And they no longer include that shabby faux holly wreath I used the last 3 years. Most of my stuff came from my paternal grandfather, which means it hasn’t seen the light of day in 15 years.
My roommate and I got really lucky and scored a huge Fraser fir that’s not overwhelmingly wide. Most of what’s on it is either nutcrackers (because my family collected lots of them for me when I was a kid), awesomely mottled old glass ornaments, or things my aunt crocheted. Well, it would be nice to say my aunt but actually a lot of them came from my mom’s ex mother in law. And she was better at it than my aunt.
I’m loving the retro look. In fact I’d have recreated this picture if I could. “What else did we get?” is definitely the real meaning of Christmas, right? Cue my mom scolding me for being a cynic. That’s my dad on the right.
But I’d totally have gone for a sparse, irregular tree and loaded it with tinsel if there were any of those to be had. The one I got was less than 2 blocks away and I’ll call it a find. I’d definitely, definitely put out those cars too! Sadly, they’re long gone, and the repurposed tree skirt doesn’t cover the OSB backing for the tree stand (definitely a my dad job). But that’s okay because I have Victorian toys to hide it! This stove is the best.
And a crèche. There’s a nicer one from my other grandparents but I like this one because when my mom was little she thought Joseph was ugly and had Mary run off with the blond shepherd.
And, drumroll please, I decorated the basement. This might be ridiculous but again it’s a memory from my grandfather’s house in my early childhood.
He built the tables with gas pipe legs (way before it became the cool bloggy thing to do) and wired C6 bulb sockets into it. But the vintage Plasticville houses have little melty marks on them from the heat of those old fashioned bulbs, the colored lights he used look weird, and the wiring is in a terrifying state. So we redid it with some (free!) LED lights. My favorite piece is the Plasticville Frosty Bar, possibly the most 1950’s thing I’ve ever seen.
Now a bit about my grandfather’s house. He wasn’t vain about it like the rest of the family. It was plain, smoke-stained, and filed with unfashionable mid-century modern furniture. (Don’t ask how little my parents sold it for.) And our friends knew his house for having no rules. We could use the swivel chair as a tire swing, make clouds with Grandma’s powder puff, make mud and rivers in the garden, put clothespins in the dryer… he didn’t care. He used to make me sandwiches of Spam Lite fried in bacon grease with Velveeta and yellow mustard. And while there was a procedure to getting the ornaments dispersed just so at my parents’ and grandmother’s house, we did whatever we wanted at Grampa’s. I made one spot look bad on purpose and he didn’t let my mom fix it. And, he used the blinker bulbs in his lights. Because my dad uses a lot of lights strung into neat horizontal rows, this gave his tree an effect of horizontal bands blinking out of sync with each other and the tree looked like a spaceship. It was awesome.
And if this story was special enough to you, the house can be yours! Remember, you’ll want red linen countertops on knotty pine cabinets and Lane Copenhagen furniture for an historically accurate look. But skip the carpeting; the refinished floors are definitely an upgrade.