holiday home, the overview

The first room you come to in our home is our living room.  We don't have an entry hall per se,  but we've arranged things so that the space is somewhat divided between the sitting and entry areas.  The sofa usually faces the (non-working) fireplace.  My decorating style is somewhat "empire-in-decline" meets thrift store- all of the furniture is old- either bought at antique auctions, passed down, or purchased at thrift/shabby antique stores and loved up.  There are a lot of books, asian pieces passed down from my inlaws or picked up at estate sales, some art by people we knew when we worked at a gallery,  and the furniture, by and large, is comfortable but slightly formal.  We really live in this space, so I kept the decorations limited to the tree and the mantle.  
You can see that the living room adjoins the dining room- the colors and style are similar, and the decorations are pared down to the advent wreath on the table,  our advent calendar on a sideboard, and two of the sparkly wreaths you saw earlier on the china cabinet and window.  I don't typically keep a table cloth on the dining room table- I prefer bare polished wood.  This table (a 1940s mahogany duncan phyfe model) is one that we bought the first year we were married at an antiques auction for $100.  The four chairs were an additional $100.  Both are much worse for the wear- we came home one night when our house was babysitting central to find a tonka dump truck and 18" of  its tracks running down the middle of the table.  I think in the coming year I'll paint the table and chairs rather than cringe every time I see a new scratch.  The dining room is the exact center of our home- I'm embracing the battering we give in and the life it hosts.   My favorite decoration in this room is the ceramic creche that my great grandmother made.  I found it in 2001 when we were clearing out my great grandparents' home.  This was packed away in an old wooden box in the "junk room" where she used to paint poured ceramics.  The pieces had already been glazed- everything was there but the Christ Child.  I used it as-is for years until I found an identical piece at a community center where I taught children's pottery.  I inquired if the ceramics lady had the baby and offered to buy it if she did.  She gave it to me and I glazed it.  I didn't get the color quite right, but I was happy to have the completed set.  My boy set it up this year- I can really see the influence of his years in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.

And so, Christmas is a week away.  The tree is up.  We'll hang our stockings next week and begin to wrap gifts to go under the tree.  There are cookies to bake, some last-minute gifts to make, and yes, still cards to send out.  If you celebrate, I hope your Christmas is filled with brightness and joy, and that everyone's new year brings good things.

Be well, everyone.