Though I have disciplined myself to (when it comes to many aspects of the holiday) hold off until after the solemn observance of Remembrance Day, the shopping is usually well under way by November.
And the rest, of course, follows soon after.
It is to me, such a beautiful celebration, from its message and music, to its food and adornments, that it seems a shame to not get a good start on all of it. And I really do love to decorate for this festive season. A project that began with a tree in a cozy corner and a few garlands over doorways in my first year of marriage, has grown to encompass most of the house. There's something about the twinkling lights, the holly, the greenery and candles that makes a home so warm.
Now my den is dedicated to snowmen, while a variety of Santas hold their place of honour in the living room. Both of these come together in the kitchen and bathroom, with a few favourites hanging out in the hallways. Welcoming guests as they enter my front door is an adorable elf. Finally, this year too, a long-awaited renovation has given me the 'cardinal' room, an homage to my late parents.
These decorations, to my mind, create a welcoming atmosphere in my home. Yet what appeals most to me are the garlands with strings of light that adorn the top of the hutch, kitchen and down the staircase.
After a long day, my guy and I enjoy nothing more than to be greeted by the tree lights as we make our way up the street towards home. Set to a timer they are the perfect welcome as we transition from work mode to our time.
Often I have tried to capture the beauty of Christmas lights in a photograph, but it never quite lives up to the reality. Over the years I have been helped by some expert advice and continue to work towards a perfect photo memory we can draw on some winter night to brighten the cold dark season. If only for a brief moment.
If you too have struggled to get a picture of your Christmas tree or of sparkling lights throughout your house during the holidays here are some helpful hints:
Lightstalking shares some helpful tips on how to capture the magic of a beautifully sparkling Christmas tree.
Picture Correct takes it outside with these great tips for photographing Christmas lights.
wikiHow tackles the tricky obstacles one can face in getting great Christmas light photographs.
Shooting Christmas lights with your DSLR advice from the New York Institute of Photography.
Digital Photography School offers advice and examples to ramp up your bokeh Christmas light photography skills.