Twenty-five bucks. That's what I spent on garland and greenery this year. I cut the garland in two, joined the pieces in symmetrical fashion, then hung the joined parts up with wire and existing screws. Eight green ornaments I had bought last year after Christmas found their place, along with gilt pinecones and green ribbon which were in storage in the basement (a precious resource in a Manhattan apartment). The whole affair must have taken me less than twenty minutes from start to end. No glam or riot of color. Just green and gold.
Yes, those are jingle bells on the mantel. I had bought a lamp base at the flea market about five years ago, and the vendor threw them in when I remarked that I liked them. Lucky me! My father had a long set that hung behind a door during the holidays, so you might say my modest circlet is an homage to him.
All the other ornaments I have used in past years—pink, purple and an assorted miss-mash—are having a nice rest. You know how it is: you put things away, then take them out a year or two later and discover them anew. There is no tree this year, unlike last year when I put up a tabletop affair. It was lovely, but hey—the apartment is not as big as my ambition. However, there is greenery over picture frames and the armoire, so we're covered—literally.
Sorry I can't give you the fragrance of the pine. It's really quite wonderful: soft, bracing and energizing.
While I was putting everything up in the early afternoon (note the time on my mother's Seth Thomas clock), I realized Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue was having Evensong at 4 pm, so jumped on a Citibike and arrived with time to spare.
Lovely service. Good music. Christmas.