My holidays have become simpler over the years. One reason is because of changes in family life. But a lot of it is choice. I am now much more interested in quieter times with family and friends, more experiences and fewer gifts, and smaller gatherings.
But something I still must have during the holidays are lights. Because it's the darkest time of the year, nothing cheers me up more than lights . . . and lots of them. Candles of all sorts, Christmas tree lights, lights on mantels, and roping . . . they all count.
And the more the merrier. I love, love, love candles. Nothing makes a prettier dining table than lots of candles (particularly tea lights and votives) scattered throughout. And the more creative the holder, the better. Pretty glasses, small crystal bowls, and upside down wine stems all make excellent votive and tea light holders. Add flowers in reflective vases, some greens (maybe with lights), and you won't need the chandelier.
Outside lights in the front of the house are a given. Even though we are on a hill with lots of trees, the lights twinkle through the branches as the cars drive by. And what a treat for guests as they drive up the driveway and the lights come into full view. I also love luminarias lighting the walkway. But again, maybe not the traditional bags, but something a big different. Lanterns that decorate the porch in the summertime make beautiful luminarias in the wintertime. If there aren't enough for the walkway, then lighting the porch steps works almost as well.
And finally, I love outside lights that are designed to be seen inside. It's usually too cold to enjoy the porch in the winter, but I love lining it with lights that are clearly visible from the inside. And nothing beats lights on the boulders in the back of the yard. Or outlining the birdbath. Seeing these reminders of summer from my kitchen windows always brings a smile.
Which is why when January comes and the tree comes down, as well as the interior decorations, the lights in the backyard stay. I call them winter lights and they have made me happy on the darkest, coldest, snowiest days of January and February.
So this holiday season I am wishing for you a season of light - that lasts all through the winter!