Good morning ladies and gents.
I hope Halloween treated you well! As we continue to usher in winter, it’s only fitting that we discuss a few projects that have kept me busy the past few weeks.
It’s already snowed here…
I consider Thanksgiving a time when you get to enjoy the company of your family and recharge for the new year. I also consider it a time to go crazy with tinsel and lights. Because Thanksgiving is so late this year and I am generally impatient, I have already decked my halls. I consider my style to be very mid-century pure. In most cases, I only like to use the pieces that have survived since that time. Occasionally, I will find a modern piece that I feel I can incorporate into my home seamlessly, but not often. I have modern dishes and silverware, but have a couple sets to satisfy my vintage desire. Anyhoo, when it comes to decorating for any holiday, I try to follow the same trend.
So, as I was setting up my Christmas tree recently, I put all the branches into place, gently “fluffed” each stem to what I feel was perfection. (I can get pretty focused on this aspect!) Once all the lights were in place I light the tree to make sure that it was just right. To make a long story even longer, I only use C7 light bulbs. I have occasionally used different bulbs in the past, like bubble lights, but only choosing sets that are period specific. I was gifted a beautiful tree topper this year and decided to add that to the tree. Three minutes later I realized that that new tree topper got super hot. Older light bulbs have a ceramic finish while modern bulbs have painted glass surface. Modern bulbs do not reach the temperatures that old bulbs do. I cannot be for certain if scientifically the older bulbs and their ceramic glazes trap the heat, but from my five minute experiment, they certainly can cook. The point of my ramblings? Choose bulbs that have modern features like fuses and UL approval. Every year you hear in the news about homes that suffer damage due to wiring. Sure, new wiring can have problems too, but older light sets are just too risky. Leave one of those older C6, C7, or C9 bulbs on a dried out tree for too long and you’re asking for problems. (What happened with my tree topper? Well, I re-wired it and use it on the tree unplugged.) One option for lighting is always LED lights. These smaller lights come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. My concern with them is that they are relatively new to the market. They are being sold as having a longer life than traditional lamps. However, they haven’t been around long enough yet for me to see it first hand. I have read online many stories of people who invest in these sets to only have them die out faster than their older sets. Sure there may always be a few “bad apples” so I suppose we shouldn’t let those spoil the bunch.
A vintage candle holder. These can easily be replicated with glitter and a vase. Save some money!
Ornaments and Indoor Kitsch:
Christmas ornaments are slowing becoming one of my favorite pieces to my holiday season. Oh, who am I kidding… they have always been my favorite. They hang from the tree and glisten in the reflection of the sun or the holiday lights. Styles always ebb and flow, but in the past few years I have seen a crazy amount of glass ornaments in mid-century styles. If you want to avoid the eBay or Etsy prices for vintage ornaments, buy new! The nice this about buying new too is that if they break you won’t feel a deep sense of guilt. When I break something old, I feel as if I am single-handedly destroying the history of the United States. (I shattered a Chalkware wall plaque last summer. Not a good memory!)
I always put up holiday decorations before the season starts. I refuse to be that person on the block who turns them on before Thanksgiving or that person who leaves them on their house the whole year, but I also refuse to freeze off my fingers just to put lights up right before Christmas. Start early. You can check the wiring to make sure that there are no issues with the light sets or the decorations you choose. I also rarely put vintage pieces outside of my home. With where I live, the winds and crazy weather would ruin just about any decoration in one season. Again, look for vintage-style with modern pieces. They are often built with new technology that will add to UV resistance, color retention from the elements, etc.
I am vintage to my core. However, there are times when vintage just doesn’t work and is not safe. Choose your decorations wisely and go with it 110%. I read recently that “vintage” was not a style. Anything can be a style if you commit to it. Enjoy your life and the pieces you surround yourself with! … and start decorating now so I am not the only one.