Three little elves stopped by to give us a hand the other day. It was time to start getting ready for Christmas. We store all of our red and green supply totes stacked up out in the garage. So these little elves started carrying things out of the garage, and around to the front of the house. Some of them are outdoor decorations and some of them are indoor. It was up to me to check each tote and see where it had to go. How wonderful to have these little elves haul everything out for us? The biggest helper elf Chelsea helped commandeer the loads.
Little Clayton elf decided it was better to haul the really heavy things on the red wagon. Since all of our snow melted last week, he was still able to roll the wagon around and down the sidewalk. I suppose if there had been snow on the ground, he would have grabbed a sled. "Work smarter not harder" he says!
Littlest elf Claire was very excited about hauling the snowman. Because they are lightweight, she could handle those on her own. Then oldest elf Chelsea trudged back and forth hauling the heavier items and was really appreciated as being the organizer of the activity.
Little Claire found Rudolph. Even though he was kind of a large for her, she managed to bring him all the way from the garage and up the stairs to the front porch. This is a newer holiday acquisition, so he needed a special new spot for the outside decoration. She got to decide where he needs to go.
Now came the biggest project! The tree!
Last year we had seen a Pinterest idea to wrap your entire decorated Christmas tree (lights ornaments and all) with wide pallet strapping plastic. Round and round and round we went. Then we were able to carry it out the door in one complete piece and store it the garage for the entire year. The only problem was that it takes up a lot of valuable space in the garage. Instead of being disassembled in individual totes, and undecorated like normal, we stored it that way all summer long. But it was in the way of Steve's other workshop projects. I don't think we'll do that again this year. I think we will reduce things back to their original totes and packaging. But it was a good idea and we thought we would try it.
All three of the little elves helped Grandpa carry the bound up tree around from the garage, down the driveway, across the sidewalk, and up the front steps. I held the door open and whoosh, and it came!!!
The grandkids were wondering how the Grinch did it so easily by pushing a full tree up the chimney? This was a really tough job to carry a full tree into the house. They were exhausted!!!
I had to revive them with the promise of hot cocoa. They jumped back into action and started to carefully cut away the plastic from around the tree, without cutting any important lighting wires or ornaments underneath the plastic.
Before the plastic was even completely removed, Clayton got right to work underneath the tree, finding the cord and plugging it in. Our LED lights are on a remote control with 8 different variations of lights, changing colors, or all white, flashing or not. They love to play with the remotes and change it from time to time. So does Steve. It's his "thing".
The other problem with wrapping up the tree is that all the ends of the branches get bent and curved inwards. It took quite a while to push and pull and rearrange each of the branches to point outwards again. Then of course we had to rearrange the ornaments so they would hang decently. I think it was just as much work to redo the tree as it was to originally decorate it from scratch. So I don't think we will do this method again at the end of this season.
We also corralled up all of my little horsey ornaments and arranged them across the mantle with some matching lit up garland. These are some of my favorite and most memorable ornaments.
So far, the inside of the house is pretty well decorated except for the Christmas village. The grandkids are going to come back and do that because we ran out of time, and plain and simple, it was Grandma and Grandpa who both ran out of energy!
Even though it was pretty cold and windy out last Sunday, we decided to decorate the front of the house and get up all of our exterior decorations and lights. We figured we might as well get it done before the snow flies. Even though it was the very end of November, we usually wait until December to do this. But we happened to have one good day to "git 'er dun".
This year we went one step further and permanently installed some nice white rubber coated metal hooks across the entire front porch. Now we can put the same garlands of lights in the same spots every year and not have to mess with staples or nails or wire ties. It will be much easier to decorate in future years. We had done this on the house in Chilton too, and it sure made it easy. Because they are small and white, the hooks are not really noticeable throughout the summer months.
We unpacked the totes and started our outside décor.
I enjoy wrapping all of the porch columns like great big peppermint sticks! Three years ago the grandkids helped me make these great stars out of cheap plastic Dollar Tree hangers and a hot glue gun with some pretty sparkly sequins. Later on, I also tied them down at the bottom to the railing so they don't blow around too much in the upcoming gusting winter winds.
here is how to make them:
So here's the front of the house pretty well decorated for the winter. It's the same way we've done it the last two christmases. And I kind of like it. I also added more peppermint stripe ribbons to the stair railings and also to the entrance over by the pergola to the she shed, not in this photo.
Now that we got all the decorating done,
it's time for "Clark Griswold Pfundtner"
to take over...
The outdoor garland lights end up being plugged into three different timers so that way we are avoiding having any cords crossing the walking areas to create a tripping hazard. Now it's time for Clark to get all the lights functioning and repair any burnt out sections or fuses, he also needs to get these timers set correctly. It really bugs him if one section of lights goes on or off before the others. At the magic hour of 4:30 p.m. as it is dusk, he wants them all to go on with a flourish... at the same time!
Steve is even wearing the same gloves and hat as Clark!
With some tweaking and fiddling over the next few days, he finally has them synchronized to go on perfectly and also light up the two little snowmen out in the front by the bird bath. Yes, my Clark Griswold Pfundtner has the Christmas Spirit deep in his heart. Awwwwww.
During this past week, I've added a few other things here and there throughout the house, including the little Family fiber optic tree. It's a Family Tree because there's an ornament on there for every member of our extended family. It's fun when they come to visit to search and hunt around until they find their name.
It's pretty cool at night
right in front of the dining room windows.
My little wooden toy soldier is on guard by the front door. Along with the ring of Jingle Bells on the doorknob. I got this soldier many years ago from a co-worker when I sold real estate in Green Bay. He was also a woodworker and made it for me for a Christmas present in our Holiday Office Exchange. It's one of those precious things that I hang on to year after year.
The bells give a familiar festive chiming sound
each time the door is opened.
I line up these adorable old-fashioned jumping jacks on magnets for the grandkids to play with. They are stuck to the side of the refrigerator. That way they can play with them and line them up and rearrange them. One year I tried hanging them on the tree and they couldn't pull on the bottom strings to make them jump without upsetting the tree. It worked out much better for inquisitive little munchkins to play with them in an easily accessible area.
I just love old fashioned type ornaments and silly play things for the kids.
This creative little tree in my kitchen is metal and the ornaments are magnetic. They can be rearranged and it is strung with little tiny LED seed lights that flash and glow in alternating patterns. The grandkids have dubbed this the Grinch Tree because it looks like something right out of Dr Seuss. It's one of those trees that they can play with or rearrange every time they come over to visit. One year, some of the grandkids gave me the cute little sign hanging overhead. That makes sense doesn't it?
We put the silly little Charlie Brown Tree in the middle of the table in the kitchen. It's something that they can rearrange the ornaments and play with. They laugh about it, because it's so spindly and awkward and ugly, but cute in its own way.
After my mom passed away last year, I asked my stepdad to pick out a couple little things that were mom's holiday favorites to send to me that I could keep for year after year. He sent me a whole bunch of her Nutcracker collection. I distributed them among all of the grandchildren so everybody got a large nutcracker. I kept these six little tiny ones for myself. I line them up to stand guard in this window sill. I smile every time I see them and think of my mom.
Sitting next to the fireplace is our holiday story bear in his sleigh with all of the Christmas books. It's great to cuddle up with a couple grandkids at a time and read Christmas stories--- especially the vintage ones from Little Golden Books like Rudolph and Jingle Bells. Of course we always read the traditional Night Before Christmas too.
20 plus some years ago a fellow fiber friend in my spinning guild made me this cut out fret work paper tree in the middle of my dining room table. It is of the Twelve Days of Christmas! She made it herself with an exacto blade and cut it out from sturdy cardstock. The top of course is the partridge, the next row down has two turtle doves, three french hens, etc. I carefully fold it up and put it away each year. It's been on the center of my dining table every year since she made it for me. I also found the wonderful peppermint stick striped candles this year when shopping with my friend Vicky. We will burn them during special meals throughout the holiday season, and maybe put them out year after year depending on how far down they get burnt.
Besides needing the kids to assemble the Christmas Village inside of my china hutch, I think I am pretty much done. We have completed most of our Christmas shopping and I just have a little bit more wrapping to do. I'm still not quite feeling up to snuff yet. I am feeling pretty good so far recovering from whatever this long illness has been. Next we can work on Christmas cards and making cookies. But for now, we can sit back and enjoy the season...
And if you are in the area, stop on in!
I think it's time to crank up the Christmas music,
sit back with a cup of cocoa and tiny marshmallows
and take a little break.
~~~Bring on the holidays~~~