a Christmas drought too, I think my Mum just thought us girls were too old and we didn’t need a tree anymore so Christmas just lost a bit of it’s magic but as soon as I left home I reclaimed Christmas too, it’s important and I love Christmas so much (so don’t mind late Christmas posts because it keeps the magic going, hehe!), now I have my own home I want to step up my house decorating too! Next year I have plans for a door wreath, because why not?! and I saw these super cute Deer & Doe ceramic sets on special, so can’t wait to put them out next time…ok, I am rambling now aren’t I? 😉

    • missjoiedevivre January 15, 2013 at 11:48 am #

      I would LOVE to do a decoration swap with you guys! I was thinking earlier that come next year I’ll have to haunt the blogs for decoration swaps or maybe even host one, and this sounds like a great group of people to swap with.

      Rambling and enthusiasm are not the same 🙂 I’m so pleased I’m not the only one who enjoys Christmas! Next Christmas we’ll have to get together sometime beforehand to Christmas craft together and I’m looking forward to seeing next year’s treats you will be decorating with.

      • Kat H January 21, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

        Oooh oh oooh, decoration swap!! Yes yes!!! We could have a mid-winter Christmas dinner, and have a decoration swap as part of it – have a bit of Christmas fun in the middle of the year!!

      • missjoiedevivre January 22, 2013 at 7:38 pm #

        I tried to reply to this when you posted it but WordPress got grumpy with me. I actually have exciting (at least for me) plans for mind-winter-party type things (although no reason why you can’t have plans for the same!) and a decoration swap as part of it is a GREAT idea! Might make winter less horrendous!

  3. Jo January 15, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

    We have always been travelling for Christmas too, so we don’t even have a tree… a white tree is such a cool idea, and where did you find such cool ornaments?? Really neat! I wish I could convince family to come to Welly one year, but I don’t see it happening.. But I would love to make some ornaments anyway 🙂 (I have made some in the past but none as cool as those crochet snowflakes…)

    • missjoiedevivre January 18, 2013 at 6:59 pm #

      Thanks 🙂 Join me in my “I’m travelling but I’ll still have a tree” club! The ornaments are from all over but a lot are from Kirks, Farmers, and Ezibuy! Never say never, I’ve been 10 Christmases away from home before it was suggested to do it at mine. And if you join my club you can make decorations, my mum even has patterns for the snowflakes!

  4. Kat H January 21, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

    Love this post! I haven’t put a tree up for years either – always head home to Dunedin at Christmas, and it seems kinda pointless to put a tree up when I’m not here. But this year, I’ve already decided I’m reclaiming Christmas as well! Even if we won’t be here for it, I’m totally decorating the house. Yes indeed!!

    • missjoiedevivre January 21, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

      Excellent, you can join me and Jo as members of the “I’m travelling but I’ll still have a tree” club! 🙂

  5. Calico Stretch January 24, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

    Our tree was very random with kid made stuff and colours every which where. It was perfect for us and the kids (6 year olds) LOVED LOVED LOVED every inch and sparkle and colour of it.

    We have some gorgeous glass ornaments bought at Harrods in London ages ago which will go up next year as I think the small folk here will finally be able to keep their mitts off them.

    • missjoiedevivre January 24, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

      Ah yes, the incompatibility of small creatures and fragile things. Enjoy having your pretty things on display next year! That’s one of the things I like about Christmas, so many ways to be yourself while celebrating the season. Glad your tree is so perfect for you and yours 🙂

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