Decking the Halls: Christmas at my house

Here’s something you might not know about me–I used to get paid to decorate Christmas trees. Lots of them. Big ones (one that required a 20-foot ladder) and small ones. Real ones and fake ones.

A stack of antique books takes on holiday flare when decorated with ribbon & faux candied fruit

It sounds fun, but when you’re on your twentieth tree of the week and you still have your own waiting to be done at home, it gets old fast.

What I can say is this, I learned a lot. Such as wired ribbon is your best friend and you can fill up a lot of space in a tree with some nice big bows. (Yes, we made our own bows. Cutting pliers and floral wire lived in my pocket back then.) Silk flowers worked well too, stuck into the branches.

Items found in nature are just as good. I became very in tune with what was growing around the homes I was decorating–and even on the drive over. No Juniper, or Holly, or Cedar, or pine bough laden with cones was safe from me and my cutting pliers when I needed texture and filler to decorate with. A little greenery goes a long way. Tie an old stack of books with a bow and shove in a piece of greenery and people act like you’re a home decorating guru, I swear.

Can you find the elf?

When we decided to have both of our families here for Thanksgiving and I realized the urns

on our porch looked like crap, I noticed that Hurricane Sandy had littered our yard with fallen pine bows and cones. Viola! A festive holiday outdoor display. One man’s junk is indeed another man’s treasure.

I learned ornaments don’t have to be actual ornaments. Love grandma’s spoon collection but

don’t know what to do with it? Tie ribbons on each one and hang them on the tree. The

memories are all kind of a blur, but I remember wiring an entire tea set–cups, pot, saucers, and all–into a tree in someone’s dining room.

By the end of the season, after a long shift at the end of a long week, I lost it a few times, but I

don’t think anyone was offended when I locked the elves inside the open wire gift boxes and had them holding on to the bars as if they were in jail. I’m sure no one even noticed, but it amused me at the time and kept me from going completely over the edge.

No, I don’t do the professional decorating thing anymore. I can say this, it’s a lot more fun doing up one house than a half a dozen. The skills have stayed with me, but now I only dazzle friends and relatives with my McGyver/Martha Steward guerrilla decorating tactics. And maybe I’ll inspire a few of you.

Enjoy these pictures of Christmas at the Johnson household and may all your decorating be easy!


BEFORE: outdoor urns looking very sad

AFTER: urn decked with pine boughs, cones & a candle

Even the upstairs hall gets a tree

Sometimes bigger is better. I say this kitchen is done!

6 responses to “Decking the Halls: Christmas at my house

  1. OMG! I LOVE it that you used to decorate trees for pay! Yes, I can imagine that would get old very fast!

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