Oh Christmas tree Oh Christmas tree…

Last Thursday I got started on the Christmas decorating and I’ve got to tell you my heart wasn’t in it. Just the thought of cluttering up my living room sent chills up my spine. Mind you those chills didn’t last unfortunately because it was 7:30am and already 26˚C  (79˚F) outside. I was however determined to get this done so I could share my experience with you today in advance of those who will be performing the same task soon.

I have one large box of tree and table decorations, a large nativity scene and a 2m (6½ ft) tree. Not much in the big scheme of things but more than enough in my book. As I mentioned on Monday, earlier on in the year I had already ruthlessly culled. You can go back and see the photo of that decluttering effort on Monday’s post if you missed it.

The funny thing was then when I went to decorate the tree I had culled so many decorations that the tree looks a little sparsely covered this time. I am considering trying to swap for a smaller tree on Freecycle. Kind of weaning myself off if you like. The idea of having no tree at all just doesn’t sit well with me yet.

I managed to declutter even further while I performed the task of decorating. Just a few touches here and there was all I felt we needed. Below is a photo slide show of the entire process.


Here are some of my thoughts as I went through this process.

  • The tree is too big for this house but I really don’t want to go treeless at this point and there is no way I am buying a new smaller tree. I’ll try doing a swap on freecycle.
  • I love the look of the beautiful full-on Christmas decorating that you see in glossy magazines but it just isn’t sustainable or me.
  • Christmas really lost its sparkle for me when I grew up and I could afford to buy things for myself. The sparkle returned to a certain degree when the children were little and especially when we experience our first winter Christmas but now the sparkle has gone again.
  • Will there be grandchildren one day to bring back the Christmas sparkle and will I be sorry if I decluttered the tree altogether before then.
  • When did Chirstmas become so much about the decorating and gifts and so little about the birth of Jesus.
  • With that last thought in mind I feel inclined to keep my nativity scene out of respect even though I don’t have a good position for it.
  • I like the festive feel of having some decorations around but I hate the space they take up in the garage for the other 330 or so days of the year.
  • My husband made a comment that the corner was cluttered. Bah Humbug! He was right though.
  • I like the idea of natural decorations but I am not going out of my way or to any expense to acquire them.
  • Old habits die hard and although I want to keep it simple I still feel slightly like I am missing out on something.

Regardless of all my thoughts above my overriding desire is to enjoy a simplified Christmas without all the consumerism, fuss and bother. So long as I have my Christmas pudding, my hot lunch (even if it is 37˚c outside), a bowl or two of nuts and candy around and at least one person to share it with I will be happy.

If you aren’t sure what level you want to stop at when it comes to decorating take some time to think about what are your most favourite aspects of celebrating the holidays. Things that you wouldn’t what to do without and then consider what extras you really want on top of that. Don’t forget to consult the rest of you family.

Christmas comes but once a year and means something different to everyone and my advice is to celebrate it in whatever style suits you. If you feel inclined, declutter only what you feel comfortable with. And should you feel like going all out please try your best to be as sustainable as possible in the process.

Today’s Declutter Item

These are the items that were decluttered from my Christmas stash during my early pre-Christmas preparations last week. I will get them to the thrift store tomorrow so someone who is a keener decorator than I can find them and use them this year.

More Christmas items set aside for donating last week

Something I Am Grateful For Today

An unexpected call from a friend asking if I wanted to join her and another friend for lunch and coffee. I had already had lunch but I was keen to enjoy their company for an hour or two. Coffee ended up being a chocolate shot over caramelised fig gelato. What’s not to be grateful for in the combination.

“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow


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About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.

Comments

  1. I heartily agree with your last paragraph, especially “celebrate it in whatever style suits you.”

    Christmas is the only holiday I’m willing to store and schlep decorations around for, although I’m not ready to decorate yet. Maybe thanksgiving weekend, but usually I don’t get around to it until early to mid December.

    I love having a tree and lights, and so do my cats, but a few years ago I finally gave up decorating any room except my living room. Going beyond that and decorating the entire house feels cumbersome to me. I dabbled with more decorations, but finally admitted that changing out dishes, towels, sheets, and decorating other rooms was more of a pain than a joy.

    I use the same decorations year after year, some of them are from my childhood, and have a rule that the only way I can add to my decorations is by buying them after Christmas at a steep discount. I haven’t even done that for years; I feel like I have the perfect amount right now.

    • Hi minhus,
      I am glad you are doing it your way. I would hate to think my blog would encourage anyone to celebrate a Christmas they didn’t enjoy.

  2. I purged all of my seasonal decor with the help of 3 friends several months ago. When it came time to get out my Halloween decor I had a moment of panic over how little there was — but when I finished setting things out, I was much happier with the results and cleaning up was a breeze.

    I have decided I don’t need my house to compete with Macy’s for decorating. It’s my house and I want a little bit to get me into the season, but I don’t want it to be work. I want it to be fun.

    I won’t decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving, and I’ll have it all down by the 2nd or 3rd of January.

    Thanks for the ideas and inspiration.

    • Hi Melanie and welcome to 365 Less Things and thank you for dropping in to share your decorating experience with us. I felt a little like you and your Halloween decorating when I started to decorate my tree, there really isn’t enough left to cover it nicely although i am quite happy with the look of it. It gives me even more reason to downsize it to one better suited to the house. One thing is for sure I only ever intend to reduce the size of housing from here on so I will never have need of a bigger tree.

      I wouldn’t normally decorate until Thanksgiving either in fact my son was appalled (being as he was raised in America) and likes to stick to their traditions. The decorations only went up early for the sake of blogging about it.

      I hope your Christmas is all you wish it to be.

  3. Gosh, Christmas in the “summer” is so unrealistic for us of the NH. I can remember last year when it snowed (!) during christmas.

    Usually, at my place the tree is set up after my birthday (december 10th) because it is horrible to have and a tree and my very large family in one room.

    • Hi Nurchamiel,
      after celebrating seven Winter Christmases Summer ones don’t feel right to me either.

      Smart move with the tree, it would hinder movement when the house is full of guests.

  4. I’ve culled drastically, but then I had a true magazine-style abundance at one point. I just don’t have the time and energy for over -the-top decorating anymore. On the bright side, I’ve discovered that just a couple decorations in an otherwise uncluttered house still provide a big impact, so it’s not like going Scrooge at all. I have saved one tallish tree (it packs very compactly) in case there are grandkids in the near future (and I get the feeling that they won’t come along unless I get rid of the tree, so maybe I ought to rethink this). My son’s birthday is Dec. 10, and that’s when I’ve traditionally done the holiday decorating.

    • Hi Meg, it is good to hear from you. I hope you are keeping well.

      You are right about just a few decorations providing a big impact when the house is uncluttered. Oddly enough I seem to have erected the tree in the most cluttered corner of the house. Take another look at the photo of the corner where my tree is ~ That framed jersey and the item on top really needs to go and not just around Christmas. I do not like it “mounted” on the floor. I am working on it (him).

  5. In our last home we had a 3 ft tree that we put on a table and that we could store with all of the ornaments on it. Mom decided when we moved here that she wanted a big tree again. I got one last year at 88% off. We had given away or sold all of the ornaments I had collected over the years. Since we aren’t fond of a lot of similar ornaments and don’t have the money to buy enough individual ornametns for a big tree I decided to make some to begin with. We will see how they look when it is done. We usually decorate Thanksgiving weekend. We have decluttered a lot of the Christmas things but I still think we have more than we need. I was happy with the small tree and the creche we had. Mom usually likes to over decorate in my book with things everywhere. I hope we don’t do that this year and that we give more away.

    • Good luck Deb, it is difficult sometimes trying to come to a compromise when one wants to go over the tip while the other wants it simple. Oh well, fingers crossed you won’t be the one doing all the compromising. I think my two fellows here would be happy if I just ditched the whole lot.

  6. Yes, mine will be very simple this year i am decorating my fire in the back living room and putting up a tree in the Front living room. Anything that is not used this year is gone.

    I love what you say about christmas and when did it stop being about Jesus, i have purposley only bought relgious cards and the kids have been told that we are going to midnight mass on christmas eve, wether they want too or not (only joking). My three favourite things about Christmas are 1) Christmas Eve, when the shops are shut and the madness has ceased 2) A cheesy christmas film watched with my 4 favourite people in the whole wide world 3) The roast dinner, christmas pud, and tons of chocolate. Simples!!
    Sharron x

    • Hi Sharron,
      isn’t it lovely to have a fireplace to decorate. That is the thing I loved most about decorating the house in America we had a lovely open staircase too that looked wonderful wrapped in garland.

      I used to make my kids go to Christmas mass, whether they wanted to or not, when they were younger. I told them they wouldn’t get any presents otherwise. They always seemed to enjoy it though. Now they are too old to boss around.

      It sounds like you love all the same things about Christmas that I do.

  7. Hello! I have been reading for a bit but this is my first comment. I first want to say that I love your blog and find it very friendly here. I have been decluttering and feel so much better. I find that getting rid of decorations made a big impact in my home and I am enjoying my space more.
    Regarding your tree, I like trees best when they are decorated with lights only. I feel it’s such a clean and elegant look. Just a thought. Thanks again for all the great advice!

    • Hi Veronica, welcome to 365 Less Things and thank you for dropping in to introduce yourself. I am glad that you find it friendly here, I certainly like to think it is and I know my other comments will agree with you. We like to think of it as a community and you are most welcome in it.

      The only time I have ever had lights on my tree since being married was when we living in America. We have never had them in Australia just because it is hot enough already so why generate more heat. My husband has always thought they are a fire hazard in this heat. I do love them though but now that I am a lot greener than I used to be I would rather not waste the electricity. I love the big snowflakes on my tree, their white is so stark against the dark green and they lend a cooling element to the room.

      Thanks again Veronica for dropping in and please visit again soon.

  8. Thank you. You just solved my decorating problem for this year. We are travelling around Christmas so I don’t plan to have a tree or even a lot of decorations. But I want something! When I saw your photo, I had my Aha! moment. I will buy a couple poinsettias for the mantel. I love them and they are red and cheery. I will be happy.

    As for the nativity – I always want one but I have two cats who delight in knocking down the pieces. I now have a triptych with a nativity scene that can be backlit with a candle if I choose. One piece, easy-peasy.

    • Hi Delores,
      I am glad to be of help especially since it was effortless for me. I am glad the poinsettias will bring that little element of cheer to your home until you ride off into the sunset. Enjoy your travels.

      Your nativity triptych sounds perfect for your needs and I assume it is displayed somewhere that the cats fear to tread. Judging from the many cat owner commenting on Christmas cats and Christmas seem to be a interesting combination of cheer and mischief. That actually sounds like fun, until something gets broken of course.

  9. I have to say that stopping decorating for Christmas and getting rid of half a closet full of decorations (many, many years ago), was one of the most liberating declutter things I ever did. I never missed it and never looked back.

  10. I’ve never owned any Christmas decorations, and I recently got rid of all my Halloween decor (even though Halloween is my favorite!). I have a permanent Dia de los Muertos altar in one corner, which is decorated with clear x-mas style lights, candles and flowers, so I feel this is enough festivity for the whole year. No kids and the husband doesn’t celebrate christmas so I never felt the need to decorate. I prefer to enjoy others’ decorations and head downtown to check out the light displays.

    • Hi Faith,
      and may I extend a warm welcome to 365 Less Things. I like the idea of your Dia de los Muertos alter in the corner all year round. That sounds like a better way to honour lost loved ones that hoarding a whole pile of junk that they left behind. I prefer the idea of enjoying others’ decorations too rather than clutter my home up to much. Although the amount of wasted electricity for all the lighting the some folks put up does worry me. It is pretty though.

  11. Grace from Brazil :

    We are in a much smaller house this year. I put up a few Thanksgiving decorations and saw the difficulty I would have come Christmas. But I felt the same as you. I don’t want the clutter! So although I have decluttered massively in years past with Christmas stuff, I will have another opportunity when I get out the boxes. Like Meg says, a little bit of decorating goes a long way in a decluttered house. I am enjoying the idea of forced decluttering this year. : )

    We also have a very hot tropical Christmas. Since ham and turkey are very expensive where we live we enjoy cooking out on the grill.

  12. Colleen,
    I loved your slideshow! Your room looks so restful (and uncluttered), and I don’t think the tree looks sparce, at all – just right, in fact. And yes, the creche needs to be there! Enjoy your Christmas (only 40 days to go!). Where is your advent wreath and candles?

    • Hi Ann, the photo doesn’t show the fact that the tree only has decorations on the front. The back is completely empty but you can’t really see it so who cares. It made for easy decorating. I do love the creche, the standing figures are nine inches tall so it is a lovely big one. It does take up a lot of room in the garage but that is OK because the shelves are being decluttered of other stuff on a regular basis so there is room. I have no advent wreath and candles. The only candle is in the table centre piece and I have never really had any advent decorations. I used to buy those cheep advent calendars with chocolates in for the kids but they are well and truly past that.

      • Ditto with the advent calendars (both with and without chocolates) – not till the grandparent stage, ever hoping that will come.
        I queried the advent wreath with candles, because you have put your tree up right at the start of Advent (today) and most people are later (I certainly am; I usually have had so much clutter to shift first (somewhat better this year, but not “there” yet).

  13. We have a 3 foot artificial tree with laser tips, so no bother with lights, and it always looks pretty. I have always decluttered the decorations but have a few old ones and some home made ones (I usually sew a decoration for each of the grandsons with their name and year on it, so they will have something to remember me by in the future(!) and I make one for me too.)

    So that’s it: one tree and Christmas cards I receive, not so many now as I send (and receive) Christmas email newsletters to many of our contacts. I love the fact that it takes me about an hour to decorate: usually in mid-December.

    We lived in the States (CT) for six months in 2004 and I was flabbergasted by the amount of decorating that went on – for every conceivable reason: flags, decals, outside lighting, blow up figures, let alone the inside decor – somebody is making a lot of money!

    • Hi Janetta,
      those fibre optic trees are simple but sweet and no need for bulb changes every year. I like the idea of the homemade monogrammed decorations. I always wanted to do baubles like that after watching a Days of Our Lives episode way back in the eighties. The grandma had beautiful personalised baubles for each family member and when a new member came along a new decoration was made. They were beautiful.

      I haven’t become digital with the Christmas message I enjoy making my cards each year and some of the older folks aren’t computer savvy.

      I have to admit I loved the way America went all out for the holidays. That was before I went more environmentally friendly. I was however amused by the people in our street who garages were full of decorations in boxes and the cars were parked on the street.

      • OMgoodness, crack me up!!! I remember that from ‘Days Of Our Lives’!!! LOL!!! Grandma was the best!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Annabelle, you and I are just too weird. Maybe it is just because we are a similar age but we seem to remember a lot of the same things. In fact there are a lot of similarities between our two lives. Strange isn’t it.

  14. Forgot to say, we live in New Zealand now.

  15. Christmas!??!! Say it ain’t so 🙂
    I was actually thinking of going on a trip this year but decided against it. As much as I get annoyed by all the consumerism, I do like spending time with family. And I’m finally at a point where I don’t feel guilty not getting sucked into getting gifts for everybody.

    • Good for you Josh, I am the same. I buy one thing for the kids (20 & 22) and give them some cash. My hubby and I might buy one gift which might be something we need or a massage certificate or the like and that is it. No more buying for extended family and they don’t buy for us. They seemed quite happy to comply when I suggested this two years ago and we have never looked back. My friends take me as I am also, although I have one who just has to buy me something.

      I am sure I have corresponded with you before Josh but you are showing up as a new commenter and if that is the case then may I say welcome to 365 Less things and thanks for dropping in to leave a comment. Cindy is discussing gift giving tomorrow so stay tuned.

  16. I feel like the years are going by faster and faster. I literally feel like I just put all last years holidays decorations away and here we are discussing our plans for this year. For me I did lose a lot of the excitement once my son grew up. Im not ready to totally give up the tree however. We usually attend the holiday at the familys houses because I live in a five room apartment and cant really host more than four at a time here….hardly anyone even sees our tree….i suppose its habit….I live in NYC and when they air the lighting of the rockefeller Center tree it does begin to get me in the spirit a little bit.
    I get so frustrated about the materialistic aspects of the holiday. Commercials for layaway started weeks ago. I said to my husband advertisers want us all to be in debt…get your new dining room table now and dont pay until 2016..ridiculous…if your table and chairs were good last week why do you need a new one now? Or the newlyweds with the husband giving a beautiful diamond necklace so romatically under the christmas tree….there are many husbands out there who feel bad if they cant provide that image for their wife…or little children who arent going to have all the gifts toys r us big books are showing….
    I guess its up to all of us to try and set a good example. Its all about balance. It can be nice without going totally crazy. But your correct…we all have to celebrate the holidays in the manner we see fit…to me…no need to run out and get new furniture over it. Im going to the families house to be together and have fun and laughter…I could care less that you got a new dining room to be honest with you. enjoy the season…..!!!! www>50plusstickingtoger.com

    • I am with you on all points here. Advertising sure does rely on the big guilt trip that’s for sure. Rather than have a diamond necklace draped around my neck under the mistletoe I would much rather we save our founds to explore the world. We wouldn’t be able to afford our trip to America next year if my huddy wasted all our money on shiny trinkets and I know what I prefer, so to heck with their advertising they aren’t fooling me. USA here I come.

      Ah yes fun and laughter that is a key ingredient to a great Christmas. I love laughter more than anything. That’s a little something my mother handed down to me.

  17. Your talk about a hot Christmas lunch made me laugh. I am 33 and have never had a hot Christmas lunch. We have always had seafood, cold meat and salad and honestly unless someone else is cooking it I probably won’t have one.

    • Hi Debra F, that is I think normal Australian tradition for Christmas these days, but I have never professed to be normal so I will stick with what I like. 😉 Although I really must consult my son about this because he is vegetarian and really don’t like a roast dinner (veggies only of couse) or Christmas pudding. We never seem to be home for Christmas these days but perhaps this year I had better see what he would catered for him.

    • Grace from Brazil :

      That sounds wonderful, a cold delicious lunch! I wish my family would go for it. But I guess Momma rules the roost, right. Hmmmm thinking seriously about it now.

  18. If anyone decorates w/ live plants, please be sure to remember your furry family members. Holly, mistletoe, and some forms of lillies can make your pets sick. Here’s a nice page from the ASPCA about holiday safety for pets: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/pet-care-tips/holiday-safety-tips.aspx

    Also, love the paring down for the holidays. Your tree is lovely. I’ve done a good bit of paring down holiday decorations the last few years. We’re in the process of decorating for Christmas now & I’ve already sent bags of more holiday decorating stuff to the thrift shop.

    Love reading your blog. It’s always full of pleasant & realistic advice. 🙂

    • Hi Stacia,
      take 2. I wrote a response to this but then it disappeared. Firstly may I extend to you a warm welcome to 365 Less Things and thank you for your comment and the link to the ASPCA. I am sure many of my readers will find that useful. I have added it to this weeks fave five in case anyone missed it.

      I am glad you like my pared down Christmas and am also glad you are gradually doing the same. It makes the holidays so much more relaxing doesn’t it.

      And thank you again for your lovely compliment about my blog. I am glad you find it helpful and pleasant.

  19. Hi, Colleen…For me, once the Christmas “sparkle”, as you called it, was gone–it was gone. It didn’t come back when my grandchildren arrived.

    I think, once a person embraces simplicity/decluttering, even a bit of minimalism, it’s not possible to go back. The holiday has become SO much about the retail side of things, the excess, the over-consumption. It overshadows anything spiritual that the day might have contained before.

    The day we gave ourselves “permission” to stop putting up a big tree if we didn’t feel like doing it was a huge relief, and a positive thing. It’s just as festive in our house with a simple wreath and a poinsettia, as it is with a big tree that’s a pain in the neck to take down after Christmas.

    As far as the over-the-top decorating that is seen in magazines and on decorating blogs–I love it. I love looking at it, but I’d sure hate to have all that stuff cluttering up my house. I wonder if it’s some kind of nostalgic feeling we get from looking at the decorations, some kind of longing for the way things “used to be”?

    There was a point in time when I started hating what Christmas had become, and I could easily have gone to bed the day after Thanksgiving and not gotten up until December 26th, simply due to all the stress and obligation I felt to do certain things.

    The more I simplify our Christmas, the more the enjoyment comes back, so that I no longer feel like going to bed for the month of December. 😉

    This has been a great discussion so far. I enjoy hearing what everyone else has to say.

    • I am inclined to agree with you Becky, what happened to the real Christmas spirit. I am finding simple Christmas to be much less stressful and I think I will stick with that. Wishing to sleep December away is not the way it should be and I am glad you found another way. As for the over-the-top decorating, it really is beautiful but until I can wave my magic wand and just have it appear and disappear in the blink of an eye it isn’t ever going to happen. I think that it isn’t nostalgia but just a love of the beauty of it if only it were that simple. Kind of like loving a gorgeous hairstyle but knowing it won’t suit either you of your hair type. Strange analogy I know but I have a hairdresser appointment in an hour so that is where my mind went.

      I am glad you are enjoying the discussion.

  20. I have only a few Christmas decorations. I have a fake tree and my parents have given me at least 1 ornament every year for all 25 years of my life. All I set up is the tree with ornaments on the sides that you can see, our stocking, a single piece nativity (cat proof). I love outdoor decorations then I do inside.

    Halloween was only outdoor decorations other then maybe a center piece on the table.

    • Hi Melissa,
      I love that you have a decoration from your parents for every year of your life. How beautiful and special they must be to you. My tree is only decorated on the side that you see too, I don’t have enough left to do the whole tree but who sees the back anyway. I have no Halloween décor it isn’t that big in Australia. I like the sound of your decorating style.

  21. Wow what a lot of comments! I used to decorate every room, even the loo, with Christmas stuff and got so over it – all the decorations would come out around Christmas Pageant time (early November) but then I couldn’t get them down fast enough once Christmas was over. A couple of years ago my son asked if we still had the large Christmas tree we used when he was a kid, so I gladly gave it to him, now we just have a variety of small ones. However this year I want to try something different. Angela Barton featured a neighbour’s tree on her blog I think for the last 2 Christmases, and it’s made out of a tree branch, looks gorgeous decorated so I’ve told my husband that’s what I’d like to do this year, and then I just have a few decorations that I’ve collected on my travels (and one from my Mum) that I’ll use on it. Very nice, very simple. I loathe tinsel, unfortunately the girls in our office LOVE it to extremes and it looks like the office has been attacked by tinsel. On the other hand, I do love fairy lights and they stay up around the windows all year round! I agree as you said it’s important just to celebrate as we want, I guess for most of us declutterers a simple style is the best!

    • Your comment is so timely Judy. I have featured just such a tree in one of my links for Friday. I am loving the idea of the dead tree brand Christmas tree. Wendy B had mentioned this last week and the more I investigate it the better I like it. Now I just have to the find the branch. Ah! The simple things in life are often the best.

      • I did “the christmas twig” instead of a tree for 2-3 years about 20 years ago.I really liked the ease and simplicity. That was when I was getting real christmas trees and not using my prelit artificial one. I really liked it and the decorations were really showcased. The cats loved it since they could climb the branch very easily.

        • Hi Jessiejack,
          I noticed too the the twig tree really showcases the decorations. You said you did this for 2-3 years about 20 years ago, why did you stop?

          • I missed the shape and smell of an actual tree. Now I have a nice artificial tree and still miss the smell!

            • Hi Jessiejack,
              smells are one of the best memories triggers after all. I have never had a natural tree so I wouldn’t know what I am missing.

  22. Thank you for sharing photos of your lovely home!

    I always like the part of the holidays when it is over!!! Why? I can get the decorations OUT of the house, I can put the living room back into position how we like it, etc, and we can move on with a new year. It always feels like a breath of fresh air. Kinda the wrong thing to discuss with todays post (which I like very much), but I keep this feeling/sensation at the fore-front in my head/heart in order to keep the decor as natural and simple as possible on the front end of the holiday… I’ll find some downed small size branches in the forest, pine cones, etc (as previous commentors recommended). Then simply return them to their home afterwards.

  23. Your Christmas tree looks cute. Good for passing the extra decorations away.
    We decorate the tree on Christmas Eve and away it goes 3-4 days later.
    Btw, some have already set outdoor xmas lights, and some keep them till March!!
    No way around our place !

    • Hi Metscan,
      I think my husband would be happy if out tree was only out for three days, he is over it already. Doesn’t like the clutter. I’ve created a monster. 😆

      Outdoor lights do look lovely but oh the electricity they waste. Imagine living across the street from one of those houses that go all out. The glare would drive you crazy after a while. I hope they turn them off at a reasonable hour at night.

  24. Here in the US we are already hearing Christmas music in the stores and seeing all sorts of decorations. The other day I saw a light display being set up on a house and we are getting Christmas catalogs, Christmas sale flyers and all that kind of stuff. Colleen you are right in asking where is the birth of Jesus (the reason for the season) in all of this. It’s become so comercialized it’s sick. And so many seem to be trying to outdo the other. Sad.

    • Hi Deb J,
      do you notice there is always a Santa at the mall but rarely a nativity scene? I love my no junk maid sign on my mailbox, no catalogues for me, YAY!

      • We don’t get junk mail but I see many catalogs others receive. I have asked them if they really plan to buy anything from them? MOst say no but that they like to see them. Ugh! Not me.

  25. Thank you. I really enjoy your posts. I’m also glad you found/made a place for Jesus and took a close-up:-)

    • Hi Jan,
      welcome to 365 Less Things, I am glad you are enjoying out posts. It really is a lovely nativity scene. My mother bought it for me when we were living in Seattle. I had the perfect place for it then but now not so much but I found a spot that will do for now. I think it is important to keep at least one symbol of what Christmas is really all about.

  26. oh wow. I was just reading all of those comments when I realized that you all set up the tree before christmas. In my family (and it is probably just mine) we go out on the 24th of december and get a tree (we used to get it out of the forest ourselves, but sadly the owner of this forest died last year so we had to buy one). That means that by 2pm my brother is trying to get the tree into the piece it stands (mind you this piece is old and heavy and it can play songs and turn the tree), I am getting the decorations from the attic and my mum is making everyone shout. At 4 pm I am decorating the tree (last year survived but the years before I pushed the tree more than once and we are almost out of our red and silver balls), while my brother is starting the dinner…

    we leave the tree up (it stands on a small table, its not a very big one) until the 6th of january. thats the date where the 3 kings come around and knock on doors and give you the new years greeting (do you have that as well in AUS or US?).

    I dont want any christmas decoration in my flat except for the advent calendar (I get one from my mum each year and I just love that) and the advent wreath, because I love candles and it just makes you feel good in the morning staring at this green/golden/red thing to remind you that its winter out there (how the hell do you get into a christmas mood if you have 26 degrees outside??).

    I am in a christmas mood now. I will see if I can find someone who is willing to give me a wreath this year…

    • Hi Lena,
      you aren’t the only one who puts your tree up on the 24th Dec but you would be in the minority of my readers I think. America has a tradition of putting it up after thanksgiving. I think Australia is more in the habit of doing it at the beginning of Dec. And no we do not have the 3 kings come around with a new years greeting. It sounds like you have a tradition going at your home and I can hear the fondness in your words as you wrote about it.

      I have to admit that even though Summer Christmas is what I grew up with and have experienced most of my life I did much prefer the Winter Christmases I experienced in America.

      Good luck getting the wreath you want.

      • Hi,
        When I was in Austria for Christmas (many years ago) they had the Drei Koenigen (3 kings) come round (with gifts?) early in January (6th, I think) – our equivalent is Father Christmas on 24th December evening.

        • Hi Ann,
          that is the beauty of visiting other countries, experiencing different cultures. Even though ones not that dissimilar to your own are different enough to be interesting.

        • hehe, no. what you have with father christmas on the 24th is our christkind. I always pictured it as a little angel or so. Its supposed to bring the gifts.
          what is closer to santa claus, is our “nikolaus”. its at the 5th/6th of december, depending where you are the date is different. he is a saint, bringing nuts and fruits and the chocolate figure. He carries a huge brown sack with gifts in it, and his company is a really mean man, called “krampus” (or so, I think this is dialect), who has a metal chain and some branches to beat up the kids, which were not nice during the last year… of course he never really did, but fear is a good education for little excited children… (yeah, thats what catholocism is all about)

          The “heilige drei Könige” (holy 3 kings) are actually really out of the christmas story. it was them following the star to bethlehem to bring gifts. So on the 6th of january, there are usually kids running around dressed as those kings (cute, really) and paint the new years date on the door with chalk, and sing for you about the arrival of jesus christ. you are supposed to give them money for the local church of course…

          I am not catholic, but growing up in bavaria, one of the most conservative and catholic places on this planet, you learn such things… 😉

          oh and btw: I got the wreath I wanted. Now I just have to find pretty candles for it.

          • Wow, Lena, Christmas is something different for all Christians isn’t it. I laughed at your Catholicism jibe, I went to a Catholic school and they sure liked to preach the fear of God into you back in those days (1970s). They didn’t mind giving us the odd whack with a leather strap either. Somehow I can see the odd child (imp) dressed up as the kings collecting money and keeping it for themselves.

            Bavaria is such a pretty area. I have been to München & Dachau and of course Schloss Neuschwanstein and Schloss Hohenschwangau. I love Germany, the food is so good. Of all the countries in the world I have been I enjoyed the food in Germany the most. Even at railway stations there are fresh fruit stalls, little grocery store and lots of eateries.

          • it sure is something different…
            I was in a public school in bavaria, I consider that a catholic school as well 😉 but I never been slapped or beaten, thank god (hihi).

            I am glad you liked bavaria. I do love it too, but dont get me started on growing up there 😉 I knew that german food is something special to people, but I never really thought about our fruit stalls, they are indeed everywhere and its easy to get used to it 😉 I appreciate them more from now on, I promise.

  27. I started de-cluttering my Christmas boxes a few years ago. We decided not to buy a tree, and each year we’re at parties and around so many decorated ones, we didn’t miss having one at home. On Christmas Eve morning we hike through a nearby pine forest at a State Park we climb the mountain and enjoy the view down below of the beautiful healthy living trees. I kept only my very favorite ornaments. We used to have a fake tree, but it was looking scraggly after a few years/
    We donate monies we’d normally spend on tree/decorations to an animal shelter.
    I’m glad for people who do decorate and have trees, because I like to see them.

    • Hi Nora,
      nice effort resisting buy a tree. And why not enjoy everyone else’s decorations, they are a lot less bother the way they miraculously appear and disappear without any effort form you. That’s my type of decorating too.