As I was relaxing, he was flying from room to room in the condo madly cleaning. He was clearly stressed out, and taking it out by cleaning, but I didn't know why.
The Lawyer's mother is visiting us this week, and in the spirit of Christmas festiveness, we have been trying to get his condo ready for her. We spent the weekend yanking out the Christmas ornaments from storage, wrapping the presents that we already have, and buying a tree (Sorry it's not a more elegant story, but we just went to Home Depot and bought one. Besides, it's like 70 degrees here, cutting one down in the wilds of Maryland somewhere wouldn't even feel Christmasy).
As I was eating dinner in front of the TV last night, he was very purposefully cleaning around me. Boxes were being thrown away, clothes folded and put away, and the wrapping paper rolls corralled together with a wire tie.
We all have our moments when we just feel like our surroundings are...too much...and as The Lawyer later told me, the explosion of Christmas was overwhelming him.
Now, I love being festive as much as the next person, but the last thing that I want him to feel when he gets home is stressed out. We're from South Florida, after all, where tacky and overdone are the names of the game. As he likes to so eloquently put it, many people's houses in our town look like "Christmas threw up" and the barrage of unsorted decor felt a little too close for comfort.
So, in the spirit of transforming his condo into a beautifully decorated, but not overdone, Christmas home, this is what I came up with today.
First of all, we got a tiny tree. His condo is big enough for a full sized tree, but we're going to be in Florida for Christmas, so it seems like a bit of a waste to buy a tree that's going to be dead when we get back. For $14.99, including Christmas stand, this little gem was just the perfect size for the living room corner.
Most of the ornaments on the tree are from his mom--they're his childhood milestone ornaments, as well as some college-themed ones, and handmade ones. In addition to these ornaments, my mother gifted us a huge box of traditionally colored spheres, of all different sizes, that she bought on post-Christmas clearance last year.
We did hang a few of these on the tree, but used most of them for other decorations throughout the condo. Behold!
Hanging on the light fixture in the kitchen pass-through window
Inexpensive basket from Target on the coffee table
Hanging on the curtains in the dining room
Floral vases, being guarded by a Nutcracker, on the TV stand
For this, I bought a wicker wreath frame at the dollar store, then used 26 gauge (really thin) craft wire to tie the branches down to the wicker. You could also trim the edges for a neater appearance, but I liked the big, wild branches. The wire ribbon and one bunch of red berries, cut into separate pieces, were $1 each as well.
Next, I filled a large floor pot in The Lawyer's sun room with tree trimmings. Usually, it holds some early 90's style artificial reeds and things. It was an inheritance from that fool, Rich's apartment, and truth be told, I only kept it out of spite. The Lawyer specifically asked if we could dump Rich's old reed crap out and put in some fresh branches.
Ask and ye shall receive:
Finally, I decided to make a wreath ball of sorts.
I don't know what the proper name of this thing is, but I saw them at Home Depot and thought, "Dude, I could so make one of those." I bought a square piece of floral foam (again, at the dollar store) and just cut the branch into small pieces, which I poked into the foam core. I also bought a sprig of gold pinecones and white berries, $1 each, and cut them up and stuck them in.
Finally, I pushed a screw into the top of the ball and wrapped some of my 26 gauge wire around it. Making a string out of the wire, I tied it to the ironwork in The Lawyer's sunroom.
Total cost for Christmas decorations: $45
Tree: $15 (Home Depot)
Tree skirt: $1 (dollar store)
Ornaments: Free! (gifted from both sets of parents)
Display vases for ornaments: Free! (already owned)
Basket for ornaments: $5 (Target)
Wreaths: $6 (Trader Joe's) + $3 (handmade)
Wreath ball thingie: $4 (handmade)
Tree trimmings in a pot: Free!
Poinsettia on dining table: $5 (Don't know from where...The Lawyer bought it.)
Lights: $6 (two sets, $3 each, Lowe's)
So, there you have it. An entire condo's worth of Christmas decorations for under $50. Plus, I hope The Lawyer can feel calm, relaxed, and festive while his mom is here, instead of like he's wading through a parade of Christmas crap.
EDIT: The Lawyer came home as I was finishing this post, and LOVES everything! Yay!