I love Christmastime.
It has been a wild run of a year, hasn't it? So much so that I can't believe that at last we are here, preparing for our first holiday season in our new home.
It feels kind of wonderful.
So much so that I didn't want to come up with a "theme" for the decorations. That seemed more awkward and "put upon" than need be! I just wanted...to find the joy in putting them out that I felt when I was kid...and to let this house do what it does best, to shine in its perfect imperfection.
On my morning walks with the dogs, I would gather up stray pine cones and branches that had been knocked over by the Mistral gusts from the previous night. Each day, there would be a few more, so many that I could pick and choose à la Goldielocks.
As always, we are the only people in Provence not to build an elaborate crèche filled with santons depicting characters from traditional village life but rather we will stick to our nativity scene made out of banana bark and bought during a safari in Tanzania, which makes it all the more special to us.
Remi's insistence on choosing the bright red cords for our light bulbs in the small salon seems especially fortuitous now, a festive touch for this time of year.
Despite my glee in thinking, "Where can I put this?" I tried not to get too carried away and so the guest bedroom only has one woodsy garland on the old shutter headboard (I feared anything more might fall on the heads of our guests!)...
...and certainly, Mr. Zen Buddha in our bedroom is far too deep in his meditation to be concerned with such frippery...
...even if it is tempting to bebauble...
...and bedackle even le benitier in the bath!
But there is only so much austerity a girl can take at this time of year...come on, it is Christmas!
And so with trembly fingers I pulled out the crystals from their storage in a vintage glove box one by one. But rather than spend hours patiently affixing them to the tree as I usually do, I balanced on our ladder for a few minutes and attached a few to the iron chandelier in the entry to help welcome the winter light in. Et c'est très bien comme ça...
All in all, the house doesn't look that much different really, which is what I love. Proud to the rafters, it is a house that retains its own character no matter what. I still feel so lucky to live here, I can't quite believe it!
So tell me, do you find the happiness that I do in this one little act? Or has it become a chore? Are you already counting down to midnight on the 31st so you can breathe a sigh of relief for the arrival of the New Year? I know that for me, I feel a lot of freedom here in France in knowing that nothing has to be the "ultimate." Not the gifts, not the tree. Hey, they don't even grow perfectly shaped sapins here so there is no point in searching for one (although I have to admit that I am so excited to finally have room enough for a proper tree. Begone the Christmas Branch)...
It doesn't matter, not in the least. Not for Christmas at our house this year.
Now, is the time to turn on the lights - on the tree, inside your heart, on the roof if need be! - and let them glow.
To see the Monster Tree from my first year of blogging when we lived in the amazing apartment, click here.
To read more about the differences between Christmas in the States and France, click here.
I am actually planning on posting during the holidays, albeit on my currently scaled down "Shh, it is winter" schedule. For those of you that are in the midst of an especially hectic and tiring time (like my my wonderful Mom and her Husband, Leonard, who are working so hard right now - I love you both!), please know that there is a redhead in Provence who is sending you good energy filled with calmness, strength and joy...