Showing posts with label Christmas Decorations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas Decorations. Show all posts

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Celebrating the Christmas Season in St. Charles

 

Christmas Decorated Bandstand

Christmas on historic Main Street in St. Charles Missouri is always a wonderful way to spend some time.  The shops are all decorated for the holidays, and it is very festive looking.  On this post I will tell you about the festival that is the highlight of the holiday on Main Street and give you a photographic tour of the area with photos I took on a beautiful December morning.

Looking down Main Street at Christmas
Main Street Decked out for the Holidays.

Storefront with Merchandise on Sidewalk
Storefront with Merchandise Displayed on Sidewalk

The photo above shows one of the creative ways the storeowner uses his merchandise to add to the festive decorations.

Windows and Doorways

The decorating of store windows and entrances adds to the festival atmosphere.

Decorated Doorways

Store Windows are Decorated with Merchandise


Christmas Traditions

Christmas Traditions is an annual festival held each year from Thanksgiving until Christmas.   It is a very exciting time for young and old alike. Each Friday evening through Sunday evening you will find a host of storybook characters walking around Main Street.  Characters like the Sugar Plum Fairy, Jack Frost and Santa's from many lands are all handing out trading cards.  My granddaughters loved to try to collect all the cards when they were younger and came to visit.

At noon on Saturdays and Sundays all of the characters follow Santa and Mrs. Claus on a parade down Main Street, while children both young and old line the streets to watch.  When not in the parade Santa can be found in the railroad station where you can get your photo taken with Santa.

Other traditions include carolers walking the streets and singing carols and vendors selling things like roasted chestnuts and hot Wassil.

Children can send a letter to Santa and drop it in the special mailbox.

red mailbox



Decorations Galore

Wreaths are found everywhere on buildings, windows and doorways.

Green and red wreath


This big tree and the red sleigh in front of it is a favorite place to stop and have take a photo of your group.


Red sleigh in front of Christmas Tree

Greenery Decoration in Tub


I hoped you enjoyed seeing one of the ways we celebrate the holidays in my area.  

A few years ago, I wrote about Main Street St Charles with an emphasis on the history of the area.  You can find it at this link.  Photographing Christmas in Historic St. Charles


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Tuesday, December 12, 2023

A Review of The Christmas Tree And Traditions

Christmas Tree

One of the traditions I love is putting up and decorating the Christmas tree which we usually do in the second week or December. We usually play Christmas music and for us it feels like the beginning of Christmas! Closer to Christmas we put the presents under the tree. 

Our local towns and cities usually have a Christmas tree displayed somewhere central which look beautiful.

A Minster local to us holds a Christmas Tree celebration each December where all the local charities put up and decorate a Christmas tree in unique and traditional ways in the Minster. People visit and the money raised goes to the charities. It is a wonderful way of raising awareness for the charities, seeing beautiful decorations and having fun for all the family!

Every year an enormous Norwegian Fir tree is cut down in Norway and shipped to London UK to be proudly displayed as the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square. This has been a tradition since 1947 when Norway has thanked Britain for its support during the Second World War. 

Whether its a real tree or an artificial one for many of us it is the centrepiece of Christmas decorating in our homes and a really fun part of Christmas for adults and children alike. 

Presents under the Christmas tree


History Of The Christmas Tree

The Christmas tree has become a mainstay of the festive season, but it is not a new decoration. Its origins date back a long time when the tradition of bringing evergreen trees or branches into the home in winter can be traced all the way back to cultures such as the Vikings, Romans and  Egyptians.

These civilizations viewed evergreen trees as symbols of life and rebirth, and brought them indoors to ward off evil spirits during the winter solstice. They also served as a reminder during the depths of winter, of the life of Spring to come. 

However, the modern Christmas tree as we know it today has its origins in Germany.

Decorating a tree with ornaments, garlands and candles became popular in the 16th century and became a tradition in Europe and beyond. 

The Christmas tree was introduced to England in the 19th century. Queen Victoria's German husband, Prince Albert, brought the tradition with him to the royal court. Once people saw the Royal family with a Christmas Tree people aspired to have one for themselves. 

In America, the Christmas tree tradition was popularized by German immigrants in the 19th century.

By the early 20th century, the Christmas tree had become a firm favourite and treasured symbol of the festive season and it remains a beloved tradition for many people.

Decorated Christmas Tree

Christmas Trees In All Shapes, Sizes And Decor.

Some of us choose large trees, some small. Some people like a modern tree which may be made of wood or metal, a pre lit bare branched tree, or a full branched traditional one either green or snowy to name a few.

They can be small, large, real ones chosen from the fields or artificial and pre lit or not. They can be decorated with all manner of items from real pine cones to baubles, family pieces and handmade crafted items and lights which can be bright white, soft gold or colours. 

Some ornaments are handed down through generations, or new ones bought each year. 

We still have Christmas baubles and tinsel handed down to me from my parents which we display every year and we occasionally add to our collection. 

Close up of decorations on the Christmas tree

People site their Christmas trees in different places. For many it will have pride of place in the main living room, others may have it in the entrance hallway or in the dining room and some may have a couple of trees, maybe a main large one then a smaller table top one. 

A Christmas tree can be decorated in traditional red and green, or golds, bronze, pinks, silver and white or really anything you choose! 

Some people like it decorated in a restrained way while for others no amount of decoration is too much. 

Some people let their children decorate it in any way they wish, while others have a strict theme.

Its really anything you and your family desire and makes you happy! We love ours especially in the cold, dark winter evenings when the golden lights twinkle and it is just a really pretty, cosy look to our main living room. 

  

So in this way the Christmas tree whether real or artificial has evolved over time from a symbol of life and rebirth, to a cherished holiday tradition for Christmas celebrations. It is certainly a key part of our Christmas traditions and we love it ! 

Love to hear which Christmas Tree you choose for your home and how you decorate it!  

Wishing You Happy Christmas!!


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Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Sunday, December 10, 2023

10 Ways to Decorate for Christmas That Won't Cost a Fortune

10 Ways to Decorate for Christmas that Won't Cost a Fortune

Tis the season to turn our homes into a festive haven, and below are ten suggestions on how to do it without burning a hole in your wallet. You don't need a fat bank account to make your space feel like a winter wonderland.

Ten Affordable Ways to Decorate for Christmas:

1. Use Mother Nature:

Grab some pinecones, twigs, and evergreen branches from your backyard or a local park. Arrange them in vases or create a rustic centerpiece for your dining table. It's like bringing some of the outdoors inside, and it won't cost you a dime.

2. Paper Snowflake Throwback:

I remember making paper snowflakes as a kid. Well, it's time to revive that tradition. All you need is some plain white paper and a bit of folding and cutting. Hang these delicate creations around your place for an instant touch of winter charm. All you have to do is google "how to make a paper snowflake," and you'll see instructional videos come up - or go straight to YouTube with that search.

3. Crafty Ornaments:

Get your DIY on by making your own Christmas ornaments. Raid your stash for old fabric, buttons, or whatever you've got. Personalized and budget-friendly – that's the way to go. Again, a YouTube search for "how to make crafty Christmas ornaments" will return some creative ideas.

4. Twinkle Lights Galore:

Who can resist the cozy glow of string lights? Drape them around your windows, toss them in glass jars or vases (I do this), or get artsy and wrap them around lamps. You'll find many choices on Amazon when you search for "string lights." Notice that many are battery operated - you can always use small LED Christmas lights if where you place them is near a plug outlet. I have a collection of both battery and plug-in lights to put anywhere. 

5. Upcycled Decor Delight:

Give your existing decor a festive facelift by getting creative. Add ribbons, bows, or small ornaments to everyday items like candles or vases. It's amazing what a little repurposing can do. Easy peasy!

6. DIY Wreath Extravaganza:

Greet your guests with a homemade wreath on the front door. Collect branches and pinecones, or even repurpose some old fabric to create a wreath without breaking the bank. I've never been into making a wreath, but I know many who love to do this. Collect what you can from outside and use extra bows and ribbons to deck it out further - you can even add small holiday decorations to the wreath.

7. Candlelit Magic:

Candles are your budget-friendly besties. Group them on a tray, add a touch of greenery, and boom – you've got a centerpiece for your table or mantle. The flickering flames set the perfect festive mood. Look at these real wax flameless candles that my friend Margaret uses and highly recommends.

8. Edible Elegance:

Why not combine decor with treats? Fill glass jars with colorful candies, hang candy canes on the tree, or create a gingerbread house centerpiece. It's a feast for the eyes and a treat for the taste buds. If you can find budget Christmas candy, this is a lovely way to bring the season into a room.

9. Personalized Stocking Fun:

Forget expensive stockings – make your own! Grab some old fabric or felt, or repurpose those worn-out sweaters. Add a personal touch with some embroidery, and you have stockings that tell your family's unique story.

10. Printable Cheer:

Spruce up your walls with downloadable festive art. Print and frame holiday quotes or whimsical illustrations. It's an affordable way to bring the holiday spirit to every corner of your home. You'll find many places to print free art for personal use online. Simply do a Google search for it, and many options will pop up.

In a nutshell, transforming your home into a holiday haven doesn't have to break the bank. With a dash of imagination and a sprinkle of holiday magic, you can create a warm and inviting atmosphere that captures the true spirit of Christmas. 

Merry Christmas!






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Wednesday, October 25, 2023

The Most Beautiful Christmas Stockings for Elegant Holiday Decor

The Christmas holidays are a time when many of us enjoy our festive traditions. One of the most cherished of these is decorating our homes for NoČ…l.

Some families use the same holiday decorations year after year, while others enjoy changing things up and choosing a different theme each year. Similarly, some prefer traditional country cottage themes, while others like more sophisticated, elegant Christmas decor.

Today, I'll review a curated selection of Christmas stockings in elegant fabrics, such as velvet, satin, and brocade, with beautiful, sparkling, and lavish trims such as sequins, lace, faux jewels, and faux fur.

My picks focus on large stockings (18 to 22 inches in length) that will accommodate a lot of treats or long or unusually shaped stocking stuffers. The length is usually measured from the top corner (where the hanging loop is attached) to the end of the toe.

Also, please note that most of these styles feature embellishments on one side only.

If your stockings or other holiday decorations could use an update, or if someone you know will be celebrating the holidays in their own house or apartment for the first time, read on for some classy Christmas decor ideas.

Elegant Christmas Stockings

Gold and White or Ivory

Gold and off-white or ivory is a popular color scheme for those who love elegant holiday decor.

There's something magical about a gold-and-white or gold-and-ivory room, especially at Christmas. Maybe because it's a bit impractical for every day that makes it so appealing for this special occasion.

But gold and white or ivory Christmas stockings and other decorations are also a wonderful choice for a room with colorful walls or upholstery. The light colors really stand out against the colorful backdrop.

Following are some wonderful options that would be chic individually and also would mix and match beautifully for a lovely display on a fireplace mantle. All of them are generously sized (20- or 21-inch length) to accommodate stocking stuffers of many sizes.

This set of 2 Valery Madelyn off-white and gold embroidered Christmas stockings is perfect for someone who loves elegant Christmas decor with a dash of bling. The off-white, pale ivory stockings are embroidered with metallic gold thread and sequins, are accented with clear faux jewels, and have a lavish gold brocade cuff.

One features ornaments and the other a floral lace design.

These come with Santa-themed tags so you can write the names of your family members to identify which stocking belongs to whom.

The same manufacturer also makes this lovely set of 2 Valery Madelyn gold, ivory, and white patchwork Christmas stockings. While patchwork isn't usually associated with elegance, this style definitely qualifies.

They feature gold sequins embroidered in a patchwork of geometric triangles, stripes, and diamond patterns that remind me a bit of Argyle designs.

One is trimmed with ornate gold cords, while the other has a wide band of white faux fur trim near the top.

I think they would look great with either the embroidered set shown above or the gold sequin trimmed set with LED lights shown below.

Like the previous style, these come with Santa-themed tags so you can personalize each stocking with the family member's name.

For those who love to go all-out with holiday bling, this set of 5 white and gold sequin Christmas stockings with twinkling LED lights is sure to please! There are five different sequined designs in the assortment, which may include a Merry Christmas greeting, a snowflake, a pair of reindeer, a Christmas tree, a pine bough with a pinecone, a wreath, or other holiday decor themes.

Each stocking is cuffed with white plush faux fur. The white LED lights are battery-operated. Just put the battery into the compartment, turn on the switch, and watch the stockings sparkle!

Note: Some customer reviews complain about the included batteries. I would suggest buying fresh, good-quality batteries separately if the ones that come with them aren't up to snuff.

Although these don't come with tags to personalize them, each design is different so it's easy to assign a specific design to each family member.

Silver and White

While not quite as popular as gold and ivory or white, pairing silver with white also makes a beautiful and festive color scheme for your holiday decor. As with gold and white or ivory, silver and white Christmas stockings and decorations also create a great contrast in a colorful room.

The following selections in this frosty and elegant palette include luxe, silky, or plush fabrics, and sparkling, luxurious trimming materials.

This set of 2 White Faux Fur Christmas Stockings With Silver Sequin Snowflakes would help make even a warm-weather family or living room look like a winter wonderland.

The plush fabric is velvety soft and begs to be patted, while the silver sequin snowflakes add sparkle and shine to this pristine white set.

These stockings are also a generous 22 inches long, so there's plenty of room to stuff them with holiday goodies.

These are available without personalization, or you can choose the personalized faux fur stockings option to have names embroidered on the cuffs.

Another pick featuring white plush fabric with silver sequins is this lovely Set of 2 Valery Madelyn White Faux Fur Christmas Stockings With Silver Sequin Embroidery. Unlike the previous set, this one has two different but coordinating designs.

One design features silver sequin snowflakes in various sizes scattered across the velvety white plush background. The other is embroidered with silver sequins in a scalloped design reminiscent of a snowy, shingled roof.

The reverse side of each stocking is a silky, white panne velvet fabric.

These stockings are 21 inches long to hold a plethora of holiday treats, and they are trimmed with lavish, long-haired, white faux fur cuffs.

As with the other Valery Madelyn styles, these come with Santa tags that you can personalize with the designated family members' names.

One of my favorite selections is this set of 4 Gray and White Velvet Christmas Stockings With Silver Sequins, Rhinestones, and White Faux Fur.

Two of the stockings are fronted with gray velvet and two are white velvet. All four are embroidered silver sequins in different designs that might include a snowman, a reindeer, a Christmas tree, a snowflake, Santa in his sleigh, or a flatbed carrying a pine tree home to its new place of honor.

Each one is trimmed with a white faux fur cuff and is fully lined to prevent the contents from poking through the fabric.

These are 20 inches long and would mix and match well with either of the two previous selections if you have a large family.

Although there is no personalization option for these gorgeous stockings, each has a different design, so it's easy to tell whose is whose.

A similar and equally opulent choice is these stunning personalized silver and gray Christmas stockings with silver sequins and embroidered faux fur cuffs.

The luxurious silk fabric is the perfect foil for the silver sequin embroidery with clear crystal rhinestone accents. There are six different designs including snowflakes, Santa on his sleigh, Christmas trees, a bough with a pinecone, and other holiday themes. 

These hand-sewn styles are 20 inches long. The white faux fur cuffs can be personalized with family members' names in your choice of four fonts.

You can purchase individual stockings or sets of up to six assorted designs, depending on your needs.

Red or Green and Gold

Red and green are traditional colors for Christmas decorations. Either red or green accented with metallic gold can be a simple and elegant color scheme. This palette can create a bright pop of color in a room with a neutral or subdued color scheme. It also works well with traditional or country decorating styles.

Red, green, and gold can also be used in combination to create a more colorful, yet still classy home decor palette for the holidays. Consider mixing and matching the following selections to suit your preference.

Here are some of my favorite picks in this colorway.

I love the red and gold version of the first embroidered set I featured. The set of 2 Valery Madelyn red velveteen Christmas stockings with gold embroidery has the same two designs (ornaments and floral lace) as in the gold and off-white version, but the metallic gold thread and gold brocade cuff really stand out against the red velveteen fabric.

These are 21 inches long to accommodate plenty of treats from Santa.

Like all the Valery Madelyn styles, these come with Santa tags that you can personalize and tie to the hanging loops.

If you prefer more of a wine-red shade and a less ornate style that's still opulent, this set of 3 red velvet Christmas stockings with gold tassels and corded trim might be perfect for your fireplace mantle.

The rich red color of the velvet and tailored style are sophisticated without being fussy, while the metallic gold tassels and twisted two-tone cord trim add gilded touches appropriate to the season.

These are 18 inches long, a bit shorter than most of the others I've chosen but still big enough to hold a nice selection of stocking stuffers.

This style has an almost vintage feel that would work beautifully with more traditional Christmas decor.

These come in several colorways and are available either as shown or personalized with embroidered names in contrasting colors. You can also choose sets with different numbers of stockings to accommodate the size of your family.

This set of 3 green velvet Christmas stockings with gold cord trim would be a great pairing with the red velvet set above.

The velvet is a soft, slightly olive, forest green that would complement the wine-red velvet beautifully. They both have a simple elegance that would work beautifully in a traditional setting. They could also add a lovely, festive, holiday air to country-style decor.

These are 20 inches long to accommodate stuffers of many sizes and shapes.

They are also available in bright red or navy velvet with the same gold cord trim.

Please note that the embellishments spilling out of the tops in the product photo shown are not included!

These do not offer a personalization option, but you could either tie a gift tag to the hanging loop or, if you are handy with a needle, embroider your family members' names on the cuffs or sew a nametag inside.

Elegant Stocking Holders

Beautiful stockings deserve equally special holders. Here are a couple of suggestions that would look lovely with any of the above styles.

If you're going with gold as your holiday accent color, I think this set of 2 gold-toned stocking holders with removable reindeer embellishments would be a great choice.

I love the versatility of making the reindeer embellishments removable, so you can try these with and without them to see which you prefer. Using just the simple, unadorned base by itself lets your stockings be the star of the show. Even with the reindeer added, they're small enough not to detract from the main attraction they're holding.

Unlike many of the gold-toned stocking holders I looked at, these are a bright, shiny gold color. They're made of a sturdy zinc alloy with a nice weight so they stay put on the fireplace mantle.

These clip over the fireplace mantle and will accommodate a range of widths (check the product description to make sure it will fit yours).

Whether your color scheme features silver accents or you just want a neutral-toned, elegant accent to more colorful holiday decor, this set of 4 silver snowflake, reindeer, tree, and snowman stocking holders would be an excellent choice.

They range in height from 5.5 inches (the snowflake) to 6.9 inches (the Christmas tree), so they are easily enjoyed visually even from across the room.

They are well made from sturdy stainless steel with graceful lines and nice details. They come ready to use with no assembly required, and each holder is lined on the bottom with velour to protect the surface of your mantle from scratches.

If you don't have a fireplace, or if your fireplace doesn't have a mantle, consider this freestanding 8-hook deluxe Christmas stocking holder stand.

This stand measures 41” long x 11” wide x 35.3” tall to accommodate up to eight large stockings, like the ones featured above.

It comes in a choice of black or shiny gold (shown in the product photo). The black would be a great choice for the silver and white stockings, while either the black or the gold would work beautifully with the gold and ivory, red, or green styles.

You can place this stand either on the floor or on a tabletop. I think it would be pretty set on either a small rug or a table runner with a seasonal theme in colors complementing your stockings.


❄❅❆ From our house to yours, whatever you celebrate, may your holidays be peaceful, healthy, merry, and bright! ❆❅❄

The Most Beautiful Christmas Stockings for Elegant Holiday Decor by Margaret Schindel

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