A Christmas Centerpiece
The festive time of the year is fast aproaching, and as November draws to an end, we start looking forward to decorating our homes with the warmth and flare of Christmas. The shops already showcase their decorated windows, full of seasonal thematics, lavishly decorated pine trees, garlands, gold and silver accents, lots of reds, tons of greens, and the lights! oh the lights!
As I believe I've mentioned, Christmas to me is all about celebrating the hearth, the warmth and the light it brings. It is the start of the coldest season, and the darkest one, where days are short and nights are long, and the skies are grey and ladden with clouds, the sun hidden behind them, casting hazy glows upon the earth. I think nature is very wise, in its turn, in its seasons, and Winter is the time for rest, for appreciating one's home, for nesting - as much as I detest that word. It is a time to slow down and gather our thoughts, it is a time to cast our minds on the year that is about to end, it is a time to replenish our bodies - and that is why there is a traditional profusion of sweets and hardier foods at this time of the year, our bodies need it, they need the fuel - and enjoy the inside. So Christmas to me is all about setting a scenery of warmth, of hazy lightings, of deep reds and dark greens, a time for comfort, for finding comfort within ourselves and hour homes. It is a time to cozy up with blankets and warm teas, carrols sounding in the background, good books at hand's reach, candles lit around the house to make up for the loss of light.
Next weekend I will put up my Christmas tree, and my Christmas village will be making its annual appearance, my house will be fully decked with Christmas colours, and joy, and I will probably go over the top, making it feel as if one's just entered Santa's toy store or something of the kind. I do not mind, that is the way I like it, and even before having a child who goes wide eyed at all these shennanigans, who lives this season intensely as only children do, I enjoyed having my home be a haven of fantasy when Christmas came round.
I hardly ever have a centerpiece this big on my table, as my husband usually has his laptop on it when he needs to work at home - he's a teacher, and they don't get to leave work at school, not at his school at least! - and he does need the space. I usually have a cast iron bowl with pot pourri and seasonal details inside, and that's my centerpiece, something that is small enough that he can just pull it aside when he needs the table, and that I can pull back to the center when he's done, something that does not fill the whole table.
So this big red platter is usually sitting on my sideboard, with my wooden carved balls, and I change the look of it acording to seasons, but this year I really wanted it to look part of the decor, as during Christmas I usually just throw a beaded garland into it and leave it at that. Not this year, I really wanted something gloriously seasonal, but at the same time, simple, achievable and low profile enough that when I'm not using it as a center piece, I can put it back on the sideboard next to my Christmas village, and it won't compete with it, it will enhance and complement it.
And this is quite easy to make, with things one may have around the house and what nature provides. I had these tiny pots that came with seeds for growing herbs at home, but as we had other bigger pots, we did not use them. So a couple of years ago I painted three of them - having given the last one to our son, for him to paint, as he likes to tag along whenever I am doing arts and crafts projects - in gold, silver and red. They used to sit on my desk all year long, unused but for holding bits and pieces. And then a sudden idea hit my mind for a Christmas and Winter centerpiece, as I plan to leave this one on after the holidays, as it will look wintery and homely.
So I took some pine cones from my Autumn display and I painted the tips of them, according to the colours on the vases: for the silver vase I painted the pine cone in silver, for the gold vase I used gold paint and for the red one, I decided to go differently and painted the tips of the pine cone in white, to look as if it was snowed over. Then I added some tea candles in red and white to pull it all together and make it warm, and there it is, I guess this is as easy as easy can be, but it will add a sense of warmth and comfort to the house when it is dark, and it will complement the rest of the decor.