Christmas is in fully swing at our house this year, and I made sure I was properly organised well in advance. We were away in the UK last year, so didn’t do much decorating. The reason for getting onto it so early is it takes a good two solid days to get all the boxes out of the garage, put all the various decorations up all over the house, then clean up and make it all presentable. I’m not going to all that trouble mid December to take them down a few weeks later! So, we decided this year to get it all up on the last weekend in November so we could make the most of the festive season and feel relaxed and enjoy the lead up. The last weeks of school term are always frantic and we didn’t want to be chucking them up in haste. I do love putting the Michael Buble albums on, opening a bottle of bubbles and getting into the spirit at my leisure! 

Here are some before and during shots….firstly getting all the dozens of plastic crates out of the garage and going through them sorting out which theme and colour to go with this year.

Tom had the unenviable task of assembling the giant faux tree bought from Alfresco Emporium when we lived in Sydney, which takes a good few hours. It’s a beautiful tree, thick and dense with a great shape. As much as I love the smell of real ones, as I’ve said in the past I do prefer the shape and reliability of the fake one and they hold decorations in a much more pleasing and uniform way. Particularly as we can’t get the lovely shapes of trees available in the northern hemisphere.

The kids all get their decorations out, and have their own tree to decorate in their rooms. That way they can hang all their school made decorations and any special Christmas treasures on their tree and have complete creative control. I don’t get involved at all! They also have a number of other figurines, glass snow globes and ornaments they put around their rooms.

There are lots of places in the house to decorate, so I make the most of every surface! It is wonderful having a staircase, mantle and other spots to add festive trimmings.

I have so many boxes of decorations, many collected over the years but I do like to add a few every year. This year I went with the silver and gold theme, which works well with the blue and white scheme of our house. The tree itself takes about 300 decorations, so while it looks like a lot when they are all in boxes and laid out, I generally end up using most of them on the tree. Like the decorating of my house, I don’t like to under-decorate the tree!

I must confess to being a bit of a control freak when it comes to the main tree in the house, and I do insist on retaining creative control of this one. That’s why I appease the children giving them their own to decorate. I then have the freedom to make this one look perfect, usually while they are at school. I put on the music and take my time decorating the tree just the way I like it!

Then when they come home and most of it’s done, I leave a few final ornaments for them to finish off and add the finishing touches.

And voila!
All three children take great pride in their individual Christmas tree and the way it looks. They all love going to sleep at night seeing the twinkling lights and all their precious decorations around their rooms. They all have a silver bell to hang on their door, the inspiration for this being the “Polar Express” and the reminder that you must believe in Father Christmas to hear the bell jingle. After all, as we keep saying, if you don’t believe, you don’t receive!

There always has to be some Christmas kitsch in the house, and these singing and dancing furry creatures certainly qualify for the job!

It’s been so cold in Bowral the last few days, we have had the fire on at night, so it has felt much more Christmassy than usual, and doesn’t seem so odd having snow covered vignettes around the house.

I bought some new faux evergreen wreaths and garlands this year, which are prelit and on a timer. It’s great not having to go around turning everything on and off each night. 

And of course Christmas isn’t Christmas down under, without a house full of beautiful hydrangeas.

Hope you are enjoying the start of the Christmas season and feeling a little bit festive and fun!

All photos by Melinda Hartwright.

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