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Christmas Wrap Up - notes to myself for next year

Another Christmas is finished
and before I forget what worked 
and what I'd like to do differently
I thought I'd make some notes

A kind of 
end of the season report.

I truly enjoyed my abundant use of fresh elements.
My cranberries 
made it easily through the entire season.

My vintage Santa
once again happily claimed the center stage 
focal point 
when hung over my chalk board.

My flea market cardinals
that I found over a decade ago
and have been the color inspiration every since
still have a place of prominence.

By Christmas Day
I ended up very happy about the overall
balance of colors and items in my decor.

This year I was very intentional
about what I did to decorate
so as to honor my time ...

And it still seemed to take to the very end 
to finish.
(because i can always see how just one more thing ...)
By the time everything is done 
it seems to be over. ..

So next year I am starting earlier.

My tree will be up by Thanksgiving
pre lit 
but undecorated.
I will be using 
an artificial tree
for the first time ever.
The romantic notions of picking out a live tree
are no longer viable as our kids are grown 
 live trees are so much harder to decorate...
then begin to fade almost immediately.

Next year ...
I want my wrapping done the week before.
Shopping for me is always quick
as I never shop without a pre made list in hand.
But the wrapping the last week in the season ...
was one of my only humbug moments.

What I Will redo next year ...

Setting up a wrapping station in my studio
on the floor in front of the TV
with a perfect low table from Ikea.
I bought everything I needed ahead of time
so wrapping was quick and productive.

I want to remember to have Santa put
movie tickets in all the stockings
for the perfect Christmas night tradition for the kids.

I also want to remember
to make it to the beach for sunset with Jeff ...
it was the perfect soulful end to the day!

Next year
I will once again do Christmas shopping 
with my husband 
in Old Town Orange.
It is always a perfectly Christmasy night out!

Using the citrus I harvested from my garden
added the perfect punch of SoCal regionalism 
that I have always been wanting to incorporate into
 my families Christmas decor.

I enjoyed the abundant luxury of simply stepping out into the backyard
to get the items I needed!
It made all the time in the garden 
even more worthwhile
and has me eager to go 
love on my trees some more
in preparation for next year's crop.

I realized this year ...
that deciding to do Christmas crafts sounds charming
but layering crafts in the busiest time of the year ...
not really the best idea.

Ellis and I did finally get to our candle making
but it seemed to put us 'behind'
and layer in some stress we were trying to avoid.

Next year...
any crafts will be scheduled to begin after Halloween.
I was smart this year and just picked a couple to do.
Next year
I want to try candles again
as well as some Christmas bunting,

I am so happy with my use of
 living trees
Not only did they garnish with a breeze
with simple glass ornaments
with baubles removed
they will transition
quickly and easily to my
January decor.

The floating candles I tried this year
are definitely on my list to repeat.
They not only easily melded into my design scheme
but lasted weeks!

They assemble with just a few ingredients
I chose to use recycled jam jars
 found out most of all of my candles float.

My courtyard 
came together perfectly this year.
The small intimate space in our front yard
only takes a little effort to really pop.
I didn't use it as much as I had hope
but it was the perfect space 
to have a family talk with the four of us
one sunny SoCal morning
I was happy every time I saw it
from inside the house or coming home ...

And it was my
huge bowl of paper whites
that made each day so special in the courtyard.
Repeating this planting is on the top of my list for next year...
although I can't imagine to have the final bloom 
perfectly timed for Christmas  again...
It was a little Christmas miracle it was!

If you haven't done paper white bulbs
I highly suggest it!
For under 50 dollars, including the reindeer  bowl from Target
(bulbs out here go for around a dollar each)
I got to see Mother Nature in action up close...
each day was a new art piece!

I will be redoing paper whites
in a huge silver or white bowl
for my January courtyard decor.

Another to repeat ...
I kept some 
vases of various greenery I bought at the grocery store
so I could add the perfect touch of green garnish
in a flash to anything 
whether it was a present for a dear friend,
a holiday treat 
the perfect finish for a vignette.
The vases  of greens themselves looked festive as well
and lasted weeks! 

I will be redoing
simmering potpourri 
but without cranberries.
Cranberries do look festive ... for a while ...
but all too soon turned the simmer an unpleasant color.
I will be reverting to my usual mixture
that had red apples instead of cranberries
The apples don't discolor the mixture
so I can use that one for several days instead of one.

I will be repeating my cranberry use 
but probably not the artichokes.
They did dry fine
but for the cost of 4dollars each
they didn't give me enough lasting bang for my buck.
They discolored within a week 
to a shade that wasn't working for a dining room table.
I move them to a shelf vignette
where they did add some textural interest.

I think my final recommendation to myself
as far as decorating for the season
would be to
 try to get everything done
the week before Christmas
so there would be more time to slow down
savor and enjoy.
I came the closest this year than I ever have
because I had an intentional plan.

With a few simple tweaks
Next year I can come even closer ...

So I can have more time for this!

as always my friends

I wish you love and joy
as you style your life


  1. Tamera everything looks like an oasis of Christmas Cheer!
    Your pictures could fill up my wish book for next year.
    Thank you for this inspiring post.

  2. I think Thanksgiving and Christmas so close together took us all a little off...but you would not know it from your pictures. Just lovely...from decor to packages to potpourri!! Looks like it was practically perfect in every way! Have a joyous weekend to end 2013!

  3. Great wrap up. If I may be so bold, next year I'm stealing many of your ideas!! It all looks so beautiful, my friend. Have a glorious week xoJennifer

  4. Tamera..i love your images and also the year its 20 and pretty soon its 500! But .how did I not realize you in oc?? One of my resolutions is to get together for coffee or at the farmers market in the new year....xxoo so well done this year!!

  5. How wonderful to make this list for all of us to enjoy. I do love those fresh cranberries with the greenery & floating candles. Really really pretty and not home-made crafty-looking at all. I love getting everything done early, however, life gets in the way. This year I had THREE Christmas trees, 2 inside and 1 outside. I kinda overworked myself, but as we were having a big party I wanted to do it. I adore how you plan on transitioning those little plants/trees too. Happy New Year, Tamera !!

  6. What stunning holiday scenes! I love every single thing you did to make your home holiday festive. I'm going to try those floating candles sometime soon...maybe for New Years.

  7. A wonderful tour through your holiday planning. My favorites are your vintage elements that work so wonderfully into your decor. Happy New Year to you!

  8. Love the bird's eye view of your living room. I would LOVE to be as organized as you are. Happy Happy New Year to You!

  9. Everything is so beautiful! I also love incorporating fresh greens and paperwhites. Since using paper whites and fresh greens in my decor at Christmas I find I have a lot less to store! ;-)

  10. Tamera it all looks so beautiful! and I love the down to earth approach ... your use of cranberries is brilliant. Definitely looks and sounds like a true Christmas was celebrated with your family... many blessings my friend, hugs C. (HHL)

  11. Simply stunning in every way my dear Tamera. I felt the same, needing more time and energy, to truly get to the place of relaxing. The gift wrapping felt endless to me too. We arrived in LA/Santa Monica last night!!
    Can hardly wait to see you on New Years Eve darling!
    xx, Heather

  12. LOVE the tartan plaid backdrop! And I agree 100% - NEXT year an EARLIER start (altho the late Thanksgiving threw us all off this year I think). I like this post...a note to self for next year - the PERFECT place to keep your list....