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Holidays Home Decor

A Slower, More Mindful Holiday

A Slower, More Mindful Holiday

We put up the tree yesterday, after cutting it down at our favorite tree farm in Ohio. The boys helped decorate it, and I taught them the importance of wrapping the metal hook around the branch on live trees. I gave thanks that they handled the shatter-proof ornaments while I tended to the more delicate ones; I lost count as to how many they dropped or knocked off the tree when they didn’t wrap the hook just so.

I found a few more ornaments to hang up today, but didn’t quite get to placing them on the tree. I spent a majority of the day picking through boxes, setting decorations in various places, and moving them around the house. I still have a few pieces to put out tomorrow… or the next day.

Or whenever I get to it.

You see, I did no decorating on Friday, my usual decorating day, other than putting out our vintage ceramic Christmas trees. We visited with family, ate some more turkey, and enjoyed a lazy date night together. I did pull all the fall stuff down, but didn’t throw myself into a frenzied decorating spree. On Saturday, we attended a fun bowling birthday party, and then cut the tree. In addition to decorating the tree with the boys, I worked on putting a few other small pieces out, but I didn’t push myself.

This is new, this slower approach to getting the house—and the family—ready for Christmas.

Normally, I would turn the house upside down in one day, decking the halls at break-neck speed. In past years, I’ve ended up dizzy or sick because I forget to eat while I’m in the midst of decorating. I also get snippy and totally no fun, which makes for great holiday memories, let me tell you.

I’m not sure I came into this year with a conscious decision to do it differently, to slow down and let the process unfold at its own pace, but here we are. I try to approach some things in my life with a more mindful, slow approach nowadays, finding it better for my physical and mental health—and better for my family as a whole. While one of my sons presents the same Type A personality as I, the other half of the household presents a much more laid back attitude and my constant go-go-go sometimes rubs them the wrong way.

It’s also kind of exhausting to approach everything in life this way. I spent most of last year in a frenzy, and it still took me until the middle of this year to recognize and respect the need for change. I’ve slowed things down in many areas of my life, and the results seem positive for the lot of us. I still approach things as a Type A person, hitting deadlines and expecting too much of myself probably, but at a slower pace. One with a little more grace built in so I don’t constantly feel like I’m failing before I even start.

This slow down let me approach decorating a little more mindfully this year. I made piles as I unpacked the boxes: a pile for items I knew I’d use, a pile for items I thought I might sell since I knew I wouldn’t use them, and a pile for old, worn out decorations no one could or would want to use.

I mentioned this new approach to my husband as we stood in the middle of the living room last night.

“I like it,” he said. Before I could open my mouth to play it down, he continued, “I mean it.”

I know he did; he meant it on many levels. If it’s felt this nice to me to slow down and enjoy the process, I imagine it feels all the more lovely to not watch me spin myself into a tornado of Christmas, destroying the holiday joy of all in my path. I think maybe I’ll make this approach a new holiday tradition.

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Holidays Home Decor

How to Make a Wine Cork Christmas Tree

I originally started saving wine corks to make a shadow box of corks for our eventual basement bar renovation. Since that project won’t be started any time soon, I started thinking about making a wine cork heart to hang in the dining room.

However, the holiday spirit struck me one day and I decided to make a wine cork Christmas tree.

If you know me, you know that crafting isn’t my forte. However, this little Christmas tree is so easy to make even I didn’t screw it up. Too badly.

How to Make a Wine Cork Christmas Tree

How to Make a Wine Cork Christmas Tree

1. Drink all the wine. Darn the luck! (You can also buy the corks, but boring.)

2. Save all the corks. Of special note: The looks most uniform when you use the same brand (thus size and shape) cork. However, if you’re going for “real trees aren’t symmetrical,” different corks will work just fine. You’ll need more glue and a bit more patience.

3. Set up your station with newspaper, glue (I used Rubber Cement, more on that later), and your corks.

Making a Wine Cork Christmas Tree

Making a Wine Cork Christmas Tree

4. Turn on Christmas music.

5. Set up your bottom row and bookend them with two other corks. I went with eight on my bottom row as ten made the tree a little bigger than I wanted.

Making a Wine Cork Christmas Tree

6. Start gluing! Rubber Cement worked nicely since it has a brush. Just glop it all over, getting in between each cork.

7. Once you finish the bottom row, start moving up the tree, putting each cork in a grooved slot from the row below.

Making a Wine Cork Christmas Tree

8. Voila! Wine Cork… triangle?

Making a Wine Cork Christmas Tree

9. So add a stump! Important: If you don’t wait for your gluing agent to dry completely, once you add the stump and sit it upright, you’ll have some drooping and falling apart. And so, go with a hot glue gun. I don’t have one as I don’t really craft. I should get one just for cork projects. Rubber Cement takes forever to fully dry, so you’ll need to let it dry flat instead of standing it up for about two days. Eventually it does dry even if you use Rubber Cement, but be patient with it.

10. Tada! Wine Cork Christmas Tree!

Making a Wine Cork Christmas Tree

Initially I planned on painting and/or using Sharpies to color the tree green, the stump brown, the top circle yellow for a star, and a few red ornaments. But I decided I liked the plain cork-iness of this tree. If I make another one in the future (think of it: a whole wine cork forest), I may paint that one.

I placed the wine cork Christmas tree next to the ceramic trees from our grandmothers and the nativity set gifted to me last year by my mother—because what says Jesus more than wine, right? (Water into wine. Wine corks into a Christmas tree. Get it? Perfect.)

How to Make a Wine Cork Christmas Tree

How to Make a Wine Cork Christmas Tree

These also make great gifts for your favorite wine drinker.

Merry Wine Drinking Christmas!