Twelvetide

January 2nd. Back to work. Kids are heading back to school tomorrow. Christmas season is over, right? Not if you follow the idea of The 12 Days of Christmas also known as Twelvetide. That ends January 6th.

Respectfully, that is the date at which we take down our Christmas Decorations, the trees, and lights. Our home will once again feel open and clean. As a bonus, our electric bill will go down since lights won’t be sucking power for hours on end.

Half of our neighborhood has already been taking down lights and decorations until next December. I won’t be the first, but we also won’t be the last.

Do you follow the Epiphany? Or have you already taken down the feeling of Christmas in your home? Or perhaps you leave the decorations out a bit longer.

Twelve Days of Appreciation: Day 3-Lights

It wouldn’t be the Christmas season without lights! I love Christmas lights and always have. When I was a child, the outside lights that hung from the roof strung right past my bedroom window. There was no specific sequence of colours- just glass bulbs. Some painted solid colours others were clear. My bed was under the window and I would fall asleep staring up at the lights. One would flash randomly off and on. It was magical to me as a child.

As I grew older, I began having Christmas lights and a small tree in my bedroom. I wanted the magic to be around for the whole winter and the lights stayed on over night; every night. Our next home also had the lights outside my window. Only this time there was a peak, so I got to enjoy twice the lights. My father had changed our lights to be two red and two green alternating now.

Now that I have my own home and can decorate for our family, I have the Christmas lights up on the outside of our home and on by December 1st every year. This year we bought all new lights and everything is warm white. I love how we match more of the neighborhood and it really suits our home much better.

Of course the Christmas trees need lights as well. Over the years we have done multi-coloured, straight red, and now white. I like having matching lights inside and out. It adds a sense of elegance. Christmas lights just brighten my day and I love seeing them everywhere.

Even yesterday I added some lights to our palm tree in the backyard. This is not just to look festive, but also functions to keep it warm as the temperatures drop as we crest into winter.

Are Christmas lights a favorite of yours as well? Show me your lights in the comments or send me a link to Instagram! I’d love to see them!

Twelve Days of Appreciation: Day 2-Decorations

I love decorating for Christmas. I am one of those people who start decorating on November 1st and finish around now. This has always been my favorite part of the transition from Halloween to Christmas. It’s a slow and gradual season change for our home.

I have always loved putting up decorations. As a child, I would put up handmade snowflakes in my room and I even made winter scenes for my toys on display. With the use of craft paper and white cotton batting- my toys enjoyed a winter wonderland. As I grew older, I continued to make my own decorations and put them out. Sometimes I even made decorations and gave them away to specific folks.

Over the years, my wife and I have changed our styles of decorating. For a while it was whatever hand-me-downs and handmade decorations and ornaments we had. Now it’s still some of our own handmade decorations, yet the new ones have become more elegant and comforting.

Soon there will be a time when some of our decorations will be given to our kids. They have been given ornaments over the years that they will take as they start their own decorating and traditions. At that time, I wonder if our home and trees will feel emptier.

A favorite picture of me after decorating.

But for now, I love seeing our home decorated for the festive season. I also enjoy being inspired by others and how they decorate their homes. Christmas decorations bring me joy and really get me energized for Christmas.

Decorating The Tree 2022

Last night we went to work decorating our main Christmas tree. In doing so, we kept our regular traditions alive of how we decorate.

First, we put on The Wiggles: Yule Be Wiggling. This video has been played every year for nearly two decades. It’s a favorite of our teenage kids and it wouldn’t be Christmas without singing along!

Second was having eggnog. My wife had a spiked FIRENOG this year. Which we have been making for years. One of the best combinations for a festive drink that i can imagine. So easy: Fireball and eggnog. Warm and tasty going down.

This year we finished decorating the tree in just under an hour. Later this week our oldest will be coming out to put up their sentimental and special ornaments. They were supposed to come over and join in the fun, but got taken down by Covid earlier this week and hadn’t quite gotten their energy back yet. Maybe we can show The Wiggles again while they decorate their portion!

About two weeks remaining until Christmas and I’d say that our home is festive and welcoming for Jolly Old St. Nicholas to swing by. As well as friends and family- we’d love to share our space with you.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Decorating The Tree 2022

Last night we went to work decorating our main Christmas tree. In doing so, we kept our regular traditions alive of how we decorate.

First, we put on The Wiggles: Yule Be Wiggling. This video has been played every year for nearly two decades. It’s a favorite of our teenage kids and it wouldn’t be Christmas without singing along!

Second was having eggnog. My wife had a spiked FIRENOG this year. Which we have been making for years. One of the best combinations for a festive drink that i can imagine. So easy: Fireball and eggnog. Warm and tasty going down.

This year we finished decorating the tree in just under an hour. Later this week our oldest will be coming out to put up their sentimental and special ornaments. They were supposed to come over and join in the fun, but got taken down by Covid earlier this week and hadn’t quite gotten their energy back yet. Maybe we can show The Wiggles again while they decorate their portion!

About two weeks remaining until Christmas and I’d say that our home is festive and welcoming for Jolly Old St. Nicholas to swing by. As well as friends and family- we’d love to share our space with you.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

I Didn’t Do Much… But Christmas Is 35 Days Away

This past week I was on Staycation. Honestly, I didn’t do much out of the ordinary. I enjoyed time with my family, had a lot of days of just Darwin and I. While my wife and youngest went out to Calgary, I watched his races on the live stream. Which were probably better than being in person as the cameras were ice side. Plus I wasn’t in a cold rink.

Normally if my wife leaves for a weekend, I get antsy and start some major project. Not this weekend. I did take some extra Christmas lights and put them around our gazebo. I mixed the red my wife wanted and the white that I wanted and am pretty happy with how it looks.

I had told my wife last week that I only wanted to put up two of our four artificial Christmas trees. Before they left, she asked that I don’t put up our living room tree until the start of December. I did put up one of the trees we have- I put it up in her office. She was happy went I sent the picture to her. It means we will be putting up a third tree in our basement now.

My wife doesn’t like the idea of downsizing our trees. So moving from four to three really isn’t so bad. We did three trees before. That generally works better for us. One is our elegant tree, one is the kids tree (all those handmade and silly ornaments collected over the years), and our third is usually just the ornaments we like, but they don’t quite go on either of the other two trees (yet we cannot get rid of the ornaments). A fourth tree is just too much. Mostly we just had lights and it would be outside

I enjoyed my time off. Now it’s back to the grind. At least until my next week of vacation at Christmas.

I Didn’t Do Much… But Christmas Is 35 Days Away

This past week I was on Staycation. Honestly, I didn’t do much out of the ordinary. I enjoyed time with my family, had a lot of days of just Darwin and I. While my wife and youngest went out to Calgary, I watched his races on the live stream. Which were probably better than being in person as the cameras were ice side. Plus I wasn’t in a cold rink.

Normally if my wife leaves for a weekend, I get antsy and start some major project. Not this weekend. I did take some extra Christmas lights and put them around our gazebo. I mixed the red my wife wanted and the white that I wanted and am pretty happy with how it looks.

I had told my wife last week that I only wanted to put up two of our four artificial Christmas trees. Before they left, she asked that I don’t put up our living room tree until the start of December. I did put up one of the trees we have- I put it up in her office. She was happy went I sent the picture to her. It means we will be putting up a third tree in our basement now.

My wife doesn’t like the idea of downsizing our trees. So moving from four to three really isn’t so bad. We did three trees before. That generally works better for us. One is our elegant tree, one is the kids tree (all those handmade and silly ornaments collected over the years), and our third is usually just the ornaments we like, but they don’t quite go on either of the other two trees (yet we cannot get rid of the ornaments). A fourth tree is just too much. Mostly we just had lights and it would be outside

I enjoyed my time off. Now it’s back to the grind. At least until my next week of vacation at Christmas.

Wreathing

Over the years we have made numerous Christmas decorations and wreaths. The wreaths are probably my favorite. This year we added two new ones.

The one on the right I had made about four years ago- Wreath Making on the Cheap. The Jack Skellington one was in the process of being made for a couple of years. Both are now hanging up on the doors to my wife’s office. Inside her office is a shrine to The Nightmare Before Christmas. I’ll share that in a future blog.

The wreath on our front door was completed last week by yours truly. Since our home is going more “elegant” it required me to take the red and green off of it. This one has a bunch of “picks” that are gold, silver and white in colour. Honestly, these were small decorations that we had sitting in a box and saved for years. Now they have a purpose.

I’m a fan of making decorations and homemade ornaments and such. Last year two of my favorite pieces were made: Upcycles Boards.

Do you make your own Christmas Decorations? Let me see in the comments. I love being inspired by others.

Can You Ever Have Enough Christmas Decorations?

Boxes of Christmas decorations have exploded in my home. It isn’t until I begin bringing them out of the attic that I realize how much we have. It may be time to downsize some of the decorations. It took me a good half hour with help to get everything out. That doesn’t include our four artificial trees and those decorations!

Bins and boxes filled our dining room table as well as the floor space around. Opening each box contains a new surprise. Sometimes it’s exactly what I was expecting inside, but most often it contains the unknown.

Since we changed our colour theme last year to silver, gold and blue- we now have an abundance of red and green balls and baubles. Lucky for us, it should fit in nicely in our basement. Downstairs has more earthy brown tones as the colour scheme.

I have been working on some new layouts to keep it looking uncluttered. I also kept the same design of the garland from last year. Of course this means having some of our cutesy decorations needing a place to live. We have so many stuffed toys that come out for Christmas. As well as a growing collection of Nightmare Before Christmas trinkets.

My family is surprised that I am so far behind in decorating. Good thing I have a week of vacation to do the displays and set up the house just right.

Let’s get decorated!

Halloween Is Over

It took less than 30 minutes for me to pack up the Halloween decorations and put them back into the attic. And of course, I decided to bring some Christmas decor down. Specifically the one that has brought the family the most joy.

Creepy Santa has Returned. He came out of the attic the day after Halloween- knowing that his time to emerge and terrify was upon us. He immediately disappeared into his first hiding location. Waiting to be discovered.

The only other decoration that makes an appearance so soon is Timmy- our tin soldier. All year-round he sits in the corner of our outside front entryway underneath our security camera. Once Halloween is over- he gets turned to guard our entrance. I was thinking that I may move him to the upper balcony instead, so he can watch over the neighborhood. He is the perfect pop of color needed for our house.

Because the weather was so nice today, a part of me was almost ready to put up the outdoor Christmas lights. But some of my plans were changed around and the idea fell towards the back burner only to be ignored completely by sundown. Maybe it’s too soon for Christmas decorations. Hahaha.

Have you begun slowly Christmas decorating as well? Or do you bring everything out at once?

September Ends…

September flew by. Even though I am spending my afternoon in the pool because of this beautiful weather, fall is in the air. that means there is only one thing left to do. Get ready for Halloween!

After working on the front yard, our middle child and I pulled out our Halloween decorations from the attic and they began to set up the front yard. Our entry is now a mix of autumn and Halloween- which I love.

Earlier today, the neighbors came by with a chainsaw and we cut down a tree in the front yard. It was at such a poor angle that I was unable to correct it over the past year. Once we cut it down, we noticed that the middle was starting to rot out. It was only a matter of time before it had to come down anyways.

After cutting the tree down, Darwin placed our axe happy gnome on display. A perfect ornament for the front yard! His name is HP Gnomecraft and he is scary.

I love the transition from summer to autumn. It gives me a chance to plant some new plants for spring. It also means that Christmas is just around the corner! I love Halloween and Christmas. Decorating is my favorite!

Have you begun decorating for Halloween yet? Perhaps you are working on some Christmas crafts.

Let me know what you have going on.

Interior Christmas Decorations 2021

Today we worked on decorating the inside of our home for Christmas. I know it’s early in the season, but we have a busy schedule until Christmas that we are utilizing the days off we have ahead of time. With a new home, it meant trying to find the feel for where everything will fit.

Previously in our other home I had made some Hand Made Decorations, specifically garland. The last house was a brick home and Eastern European in style. So I incorporated a red, green and gold theme in all of our decorations. I also had multicolored Christmas lights woven throughout. Today, I took it all apart to start over.

The family decided that our new colour scheme for the main floor was going to be silver, gold and blue. I saved all of the gold from the previous garland. I bought a bunch of shatterproof silver ornaments (read as plastic) to add to the garland strands. Much like before with the perfect amount of outdoor Christmas lights- I had the perfect amount of garland as well.

Hanging the garland above the windows and doors was time consuming but well worth it in the end. That aspect of our home looks elegant. We have been slowly putting out some of the other decorations, doing our best to make it feel natural. Having our teenagers help was great as well. They brought their own touches and opinions to the design.

We have an abundance of red and green ornaments. Next week we will be putting them on the outside of our home. Mostly on the wreaths and a tree. We will also add those multicolored lights to match the outside lights.

I love decorating for Christmas.

Halloween Home 2021

Yesterday was the first Halloween in our new home. Not knowing the neighborhood made it difficult to predict how much candy we needed to purchase for giving away. In the end, we had about 60-70 kids show up.

Not to brag, but our house drew a lot of attention last night. Kids came bounding down the hill and bypassed the neighbor’s homes in order to stop at ours. We had a modestly decorated home. However, I did put up a sheet on our open garage and showed a movie. You could hear “The Nightmare Before Christmas” down the street. Perhaps that’s what drew the kids…

Some of the neighbors also came over to chat with us. This was the first time that a few of us had the chance to hang out. It was a beautiful evening so we pulled out the fire pit and talked about the neighborhood. It was a warm and welcoming experience.

My wife and I enjoyed the night hanging out, giving away candy and socializing. Afterwards we went to the backyard and watched the fireworks out in the distance across the cityscape. All in all a good evening had in our new home for our first Halloween. I look forward to many more years of this.

Halloween Is On The Way

I love October. It means Halloween is on the way!

I can start to wear more black clothes than I already did. I also have the next couple of months to wear some of my “Nightmare Before Christmas” t-shirts. I remember seeing that film in the theater as a teenager when it first came out. I took my girlfriend at the time on a date to our local six plex. Since then, so many women I know have loved the movie. Perhaps they have a thing for tall skinny dudes?

Getting closer to Halloween also means things are more spooky! Over the weekend, I pulled out some of our decorations and set them up in the yard. The two banners I picked up from the movie theater in 2003 still make up for the largest part of my decorations. Each banner is approximately 4’ x 8’ so they look spectacular (or is that spooktacular) hanging on our front windows. I have had numerous friends wanting to buy these banners from me. They keep asking when I will part with them. Probably never. They are an integral part of our Halloween decor.

Are you starting to decorate for Halloween? Or do you wait until a few days before? Let me know in the comments.

When To Decorate For Halloween?

It’s September now, and I know summer isn’t officially over until nightfall on September 21. The next day is the first day of Autumn. So my question is, when is it okay to decorate for Halloween?

I enjoy decorating for Autumn and Winter. I also love Halloween and Christmas. To me, each of them is a separate entity. So a few changes occur as we transition from one to the next. I’m pretty sure that next weekend I will be jumping the gun and start putting out our Fall decorations.

I’m not quite ready to tackle Halloween yet. I was at Home Depot the other day and saw these 12 foot skeletons that light up. Spending 400-500 dollars on one seems very extravagant. Even though these are cool and make for a wow factor in a home- whatever happened to some styrofoam tombstones and cobwebs?

Don’t get me wrong, I love Halloween. I just prefer to make my own costumes and props. I have been known to put in a bit more effort some years. I especially love pumpkin carving. But I do feel that I should wait until October 1st before really hitting the haunted factor.

A few fake pumpkins, and some brown and red leaves will be the extent of my decorations for now. Perhaps I shall wait and see what our new neighborhood does for the season. Nah. I’ll still do what I want. Perhaps we will go big this year!

Family Decorating the Tree Time

Today was a late afternoon of decorating our third tree as a family. We had Rudolph playing in the background as we do every year. My wife has been doing a fantastic job over the years of keeping each of their ornaments separated. This made the decorating so much easier. Especially since this tree hosts our keepsake ornaments.

Trying to get a good picture during the decorating is always difficult. Someone is always on the move or deciding they don’t want their picture taken. Or the obvious- back is turned because they are putting an ornament on the tree. But I was able to snag a few candid shots before our obligatory “Family Photo” in front of the tree.

As our children continue to grow, even now as our eldest is an adult, I wonder how many more days I have like today with them. I also know that our family dog, Lex, is getting up there in dog years. Capturing these moments is heartwarming. Sharing them with the world is a necessary evil. I love seeing other people showing their family time, and I hope that my friends also enjoy seeing our smiles.

So take care this December. And take lots of photos of your loved ones- including pets- to remind yourself that 2020 isn’t all bad. At least that’s the advice I’m giving myself this year.

Shattered Memories

We decorate three Christmas trees in our home every year. We always start with a “Children’s Tree” and a “Traditional Tree” in our main living space. Usually one on either side of our dining room. Every year we enjoy dancing around to Yule Be Wiggling while we decorate. This is the first year that I played just the music instead of the movie.

Besides the ornaments that our children have made over the years, there are a couple of ones that I have kept from my youth. There are a couple of pictures from 1979/1980 in a paper craft style ornament I made back in preschool/kindergarten.

We always do these trees before we decorate our “Special Tree”. That’s because we are bound to break at least one ornament in the process. Every year it seems that someone new breaks one. This year was our son who knocked an ornament off.

Breaking an ornament is an unfortunate tradition we have in our home. But it’s still a tradition- just like decorating the trees. No one gets hurt or angry, we just accept that a shattered bauble is bound to happen.

Cleaning for Christmas Season

This past weekend we did a pretty good cleaning up of the downstairs of our home. My wife has been adamant over the years that we are not permitted to put out Winter Decorations until the house is cleaned up. I push every year to start the process in early November.

That’s because I love decorating our home for winter!

This year, my wife was a big part of the decorating process. In fact, the entire family was a huge help and we had fun doing it. Well, maybe not the cleaning aspect… but the decorating for sure! All that’s left is the trees to come out after my wife’s birthday… on December 6th.

Have you already started decorating for the winter solstice or other such celebrations?

Ahead of the Game

Yesterday I mentioned that I was looking for Christmas light clips in: Make it. That is because I’m trying to get ahead of the winter season. I like to put up my lights in early November, but I don’t turn them on until December. That’s because I don’t want to be freezing my fingertips or standing on the roof in the rain trying to put up lights.

I also sneak a couple of decorations out a bit early. Just because of the hassle of getting a ladder in the cold. We have four large baubles that hang from our ceiling in our main foyer. I hate putting them up every year, so I just git’r’done immediately after Halloween.

Since I am crafty, I also do something unique every year. This year is a couple of cheap wooden crates painted in red that will hold Christmas stuffed animals. We will put them underneath the stairs in our front foyer. I figured I better paint them now and let them dry 100% before putting anything inside. It also gives me a chance to decide if I want to add anything more to the boxes. Like a hand painted sign or fake holly. We shall see.

Are you getting ready for those winter holidays yet? Let me know in the comments. Plus I love to see what other people craft. It always brings me joy seeing stuff made from scratch. It always inspires me to do better.

Spooky Season

Every year I get excited for Halloween. We’ve already begun decorating the front of our home. We have a few more items to set up inside our home at the start of October- in order to really get into the festive mood.

Last year’s Skesis costume is this year’s decoration.

However, this year I don’t have a costume idea. It’ll probably be some last minute idea or I’ll just wear a previous year’s outfit. Even though I now have a 3D printer and can step up my Cosplay game- I don’t feel like I have the time to get something built. Last year took me a couple of months to make. Besides, my printer is working non-stop lately and I’m already beginning to run out of filament!

Pumpkin from 2018. Took three hours to complete.

While I wait for more plastic to arrive, I will be trying to find a pumpkin carving idea. The kids are excited about carving pumpkins again this year. That’ll be another arduous task for me. I have a passion when it comes to carving pumpkins. Having spent up to 8 hours to get one done only to have it rot a few weeks later- it sees crazy to do them. But I’m getting faster, so I can also help out my teens with their carvings. I’m passing the crazy on to them.

When do you start getting ready for Halloween? What is your costume this year?

Let me know in the comments.

Natural Decorating

I love decorating our home for Christmas. One of my favorite styles is keeping it “Country Living”. I utilize nature as much as possible.

In the past I have used fallen branches as a part of our decor. Hanging them from under the skylight or adorning our main entryway. Using natural branches also means that every year the decorating changes.

I have even made tealight holders from the thicker branches. I finished them off with some red burlap string and modpodge glue in order to keep their sheen.

This year my wife suggested we use some holly branches. She loves the look of the red holly berries against the vibrant greenery. Holly, just like pine trees, keep their colours for quite some time. But once the season is over- they become brittle and dry.

I’m loving that each year we modify our decorating just a little bit and that I use nature to do it.

What do you make at Christmas?

The Family Saturday

Today was a long day filled with some quality family time. Quality time is something that I treasure whenever we can get it.

It started with early morning speed skating training, followed by a free movie at the theater. It was Community Day so we took in a classic film- “A Christmas Story” to start our season right. By far one of my most favorite films. Seeing it in the theater added a new ambiance to the film and legitimate out loud laughs by the audience.

The film was over around lunch. We came straight home, did a quick tidy/clean before settling in to a favorite family activity. It’s the first Saturday after my wife’s birthday, so that meant decorations for our trees were to go up!

Loads of fun, dancing, singing and smiles were had. It helped that my wife and I had cookies and Firenog as well. Today is a day that our oldest loves to be a part of and willingly gets her picture taken with a smile!

We have three trees, so the kids rotate which topper they put up. It’s the first year I haven’t lifted anyone up to do it. It’s also the first year that my wife did this:

She broke an ornament! It’s not Christmas until at least one ornament explodes.

More Painted Wood

About a month ago I Painted Wood with some winterscape images. I was happy with my first go around that I had to make some more.

What I liked with this one is the rainbow of colours in the sky. I enjoyed blending the colours to create the illusion of an early morning with a slight reflection below.

The other piece I did was of a pathway curving off with a couple of mountains in the faded background. The single tree stood silently with a hint of snow speckled throughout. I liked that I remembered the rule of lightning and the moon’s glow cast a faint shadow from the tree.

The thing about my paintings is that when painting snow, I wanted to portray a semblance of realism- that snow isn’t brilliant white. Snow has a tendency to reflect the light and colours of it’s surroundings. Hints of blue or grey, yellows and pinks make snow a tad more magical.

Using carvings from trees has added a natural wood frame around my paintings. These frames limit what I can paint, but also help the finalized landscapes come to life. I have a few more to finish up and share.

Now the question remains- do I keep them, sell them or give them away? A labour of love and a new found hobby has brought forth something from inside of me. I don’t want it to become commercial, so selling these isn’t likely.

Painted Wood

This afternoon I decided to get back into painting again. I wasn’t overly happy with how my Black Canvas turned out this past summer. It wasn’t nearly as good as my Cherry Blossom Painting from last September. But today, instead of a canvas, I painted some winter scenes on wood.

The first one I completed rather quickly and was happy with the results. So I lacquered up the edges of the natural wood frame and began on another.

I’m really happy with how both pieces turned out. They are rather generic winter themes so they will work no matter where I put them. It has made me love the idea of painting again. Time to scour the wood shed and hope to find some more pieces like this.

The pieces even look good hung up on our walls as well. It’s going to be tough to take them down once spring arrives.

It’s Halloween Time!

Oh my goodness Halloween has arrived! And it feels like it got here a day early. I don’t think I’m ready for it. There’s still things to do!

  • Carve the pumpkin
  • MORE DECORATIONS!
  • Get candy
  • Unfortunately those three things will not happen this year. My last week just flew by. I did buy a pumpkin, but I don’t have the hours remaining in order to carve a good image like I have in the past. Last Year’s Pumpkins took about eight hours to complete. Having no time left is okay with me. I was able to work on my son’s costume and my costume this month instead. Read about his costume here and my costume here.

    Only a few hours remain until we venture out into the evening with friends. I’m looking forward to seeing the costumes that people come up with.

    So have a safe Halloween out there! Make sure you watch for kids on the roads who may be getting excited and forget to be smart as they go from house to house. Oh and give out the good candy- none of those raisins! Let me know which house is giving full size bars as well!

    Happy Halloween!