I didn't join in Jen's Holiday Tour this year --I thought I'd sit and enjoy it for a year before participating. However, I have taken some photos of our decorations, so here they are.
The tree is in the living room. Our living room is different, in that it has two doors side by side. So, while the tree is in front of one door, we still have a door that goes out to the front porch. We've often wondered if the house was owned by Shakers at some point (it was built in 1845, so it's old for the area).
We use an untrimmed blue spruce each year, because in addition to lights, we put real candles on the tree. We light them in the evenings when we sing Christmas carols in the days leading up to Christmas. This is a tradition I've carried on from my mother's youth in Germany. The blue spruce is fresh, with strong branches, so the candles are perfectly safe. In fact, with a fresh tree, you'd have to work pretty hard to set it on fire. :-)
A picture of the few presents that are currently under the tree. We put most of them out on Christmas Eve, after Emma has gone to bed.
Emma and Rob have created masterpieces of cut-paper snowflakes, and I've been sewing gift bags to try to keep our wrapping paper to a minimum. Each year we increase our stash of bags.
This is the hutch, in the dining area of the kitchen, with a strand of wooden stars purchased at our local fair trade store, Just Goods. I love this decoration, and I'm really tempted to leave it up year round.
And here is the mantel, with our stockings and some Christmas decorations. We're not Christian, but Rob and I were both brought up in Christian denominations. Our spirituality is firmly grounded in nature, and we celebrate Christmas as the time of the winter solstice, and include many of the traditions of our childhoods.
This is one of my favorite mantel decorations, a decorated spice ball. I've had it for years now, and it still smells absolutely wonderful each year when I take it out.