Then began the Christmas decorating frenzy. We had been warned, long before we ever even moved into this house that the neighborhood takes Christmas decorating very seriously. In fact, every year they have a Lights On party, ceremoniously going house to house as a neighborhood and ooh-ing and aaahh-ing as each house flips on their Christmas lights. They enjoy hot chocolate and goodies together, and on some occasions, have even helicoptered in a Santa Claus for the event. Yep. (This didn't happen to be one of those years however.) So we knew the pressure was on.
I knew, being our first year ever in a house and decorating it, that I wanted it to be something magical for the kids. I love classy and clean decorations, but I thought while I have young kids I wanted something fun and whimsical. I started thinking of reading Hansel and Gretel with my kids and remembering how excited they were about the witches house and how they kept saying they just wanted to eat it! I thought, hmm, that would be so fun to have a house like that!
Then I saw this when I walked into Michael's one day:
I thought - that's what I want my house to look like! So I tried to brainstorm how to make that happen. I looked and looked for giant candy pinwheels but had no luck. So I set about making my own. I would have loved to make them bigger but I think I ended up making about 50 of them and wanted them to fit through my laminator so I didn't have to take them all somewhere to be laminated on a larger scale - although in retrospect that would have been definitely more awesome. When the actual thing was done, it didn't have quite the effect of the candies I would have liked - I probably would have had to make 100 more to get that look all along the roof line, but the overall effect in the end was still pretty fun:
Let this not go without a shout out to my husband for the death-defying task of putting up those dang lights. We knew that most everyone in our neighborhood paid people to put up their lights. How boring and un-festive we thought. Then we did it. And said - ah, they all must have done it one time. That's about all it takes to realize you should just pay someone rather than potentially die in the process!! I seriously had to keep checking details with Ryan about our insurance policy as he was up on the most gigantic ladder we could find trying to get up to those high peaks and I was standing at the base practically hyperventilating with anxiety. And pregnant. But he did it. And lived to tell the tale.
I had found the cutest little decorations to go along with my whimsical idea and thought they would make for some funky window boxes. Like I started to think of kind of a Tim Burton-esque gingerbread house.
They were a little hard to get a good picture of though. And the one thing I did learn though from this first year was that all the stuff I had gotten was so cute individually when you looked at it, but from the road you really just needed BIG. You couldn't see all my cute details from the road.
The family we rented from had left some of their decorations for us, like the wreaths and this (somewhat frightening when it was in our house for a few days and would scare the heck out of me every time I walked in the room) musical Santa Claus. Apparently in years past they have had him skiing or repelling off the roof, but after getting on that ladder for the lights, we decided just standing there handing out candy at our Sweet Shoppe would be sufficient.
And I was excited to find such a gorgeous, perfect-looking Christmas tree for our first one!!
A few days later when I pulled out the small one to put up in the boys room, they couldn't believe when I told them it was the one they had always used all their life in Miami and the only one we'd ever had. Noooo. The one we had in Miami was way bigger. No, funny enough, just everything feels bigger now - big house, big tree... hard to believe we lived on such a small scale there!
Ah, a touch of snow makes it just right.