I spoke on Friday about the commercialisation of Christmas, and how repulsive it has become. But when Christmas is enjoyed as a simple time of 'comfort and joy', I really love the build up to the main event. Fairy lights glow in people's windows, and there's so much going on to distract from the cold of winter (if you're in the Northern Hemisphere).
I've been watching the Liberty of London 'behind the scenes' series, marveling at their Christmas shop and all the beautiful decorations, baubles, angels, stars, and over-sized woodland creatures they cram to the rafters.
I remember my Mum taking me into town as Christmas approached, and letting me choose a tiny wooden angel decoration each time (or it seemed like each time). They were hand-painted with dainty faces, and I had my own tiny gold tinsel tree to hang them on. I loved those angels, and I had about ten of them, but somewhere along the line, after various house moves, they were lost.
But I've never lost that joy of choosing something special to keep and treasure, building up my own collection of 'heirloom' decorations each year. And by 'heirloom', I don't mean 'expensive'.
Recently I've been drawn to the more, rustic, 'woodland' ranges that echo Scandinavian forests and woodcutters living in gingerbread houses...
But then last year I went to Liberty.
I bought this beautiful emerald, diamond-shaped bauble.
It appealed as it was so strikingly different to the type I'd seen so much of before, and I loved the geometric, Cubist detail, which took me right back to the Cubist Museum I once visited in Prague, in the House of the Black Madonna.
Sometimes I buy second-hand vintage baubles from charity shops or hand-made designs from local craft markets. I like glass baubles with scenes in them, and wooden robins and coloured bells. And I still have a blue satin bauble that I got as a gift from my primary school teacher when I was six years old.
My Mum wouldn't let me put it on our tree because it didn't fit her colour scheme, but in my house, any colour goes. In fact, I like to dress my Christmas tree up like, well, a Christmas tree!
Do you have 'heirloom' decorations? Or do you make your own? Do people really change their colour scheme each year to keep up with some strange Christmas fashion-fad? For me it's heirloom baubles all the way, old and new, vintage finds mixed with hand-crafted versions, all displayed and treasured from year to year, with love.