By Kate Korber
It may sound completely clichéd, but Christmas is truly my favourite time of year. Each Christmas is like a new chapter in a story, a place where new memories are written and a time when we can reflect on the wonderful times we’ve had in the past. Decorating my home at Christmas is all about celebrating these wonderful times. From my childhood, to getting married, teaching children over the years and then having my own. You could say that I am addicted to celebrating the memory of Christmas.
Whether you are a fan of decorating your home or not, Christmas truly comes to life if you embellish your home with ornaments and knick knacks that have meaning. It’s not about spending a great deal of money, or having the latest ‘on trend’ style. For me, a home comes to life at Christmas when you bring out the things that remind you of happy times gone by and the people you love. Filling my home with these wonderful keepsakes makes me feel eternally grateful for the blessings in my life, for the people around me, and for those who are no longer with us.
The focal point of my home at Christmas is (surprise, surprise), the tree. We always get a real tree as there is nothing like the smell of pine to warm your heart. Each year, I bring out my collection of baubles, stars and ornaments that remind me of great adventures, cherished moments and people who have been in my life. Whether it be handmade stars from Bryant Park in New York, purchased on our honeymoon, glass birds from my late Granny’s tree or ornaments given to me by students I have taught, they all mean something and bring so much joy. A sentimental favourite would have to be a silver baby carriage, given to me by a parent to celebrate the impending birth of my daughter Ella two years ago. Some people might think it’s tacky, but the handmade ornaments made by my daughter sit proudly on the shelf, and I hope they do for many years to come.
This year will by my son Hudson’s first Christmas. To celebrate, a personalised stocking has been made to hang on our new mantle, along with the rest of our family (including our dog, Lloyd). When I was young, I made stockings for my entire family that still hang on my parents’ mantle today. Each time I look at these stockings, I remember what it was like to find them filled with presents as a child on Christmas morning. I can’t wait for my own children to do the same.
Recently, my Nanna gave me her vintage nativity set, one that she has had since the 1960s. It will be the first year that it sits underneath my tree, but it will forever remind me of the many years it stood under hers. Advent calendars adorn the walls for my children to open each day in December, a flashback to my own childhood when we would argue over whose turn it was to open the paper door. A tin Santa sits on my side table, a present from my sister and a reminder of the time when I first moved out of home and decorated my own home for the first time.
Many find it overwhelming to choose a theme, colour and style for their home at Christmas. I prefer to keep it simple. Fresh flowers and lit candles bring the house alive. Each year, I bring out the old and sentimental decorations, but also add a few new friends to the collection. This year, Ella helped me choose a few new ornaments to hang on our tree. Each element, whether old or new, has meaning. For me, this is a simple way to bring love into my home and keep the Christmas memory alive, especially as our children get older and learn about this joyous time of year. There is nothing like a home filled with wonderful reminders of happy times past and Christmas for me is my chance to do just that.
–Kate Korber is a primary school teacher and mum of two who blogs at Happy Ella After.