Hello! How are your Christmas plans going? Or holiday plans for those of you who don’t celebrate Christmas?
I am not ashamed to say that I 100% unabashedly love Christmas. I love the food, I love the family time, and I love the relaxing. Here, of course, Christmas is a summer holiday…I know it seems weird for those who are used to snow, cosy fires, heavy meals, snuggling under blankets on the sofa watching Christmas movies, and so on, but it’s what we know (and love – having a Christmas that marks the beginning of a long, lazy summer is just the best).
To be honest, though, the cultural belief that Christmas is celebrated in winter is both constant and super strong, and it does make some of the things we do seem faintly ridiculous. I’d love to take Amelie to see the lights, for example, but it would mean keeping her up hours past her bedtime (which is absolutely not worth it for anyone). This year, I wanted to do more to reflect the fact that we are celebrating in summer, and to try to make our Christmas celebrations and traditions a little more fitting of the season here in the Southern Hemisphere. I also wanted to make sure that I was decorating in a style that suited Wonderview and its country/coastal location! Hence, we have decorated the house for a blue and white Christmas…in my eyes, the perfect nod to Christmas tradition that still acknowledges our sunshiny weather.
I kept our tree really simple and just added some navy satin ribbon and white organza ribbon to the lights and (mostly gold and silver) decorations we already had. On the wall, I tied bows from more navy satin ribbon to go on the hooks where we’ve hung our stockings, and I tied a lighter turquoise ribbon around our white feather wreath (Amelie and I made the wreath a couple of years ago!). I wrapped all our presents in brown craft paper (I do this most years: it’s recyclable, simple, and looks great dressed up with some accoutrements) and added ribbons – white, silver, and navy organza ribbons, and a cornflower blue satin ribbon as well to mix things up.
Because I can never just leave well enough alone, I also bought a template for an Advent village from Etsy (because I had a look at the Advent options in the shops and they all left me cold), printed 24 little houses on blue card and a warm white paper, glued all the warm white paper to plain cardstock (which was too white to just print directly on), cut the houses out, folded them together, and have been steadily filling them with treats and activities every evening since. Because Amelie is four and therefore absolutely cannot be trusted to not open every house all at once, I have to just go one house at a time. We’ve invented a kind of Elf on the Shelf/Advent hybrid – the elves come every night and leave something special for Amelie in the next day’s house. They’re never seen though! I hasten to add that; when I was telling this to another mother she thought I had an Elf of the Shelf and I’d just like to categorically state here that I do not, and never will have, an Elf on the Shelf. I’m definitely a sucker for punishment (it’s been two and a half weeks and I’m only just beginning to regain feeling in my thumbs from all that cutting and glueing) but the Elf on the Shelf really seems next level to me. Besides, I’m pretty sure he only comes with red clothes and that really doesn’t suit my aesthetic (I’m kidding. Kinda. Actually, not really).
A few more sets of lights around the place and what Hayden calls ‘the Blair Witch tree’ on the sideboard, and I feel like I have got my balance right for the year! Right now, it’s 8:30 at night and three of our doors are still wide open to the evening. The sun has mostly set but there’s still a rosy glow emanating from behind the mountain. I just ate a dessert of pavlova, strawberries and cream (this could not be more NZ-Christmassy), the lights are on and the tree, sideboard, and horror tree are glowing, and our Ecoya pine candle (the best) is burning away, making our whole house smell like a Christmas wonderland. Our blue and white Christmas is delighting me wholeheartedly – and hopefully, it’s also a magical experience that Amelie will remember one day as the perfect way of making Christmas a traditional summer holiday!