Archive for December, 2009

Celebrate The Holidays With Antiques

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

Holiday memories are made special because of family traditions. Who doesn’t have many stories to tell of past holidays, as with all families, some good warm fuzzy stories as well as the disaster ones, now humorous with time. From childhood thru adulthood, certain family heirlooms or special objects can trigger a flood of memories. Passing down vintage and antique items as well as the stories attached to them help make “home for the holidays” the best place to be. Even if you are across the country from where your first memories of christmas began, you can still have that special feeling. Old fashioned Christmas ornaments to decorate your tree, a display of vintage toys, a well worn copy of “The Night Before Christmas”, Grandma’s special Christmas tablecloth, Mom’s old silver tray that every year was filled with an assortment of everyone’s favorite cookies, to Dad’s funny old Santa hat, all bring back the warm memories of Christmas past. The few treasures that have been passed on down thru the generations when retrieved from the attic and the holiday preparations begun, bring all of us back to the years of our favorite memories.
Borrowing from the past and building upon new creative ideas we have discovered, we keep the memories alive and create new traditions of our own for the newest generation to look back on with fondness in the next decades to come. Every year I puruse my favorite magazines looking for inspiration to pick a theme for this year’s decorations. I never copy what I see because I want to use things from my own special collections but looking at new fresh ideas gets my creative juices flowing and all of a sudden an idea takes hold and I am off and running. Christmas trees can be decorated with all sorts of items, from a seashore theme using shells and starfishes, to an elegant victorian tree dressed with small lace doilies, velvet ribbon garland and beautiful ornaments, to a teaparty theme, orphan pretty china cups tied on with ribbons and ornate silver spoons tied on with velvet ribbons, a country theme with dried flower and herb bunches with old fashioned metal cookie cutters, the themes are endless, all ideas from one simple thought or item. This is the time of year to take out your collections and decorate with them. Work with a theme and stick to it so that the decorations flow from one room to the next, and not done with a overabundance of different colors and different unrelated objects which leads to clutter. If you decide on a Country Christmas, use things from nature, branches, pine cones, plaid ribbons, gingerbread men, baskets, and wooden toys. An old wooden sled, decorated with a simple red velvet bow makes a stunning decoration. Fill all sorts of old looking containers with pine branches, a pewter pitcher, a clay jug, a big basket, a small wooden barrel, add one of these pine branch arrangements to each room for the wonderful color of green and the Christmas pine scent. Add twigs and pinecones, a Christmas ribbon bow to the larger arrangements. Fill an unused fireplace with a large arrangement. A small porcelain pitcher filled with greens on the bathroom vanity. A bouquet of red roses with greens in a large crystal vase can be a focal arrangement in any room for color and fragrance.
Old toys arranged around the tree can bring back memories of Christmases past. A collection of dolls, a red Flyer wagon, old board games in colorful graphic boxes, vintage ice skates, anything that you enjoyed as a child, your favorite toy that Santa brought you, all these vintage items can be used in your decorating themes. I once did a small tree in the diningroom with all silver babyspoons and baby forks tied onto a Christmas tree with thin red satin ribbon bows. The little baby silverware was silverplate, a little worn and bought for a song in an auction box lot but after polishing and adding ribbons it sparkled under the christmas white lights with a special elegance. Of course my very own babyspoon had the place of honor on the tree.
So as your unpack the boxes of well used and loved ornaments, take the time to share the stories connected with the special ones and leave room for a few new additions with new traditions and stories for the next generation to handle fondly and remember.