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Friday, November 22, 2013

Melissa McClone: Christmas Decor

I go all out on decorating for Christmas. Decking the halls, so to speak, usually takes me a day or two, not counting decorating the tree. I used to be an engineer and have created my own method or process for getting it all done.

First, I take down pictures from the wall and pack away everything that's on our built-in shelves and windowsills. Then I pull out our Christmas decorations, books and DVDs. We have boxes and boxes of them. I start with the Advent wreath then hang garland on the banister and fireplace mantle and swags on all the windows. Dept. 56 villages used to go on the windowsills until we got a kitten that thought they were her play toys. Now she must content herself with the tree, which we leave up for a least a week with no garland (wood cranberry beads) or ornaments so she can climb and nap in the branches to her hearts content before we decorate it. Advent calendars are hung upstairs and downstairs. Besides a tree upstairs, the kids each have a small one in their bedrooms.  We have lots of shelf sitters, stuffed animals, snowmen, snow globes, Nativity sets and other knickknacks. My kids also know if something isn't where it was the year before!  

Of all the decorations, I love Nativity scenes the most. They are my favorite because Jesus' birth is the reason we celebrate Christmas. I'm always on the lookout for Nativity sets no matter what time of year. I like to have at least one in each room. We have several—a snow globe Nativity, a small fountain and several ornament ones for the tree. We've kept a Fisher Price set even though my youngest is now ten because the plastic pieces are pretty much dog and cat proof. That's the Nativity scene we place under the Christmas tree. Though pieces have made their way all over the house thanks to a couple of our four-footed fur babies. In my novella Home For Christmas, there is a Nativity crèche and figures under the Christmas tree at the Bar V5. I took that straight from my tree! -Place- Favorite place to be during the holidays? Home or traveling?
Home is my favorite place to be for the holidays. I believe what I wrote in my novella that home is where our loved ones are, but for us that includes our dogs and cats. They are part of our family.  We have travelled before, but now that we have more animals taking all of them with us isn't an option so we stick close to home at Christmastime.

Each dog and cat has a stocking that Santa stuffs with little toys and treats. He often leaves them special gift such as a dog pillow or a cat tree. A couple of them, Miss Mousie, Beauty and Chaos, really get into Christmas presents, but the others are more into the treats.


We've gotten good about having a stay-cation, vacation at home, during the Christmas break. The Portland area has lots of holiday happenings the month of December. Our favorite things to do are visit the various light displays. We never miss The Festival of Lights at The Grotto where you can walk through a light display, watch a puppet show, visit a petting zoo and listen to concerts by local musicians and groups. We also like going to ZooLights at the Oregon Zoo. I'm sure the animals don't care about the lights, but they are really beautiful and seeing the Zoo at night, all lit up, is neat. Another is the Winter Wonderland at the Portland International Raceway. You get to drive the track while listening to a CD they provide and see tons of displays, including one about the Twelve Days of Christmas. 

How do you decorate for Christmas?

25 comments:

Melissa McClone said...

Thanks for having me on Tote Bags -n- Blogs today!

Bette Hansen said...

I'm a sucker for Christmas decorating too and the Nativity scene is always the first thing I unwrap. Just love it. Really enjoyed Home for Christmas. Such a great story.

Stephanie said...

Ooh, the events in Portland sound pretty neat. I'll have to check into them. :) The Grotto is gorgeous so I bet it's even more so when it's decorated. :)

Since my apartment isn't very big, I usually put up a table top tree and then a few years ago I started my Disney Christmas village and I set that up underneath the tree. This year I've got family living near me and we're planning on doing some fun holiday stuff down in Seattle which I'm excited about. :)

Gwen Romine said...

I put up a small tree and keep it on a table because of my dogs. I also have started collecting those ceramic villages that you paint, complete with people.

Janine said...

I want to come visit for Christmas. It's sounds so festive at your place. I don't do much because I have some crazy cats that seem to think they make all the rules. I put out Christmas stockings for them only. I even put one out for my Nani who I lost last year.

Cindy Hamilton said...

I go all out for Christmas especially with the animated figurines and stuffed animals. I buy new ones every year to add to my collection. I'll set out the Christmas tree, then put out all my animation. THEN I get them all going to drive my husband nuts!! So much fun.

dstoutholcomb said...

I have a tree in my living room just for me--farmhouse country style. I keep a nativity scene in that room, too. In the family room, we have the family tree. I have decorations in every room on the first floor--including the powder room. I have a Santa collection and a Snowman collection and special places for each. I like white lights inside and out. my husband likes colored lights, so we compromised and switch off each year. I also have a Moravian star hanging on my portico which is a Lancaster County, PA (mostly in Lititz) tradition--I was born in Lancaster. That's the "must have" outdoor decoration.

Valri said...

I live outside of Portland and I didn't even know all this stuff! Thanks for the info! Even though all my kids are grown and live in different states, my hubby and I enjoy decorating for Christmas! We like decorating the tree and going over each ornament because most are ones are kids made when they were little!

Pat Cochran said...

Love decorating for any holiday but sadly Honey and I are aging
rapidly, or so it seems! It's getting to be more than just the two
of us can handle! We don't plan to decorate too much this year.
Just the outdoor lights, they are always so pretty!
Pat C.

Kimberlyindy said...

Thanks for sharing. I love all things Christmas, but I haven't done much decorating the last few years. I collect Hallmark ornaments and I actually have a set of the very first ones that came out in 1973. I loved Home for Christmas and I look forward to reading the other 2 stories.

Melissa McClone said...

Sounds like we'd get along just fine Bette! So glad you enjoyed the novella. Thanks so much!

Melissa McClone said...

There's also Peacock Lane in NE Portland. It's a neighborhood (street really) that goes all out decorating their cute little houses. Free to drive through! I forgot about that one.

Your apartment sounds like it's really decked out. I love Disney Christmas stuff! The village must be awesome!

Melissa McClone said...

I am so worried about our tree with our 14 month old. He wasn't too bad last year, but he'll chew on everything now. Not sure what we're going to do. Definitely no presents under there until the last minute! Oh, those ceramic villages sound cool. I haven't seen the ones you paint, just buy. Very neat. And appeals to the crafter in me :)

Melissa McClone said...

I hear you on the cats. Beauty sleeps in the tree! And each one has a stocking too. The kids won't let us use cats who've crossed the Bridge on new cats. This year will be hard because I lost my Rocket in March. He loved Christmas most of all and new which stocking was his. Man, I'm tearing up just typing this. But I totally get it, Janine! xoxox And you're welcome to stop over if you're ever in this part of the woods!

Melissa McClone said...

Oh, please take a video of all your animated figurines and stuffed animals so I can see. Please oh please. Sounds awesome! And LOL on your husband and using them to get him! Hahaha.

Melissa McClone said...

Sounds very festive and wonderful! Thanks for the description. I love all that you do and your collections, especially. I would love to have more than one tree, but that's just one more thing the animals could destroy. So glad you can have your farmhouse style one. Bet it's charming! We bought a white-light Christmas tree when my hubby had surgery on his knee and I couldn't get a live one into the house and set up by myself. I just bought some red lights that are in bunches with holly leaves around them to go on the tree. I wanted to see how it looks. I had multi-colored lights before on my trees.

Melissa McClone said...

Hi neighbor! We're outside of Portland, too! Yes lots of neat Christmas stuff there. I missed a free light display about Peacock Lane so read my reply above! That's wonderful about going over the ornaments the kids made. I do that with their ones from preschool now! Kid-made stuff is my favorite!

Melissa McClone said...

Hugs! It is a lot. The years I was pregnant (happened with all three) I always had to decide what I was up for. More than once, the villages stayed in their boxes. Especially when I had one due in January and they thought she might come early! Enjoy the lights. They are a must have for me!

Melissa McClone said...

Thanks so much! I hope you love the other two! Jane and Katherine are very talented authors. I still can't believe they asked me to join them. Squeee! Love that you collect Hallmark Ornaments. One gift we give each of our kids every year is a Hallmark Ornament. We try to pick something they are into that year. We write their names on the boxes. When they leave home, they'll be able to take the ornaments with then for their trees! Going shopping for the ornaments at our local Hallmark store is one of my favorite things to do in December!

Kimberlyindy said...

I actually belong to a Hallmark Ornament Club called LOCO, for local ornament collectors of Oceanside....We pre-order them in April. I often give them as gifts. There were 2 very special ones I added this year for Gram that just past away. We do stockings for our kitties too.

Janine said...

Hugs for you. I know it's hard to lose one of the babies. I still cry over Nani and she's been gone since June of 2012. She was my special girl and we had a special bond. I have never felt that close to a cat in my life and don't think I ever will. She was always by my side. I lost her unexpectedly to heart failure. I still can't listen to certain songs because they make me cry. I did get a laugh about Beauty sleeping in the tree.

Shari said...

Love the holidays. Monday I am going to put up my Christmas Village. Then the Monday after THanksgiving I will be decorating the rest of the house, inside and out. I have a big snowman collection that I bring out too.

Valri said...

What side of Portland are you outside of? We are on the way to the coast! We mostly go into Hillsboro or Beaverton for any shopping, etc. We did go into Portland last night to see the Mannheim Steamroller concert! Amazing! I haven't heard of the Peacock Lane display. It's probably pretty far from us if it's on the east side!

Quilt Lady said...

Christmas is about the only holiday I decorate for. We put some lights outside and I have a mother and baby deer that I put in the front yard. Also decorate inside.

Elisabeth said...

I love Christmas decorations and I'm so glad to hear that I'm not the only one who packs stuff away to clear room for Christmas decorations.
I have tons of Christmas stuff and love the month of December.
I especially love baking Christmas cookies too.
Love your books by the way. And you have the sweetest covers.