The Warmth From Within

The warmth from within
In these days of limited energy and reduced physical agility, I hardly decorate the exterior of the house anymore. Whether it's a spooky front porch tableau for Halloween, or a mass of lights and holiday yard art for Christmas, I just can't do it. It's regrettable too, because this cottage could really pull that sort of thing off well...

My holiday decorating mojo petered out on me around our third Christmas in the house in the St. James development. It was then I learned that climbing up and down a ladder was no longer something I could do and not suffer the consequences. I compensated by decorating the front porch and the door, which had stained glass in it as well as a stained glass panel on either side. A wreath in the large palladium front window set it off, and the old-fashioned, black street lamp that stood on the corner of our lawn which the management company wrapped lights around and topped with a plaid bow was all that was needed. Damn, I miss that lamppost at Christmas.

Although Bookends Cottage is smaller and less grand, it has a beautiful peaked roof that would benefit from Christmas lights, but all I've ever managed is lights along the front porch eaves and wound around the garland I always hang in swags along the ledge with big bows. This year I'm doing things differently. I'm going to hang the garland from the eaves like in this picture. I'll also hang a wreath from the two front windows. The tree will take up the bay windows on the south wall so, except for urns with rosemary trees flanking the kitchen door and the wreath on the front door, that's it for me. I'll make the front porch as "clean" as possible, too—no wind chimes, whirlygigs, or empty pots, hanging or otherwise, and limited furniture. Everything else gets stowed in the garage

As much as I've always enjoyed those Candy Cane Lanes that every city and town across the county seems to have, I've never liked a lot of decorations and Grisswold lights for my own house. And I absolutely detest those big balloony things that are kept inflated by a noisy fan. Sorry, that's just my opinion. I'm definitely in the less is more camp when it comes to exterior Christmas decorations (inside the house is a different matter entirely). I do confess, however, to a decided weakness where lights are concerned, as long as they're clear, tiny, and kept to a tasteful glow rather than a twinkling, flashing, running Las Vegas glare. What I like about the picture above is that the warmth from within the house is the true focus. That's my taste exactly.

But how anyone else decorates is their business; I don't judge. It's all in good fun and I'd rather see a mass of lights and decorations on my street than nothing at all. Because our house is on a very visible corner of a street peopled with students who don't decorate, I feel obliged to give people something nice to look at as they drive past, and I'd like that to be a look of family warmth and hospitality rather than a sideshow midway.