Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Is it Time to Play My Christmas Music Yet?

My first teenage job may or may not have been in a year-round Christmas store that my neighbor/family friend may or may not own. And my sister and brother may or may not have worked there too, and my mom may or may not work there full time as the assistant store manager…

 No, that's not my house. It's the fam at Richmond's Tacky Lights Tour.

No, we're not that fat. We're just wearing mondo coats at Gaylord's ICE.

Basically, we’re a family of professional Christmasers (sans my pops, but he’s a master of tasteful outdoor décor and puts up a mean Christmas tree). Naturally, this means I have very valuable knowledge.

What is a German Christmas Smoker? How do you build a Nutcracker collection? What are Christopher Radko’s newest ornaments? Who is this new guy named David Strand? What is the difference between the D56 Snow Village and Christmas in the City? What exactly is the “Christmas pickle”? How does a Christmas store stay in business year round?

This might knock your socks off, but...I know the answers to ALL these questions. This doesn't even begin to touch on my extensive Christmas knowledge.

I started working at the Christmas Attic in historic Old Town, Alexandria, VA as Christmas help when I was 14 (I even had to get a work permit). To give it a little plug: housed in a historic warehouse on the corner of Prince and Union Streets, the Christmas Attic has high-end collectibles like hand-blown Polish glass ornaments, authentic Nutcrackers, Pyramids, and Smokers imported from Germany, and it also has tons of cute ornaments, stockings, advent calendars, and other Christmas décor. You can literally hear small children whisper “wowww” as they walk through the store – probably my favorite part about working there.

No doubt some of you are probably saying “UGH. Whyyyyy is everyone talking about Christmas??? It’s not even Thanksgiving!!”

OK. First, stop being such a Scrooge.

Second, it’s totally reasonable to be thinking about Christmas right now.

This year, Christmas is exactly one month after Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving is nearly one week away. Call me crazy, but if I’m going to put any kind of work into decorating, I want to have my decorations up with plenty of time to enjoy them. Not to mention, I'll have shopping/Christmas sightseeing/Holiday Party-going that will be on my to-do list in addition to decorating. I’m going to be really busy over the next few weekends, so I’m starting my planning/pre-decorating now. Don’t worry, I’m not going to put up the tree right tonight, but I have started accumulating decorations.

I’m super excited this year because it’s the first time I’m living in a place that I will actually be residing in during the Holiday Season. Naturally, this is an excellent excuse to accumulate more actual decorations since I won’t be home to enjoy my mom’s extensive décor and the beautiful lights my dad puts up every year.

To prep, I’ve pulled some inspiration from a few of my favorite sources:

Pottery Barn entry way – Love the different sized ornaments on the garland and wreaths.

Pottery Barn bedroom – Like the reds and creams, the vintage feel of the decorations, and the little “noel” sign made up of different letters.

Christmas at the Thompson’s! by Landon Jacob Productions – This collection of items builds on the room's already awesome vintage look. I love the way the collection of paper items, use of the different sized ornaments, and lights nestled among the items on the shelf make the decorations look organic, personal, and collected over time (maybe they are?).

I’m not actually going to reveal any of my plans quite yet (alright fine, I haven’t actually started any of my projects), but I encourage you to start looking for inspiration and start collecting things to decorate with. Buy things like garland, wreaths, and lights early because they wil be a lot harder to find once everyone panics and realizes they need to get their decorations up asap.

Great shopping sources that I've discovered thus far:
  • Walmart has pretty nice lighted 9 ft garland for $10/piece. Target has some for the same price that looks nice as well, but the green looks a little lighter than Walmart’s and I was going for a darker color.
  • Home Depot has 25 ft lighted garland for $19.99.
  • Home Depot is also selling collections of 75 – 101 Martha Stewart shatterproof Christmas ornaments for under $30, and sets of 18 shatterproof Christmas ornaments in various colors for $5.99.
  • Home Goods has a very reasonably priced collection of Christmas knick-knacks to suit all decorating styles.
  • Michael's will be having Christmas stuff on sale from now through Christmas, so it’s worth checking the Sunday ads if you want to pick up a few things here and there.
To get you more in the mood, I’ll leave you with two of my favorite non-traditional Christmas songs: one rather upbeat, and the other sad but beautiful (and, I might add, from one of my favorite albums of all time).

Stay tuned (hehe!) for more Christmas music recommendations and decor ideas/inspiration!

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