This is our seventh holiday season at the Cottage. In the past, we decorated small but completely-- stockings, a mini tree, pine cones, mixed garlands, snowflakes, figurines, and (of course) all the twinkle lights. But last year, after I removed our Christmas decor, I remember feeling a tremendous sense of relief-- the house felt so much less cluttered. I decided to hold on to that feeling this time around by scrapping the miscellaneous embellishmnets (which we donated), and using what we consider to be the essentials: the stockings, a live tree + garlands, and (of course) all the twinkle lights.
We made one other major change to our holiday routine as well. Instead of aiming for our cozy decor to pull us into the house, we wanted it to encourage us to step outside of our walls, in order to focus more on the people and places around us. (More experiences. Fewer things.) So we put our Christmas tree on the porch, and instead of glittering-up our garden, we decorated a bridge over a canal in our neighborhood.
We required some different lighting in order to make these changes happen safely. For our tree, we needed an indoor/outdoor safe string of lights, and I wanted strands that could glow white OR in color. These dual color option battery-operated string lights from Lights.com did the trick. With West's safety in mind, we tethered the tree to the lattice behind it, and arranged all of our breakable ornaments up top. We used these clever flameless taper candles to adorn branches within his reach, because they look beautiful and he loves to grasp and play with them.
For the bridge, I wanted everything to be as natural as possible. This time of year usually encourages so much more extra waste and disposability, and I really hoped to avoid that by using live plants and garlands, twig-based wreaths, and solar powered twinkle strands, and rechargeable, flameless, battery-operated lanterns. I loaded up the supplies on my bike, and met my friends Heather Tierney (of The Butcher's Daughter) and Sara Toufali (of Black & Blooms) on the canals, where we spent the whole morning chatting about life and brainstorming about business as we wound the lights and greenery around the bridge.
We got to enjoy the gussied-up bride again over the weekend with my friends during the community's holiday boat parade.
For me, THIS Is what the holidays are all about. Less shopping, more connecting + creating. And (of course) all the twinkle lights.
The lights I used for these projects were sponsored by the lovely folks at Lights.com. All opinions + words are my own.