Our neighbors next door, who have pulled our street together into a community that rivals any church I've ever known, organized a holiday party two weekends ago. The idea was that each house would briefly entertain with some sort of light finger food and a complementary wine. Five houses hosted, and several other neighbors joined in, though they couldn't host. It was great fun. We started and ended at the neighbor's house (shrimp with a sparkling white to start - mulled whine and a chocolate fountain with fruit and cake cubes to end) and then various members of the usual circle stayed until midnight playing our monthly round of dealer's choice poker. We walked up and down the street in little groups, carrying our wine glasses, as we switched kitchens every thirty minutes or so. Oddly, every house that participated was the same floor plan, though with a few modifications to interior walls downstairs. It was interesting to see the different ways people decorated the same space.
Our house was second in line, and we didn't have any Christmas decorations up. Most of our neighbors had their outside stuff and their trees already - we're always later, because the season is too soon and too much for us, anyway. And the cats get in the tree, and we have to stand guard over it, so it doesn't go up until pretty late or we'll be worn out before we get to Christmas.
So for decoration I took advantage of our latest blooming pincushion mums, some pine branches, and sage branches, and added some red yarn bows to make it look a bit more seasonal. These were on either side of the bay window that dominates our living room (it's mostly windows). I love that this combination of Christmas and chrysanthemums is possible here - it encapsulates what I love about our climate. We also added some red Christmas table cloths in the kitchen, and another of these wall vase bouquets in there, and called it enough.
It was a nice way to start the holiday season at home, and it was great to catch up with the neighbors. I tried to play to lose $40 at poker, but ended up a dollar ahead, instead.
And now it's the 21st and we still don't have our own tree up. We'll do it tomorrow.