Woodland Winter Mantel..and NFL Fooball

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Sometimes, decorating for Christmas in a house full of men has it's challenges...like when they question why I'm doing it at all. Especially when I'm doing it on Sunday afternoon...in the middle of a football game.

The groaning and complaints about ladders blocking the television and vacuuming drowning out the sound  got me thinking....

I have come to the conclusion that my decorating for Christmas is the holiday equivalent of a Sunday afternoon of NFL Football. Yep. They're the same.

Here's my view: I've decided that it probably doesn't matter if your favorite team is playing or not.  It also may not matter who wins. It's about the enjoyment factor that comes from watching virtually every team in the NFL pair off and play for most of the day on Sunday and often, Monday night.

I apply that same principle to decorating:  One part of my holiday enjoyment factor involves decorating. In my opinion, garland, tiny white lights and glitter are as much a part of  Christmas decorating as stereo surround and big screen television are to the Sunday afternoon NFL experience.

It doesn't matter that the fireplace in our living room has literally, never been lit...in the almost ten years that we've lived here. Nor does it matter that I'm rarely in the room except to listen to my sons play the piano and occasionally, to chase the dust bunnies around with a cloth and the vacuum.

What matters is that my holiday enjoyment factor  is raised by having the room decorated. Admittedly, tackling the living room mantel (yeah, I know...bad football reference, I have no defense) wasn't high on my list of Christmas decorating priorities this year.

I've been meaning to get gas logs installed (for the last 9 years) so that, on those rare occasions when I sit still for a couple of songs, I could have a five minute fire and then turn it off like I turn off the lights, ten minutes later.

Nice thought...Isn't it?

Not gonna happen...at least not this year.

So I had to figure out a way to block (sorry..football again)  the huge, ugly opening with the unattractive grate and gas pipe in it while spending an amount of money that is commensurate with the amount of time that I spend in the room which I figure should be around$60. I don't know for certain but I'm guessing that this is less than the cost of two tickets to sit in  really bad seats, in a cold stadium, with no food or drinks, watching football for an afternoon. Right!?

With that in mind, here's how I got the look for less than the cost of two tickets to the Packer/Bear game this Sunday: 
Already on hand:
  • concrete urn from the front porch
  • lanterns
  • birch logs (you could use ANY kind of logs or sticks)
  • pine cones (some painted, some glittered, some plain)
  • quilt batting or faux "snow blanket"
  • birch covered candles
  • brown stick lights
  • 10 year old Costco garland
  • dark gray mat board
  • dried hydrangea from my garden
  • silver ornaments purchased last year from Target at 80% off ($1.77 for a box of  40 ornaments)
Purchased this year:
  • Mixed greens (you could cut these from evergreens in your yard if you have some. I'm not that lucky). $9
  • Black and white enlargement of a photo that I took of the angel in my garden (Kinkos) $6
  • One length of pre-lit frosted garland $20
  • Two frosted "picks" for the sconces $20

I covered the mantel and the hearth with "snow".  For the hearth, I filled my outdoor urn with fresh greens, pine cones and stick lights. Added a length of pre-lit garland, lanterns and a stack of birch logs. For the mantel, I used a length of frosted pre-lit garland filled with dried hydrangea, silver plastic balls and pine cones; I scattered and stacked birch logs of different heights and pine cones on top of the "snow", covered the existing picture with a photocopy enlargement of a black and white photo which I took and added boughs to the sconces.

According to my calculations, this means that I have about $5 left over from my budget.

Hey, maybe I'll get a nice bowl of mints for the table...

You know...the holiday decorating equivalent of a Sunday afternoon bag of nachos and a jar of salsa. 


Linking to:
Cherished Bliss
Embracing Change
Finding Silver Pennies