Saturday, December 17, 2011

Count-down to Christmas!

I confess, darlings, today I piddled around doing this, doing that, and not really "working."  I posted only a few things here, for instance; I did not research at all; I didn't even work on the family tree that is due next week (gasp!)  Instead, I took a lovely walk early this morning, when the sun was still out, with a fresh quarter-inch of snow on the ground, to Walgreens, to pick up a 50% off wreath hanger and a large pack of AA batteries (20 on sale for $5.99).  I needed them because, you see, yesterday, I succumbed to the magic of the season and brought a pre-lit battery-operated 24" wreath for my front door!

Oh Joy!

I'm so happy!  I haven't had a wreath on the front door in years!  Not since 1996 probably.  The last wreath I had was a first-generation plastic model that I purchased at Walgreens eons ago.  It held it's shape perfectly and had glitter and red berries on it.  It was pretty.  But, alas, I gave it away many years ago to a friend who at the time had little money and two young kids and needed a tree, ornaments, decorations - you name it.  I gave her every decoration I had, including "Christmas Around the World" collector ornaments, a nice artificial tree, the wreath, tons of lights, etc. etc.  Happy to say her kids grew up with my contributions, and despite an occasional twinge of loss every now and then, I was happy to do it.  I didn't get another tree in the house until Mr. Don's first visit - whenever the heck that was (1902??? something like that...)

Anyway, I saw this wreath perhaps two weeks ago when I made a foray to purchase some 60% off ornaments (I know, I know, I swore up and down this year I wouldn't do that, but it's Boston Store and they have such lovely ornaments...)  The wreath was then on sale for $19.99, but since I was already loaded down with a dozen large ornaments and had blown my budget (so I thought at the time), I turned my back on it.

Yesterday we received our year-end bonus checks and I was feeling flush with cash, at least temporarily.  So, at lunch I ran to deposit the check and then I ran even faster to Boston Store in the Shoppes at Grand Avenue and headed for the Christmas area.  Sure enough, ornaments on clearance, but not marked down lower than what I'd previously paid for them.  Drat!  Then, I turned and GASP! there was a tower of boxes of those pre-lit wreaths on sale for the unbelievable price of $9.99.  Originally marked $50.  I know, I know!  Well, darlings, how could I resist?  I couldn't.  I plowed through the tower and picked out a likely looking wreath and hustled it to a check-out.  I toted it home last night on the bus in this gigantic red plastic bag (Santa would fit in this bag, I swear) to await installation.

I put it up this afternoon, one of those putsy things I've spent the day doing.  I managed to figure out how to get the battery case apart (it did not come with written directions, but since they would probably be in Chinese anyway...), insert the batteries, and get the case back into it's "rack."  Fortunately, there is an off-on button on the top part of the battery case that is easy to reach but is disguised behind the "foilage."  The lights are LED so they'll last practically forever but they aren't that dreaded greyish dead white but a nice and bright warm light, surprise surprise!

Back to today -- while I was at my second stop of that nice walk -- the Pick 'n Save -- the florists just happened to be putting out these gorgeous big glittery ornaments for a mere $2 each.  Another "I couldn't resist" purchase.  The single ornament I bought is now adorning my new wreath!

Here's a picture I took earlier this evening, sans flash -- can't figure out how to get the flash turned back on and too lazy to dig out the instruction book for the camera, oh well --

Hmmmm, on second thought, perhaps that particular ornament isn't the best selection for a wreath...
well, on the other hand, this is a Goddess-blessed house and the Hieros Gamos - oh, never mind...

It's staying as it is.  In fact, I just re-hung that center phallic symbol ornament so it's more perfectly centered within the wreath.  In future years I may add a few ornaments or thread some ribbon around it (the wreath, not the phallic symbol ornament), but for this season, I swear to you I'm decorated out!

Before I return upstairs to continue my off-and-on cleaning rounds in the bedrooms, here are the latest photos I could not resist taking of the living room. 

I've got a fire going right now and it's so warm and cozy in here, the flameless candles are flickering (LOL!) and earlier today I pulled out my stuffed grizzly bear (it's tiny, not full size, unfortunately), put a bow on him, and he's sitting on the back of the sofa right now.  I didn't take a picture though because he's away from the light and without a flash on the camera you really can't see him.  I'll grab a pic tomorrow when it's light in here or whenever I get the flash turned back on.  He's so cute!  He's so soft, and cuddly and smooshy - this time of year I'll take comfort wherever I can find it, even from a grizzly bear.

But - avast!  Soon the Winter Solstice will be upon us! And then the days will get longer by a few minutes in the morning, and a few minutes in the evening, each day, all the way to the Summer Soltice in June when it doesn't get dark until close to 9:30 p.m.! 

In the meantime, we combat the dark and the cold with our dressed up "Festival of Lights."  We decorate evergreen trees (real and faux), an ancient symbol of eternal life, with glittering ornaments and lights and every good thing we can think of, including cookies, candies and fruits!  We stuff ourselves with rich foods, cuddle and ponder next to fires, make lots of love (it's no coincidence so many babies are born during the summer, you know) under bundles of warm blankets, and drink lots of hot liquered-up nogs and such.  We busy ourselves (especially we femmes) decorating our homely havens and shopping for the holidays to find that just-so-perfect gift for our special somebodies, and we hum age-old carols under our breath as we cook and bake, even those of us who rarely otherwise cook and bake.  Even if it's crappy.  It's the effort that counts, and the critters outside will always eat it, even if I won't! 

Tree with faux-gifts (except for one real one) now arranged underneath the tree.
I'm loving that new tree skirt and my new jerry-rigged traditional star tree-topper.
Those gift bags cover up the "stem" of the tree nicely.  I think next year
I'm going to elevate the tree on some phone books -- an idea I saw this year
(after the fact) on the internet!  It will make it easier to crawl around underneath and
arrange the tree skirt and gifts!

In this photo you can see the "cardinal" framed pics I added on the right side and underneath the tick-tock on the left.
No close-ups of those!  This is the warm cozy glow of my evening/night-time living room.  As the pillow on the
chair by the fireplace says "It's Good to be QUEEN."

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