Putting some rustic goodness into your Christmas
Our first log home, rented from a farmer who had built a modern bungalow just down the road!
Our first really country Christmas was celebrated over 35 years ago in a 125 year-old clapboard covered log farm house (pictured to the right).
We decorated the large country kitchen and front parlor with fresh holly and strings of popcorn and cranberries, and our entertainment was a sing-song around the long dinner table. The wood stove crackled and the snow outside glistened in the moonlight. We didn't have much, but the food and fellowship felt abundant.
It's a Christmas that everyone who was there remembers fondly.
Following are some Christmas decoration ideas we have for celebrating a country Christmas -
send us yours!
Decorate with natural materials
Table centerpieces can be as simple as bows of evergreen, pine cones, berries, and natural material candle holders - artfully arranged.
Country Christmas decorations can be swags of holly, garlands of cranberries and popcorn, or old fashioned paper chains.
Wreaths can include dried flowers, herbs, and vintage Christmas decorations. One friend of mine, when her elderly mother moved out of her home, took a selection of her mother's treasured Christmas decorations and glued them to a large willow wreath. This wreath has become a family treasure.
Gift wrap can be hand painted - by you or by the children in your family.
How about a good old fashioned pomander to add wonderful aromas and rustic appeal?
- Every year I cut up the Christmas cards I received the previous year to make gift tags.
- Use previously used materials as gift wrap. Use your imagination! For example, how about a brown paper bag, a recycled bow or ribbon, and cinnamon sticks or dried flowers as a garnish?
- Make gift bags from recycled fabric and save them for use year after year.
- Use wallpaper remnants for gift wrap.
- Buy Christmas decorations at yard sales or flea markets.
A Christmas gift for our feathered friends
Make a bread and seed wreath to hang outside for the birds! It's easy - here's how!
A tip for December 24
When I was a small child, every year my grandmother would give the children a gift on Christmas Eve - something designed to keep us busy on the day that is the longest day of the year for all children. It might have been a coloring book, a puzzle, or game - but it was always something that would occupy us and help pass the time until Santa came.
Easy country Christmas decorating
- Arrange evergreen boughs on your mantelpiece, shelves, or hall tables with a string of small white lights. Garnish with pinecones, dried flowers, or collectibles.
- Arrange poinsettias - small, medium, and large in a grouping on your hearth or in your entry hall.
- Fill baskets with pinecones, holly, and nuts in the shell.
- Put a poinsettia on every step of your stairs along the banister so you can see them from below as well as when you climb the stairs.
- Buy plaid material to make table clothes, napkins, and runners.
- Tie big plaid bows on banisters and/or door knobs.
Celebrate Christmas for Mother Earth
What better way to celebrate the Christmas season than by honoring our earth and protecting the environment? Here are some suggestions:
- In the weeks around Christmas, spend time each day appreciating nature. Go for a walk or take a hike in the woods or mountains. Drink in and enjoy the environment around you.
- Choose a piece of earth and commit yourself to taking care of it. For example, clean up a vacant lot, collect and recycle garbage and debris in a park, or pick up discarded items that are left on or washed up on a beach. If you're in the city, pick a stretch of sidewalk to clean up.
- Use only recycled goods for cards and wrapping paper this Christmas.
4. Don't use your car for a week (if you can).
- Re-evaluate your family's recycling program and how you can do more. If you don't already recycle, now is the time to get started.
- Eat only natural, organic, or unprocessed foods this Christmas. The whole family can get involved in planning and preparing healthy and environmentally friendly Christmas fare.
Adapted from Simplify Your Christmas: 100 Ways to Reduce the Stress and Recapture the Joy of the Holidays by Elaine St. James.
Reach out with the Christmas spirit
- Help a neighbor - someone who is elderly, disabled, or alone.
- Spend Christmas Eve or Christmas day volunteering at a hostel or shelter
- Take gifts to the hospital
- Help a family in need by supplying everything they need (and more) for Christmas dinner plus gifts for the whole family
- Collect toys for Santa's anonymous
- Shop for a shut in
- Babysit for a busy mom
- Invite newcomers to join you for a country Christmas dinner