Does anyone else still have a Christmas tree up? We do, as we slow roll right into Valentine’s Day. And we’ve decided not only are we OK with that, we may as well just embrace it. Tree hugging in celebration of Valentine’s Day. It’s where we are.
If you’ve got no time for long stories, I feel you. Just scroll right down, and you’ll find the fun love things to click on, all the little home things that really did steal my heart. If you have the time, mental and emotional space, here’s how we got to a LOVE tree:
We packed the box for the tree, and the bins in which the ornaments are stored on the one slab of basement, way back in the corner, that wasn’t being dug out, structurally reinforced, poured with a new cement slab, framed and finished. In November. We are a giant dirt and saw-dusty mess of construction around here. We squished all kinds of stuff in that spot, covered it in blankets, wrapped it in plastic, and then construction-work-boxed ourselves right out of there. No access. And so our tree is still up. Indefinitely. Because where are we going to put it if we take it down?
And anyone whose ever done this dig-out-and-refinish-a-city-house basement thing knows I’m totally kidding myself that all that stuff won’t have dust and dirt all over it that will require hours of meticulous cleaning, just as soon as the frost thaws, and we can actually use the outdoor hose. See how much fun there is to look forward to this spring? It’ll be June when that tree comes down, that stuff gets post-construction cleaned, and we put everything away, finally. True story. And then it’ll only be less than half a year until we need it again, so I ask you, is taking down and storing the tree time well spent in 2019? I’m at a strong no.
We’re embracing that, and just adding all kinds of homemade hearts to it, and calling it a LOVE tree. Because it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. And Grace, my crafty 6-yearold loves nothing more than cutting heart shapes out of everything she can get her hands on, writing love notes, and working with a whole puncher. So we may as well give into Grace’s whims, and the non-denominational, Hallmark Holiday, fake tree’s presence. For this month we’ll call it a Valentine Love Tree and a WIN. I’m not sure how “Chic” that is. But it’s where we are. Love it or not.
You know why I especially love that that tree isn’t going anywhere? Sister love. That’s why. I always hesitate a little to talk about divorce and shared custody, and all things that suck along those lines. If there are moments of joy in any of it, among them are the ones when my sister loves, who can most relate, keep me whole at my lowest possible personal moments.
I had a 14-foot fake Christmas tree that we’ll call a metaphor for all that failed in my marriage, leftover from said failed marriage, that I ‘won’ in divorce. It went into storage when the kids and I went into our most recent temporary housing situation for this renovation. Transition is a concept that my seemingly well-adjusted, arguably privileged, shared custody, we-live-in-2-homes +, kids are all-too familiar with. Cecilia wanted that tree up in this new house, for the Christmas that she wasn’t even going to be here for, in large part, probably, because Santa only comes to Mommy’s house. Don’t get me started. It was incredibly important to my little sentimentalist. And I love her.
The ceilings in this house are 9’6″. Which is not 14 feet for those of you who also love math. We drove out to storage, wrestled the fake tree that I hate but she loves into the car, unboxed it to find more mouse droppings than are even imaginable from said storage time, schlepped it in, organized the pieces of giant, lights-broken tree, and attempted to make it fit. It did not. There were tears, frustration, and time wasted. By we, I mean me and a big ladder. I was a puddle of sweaty, dirty, frustrated mom fail on the floor. And then Kari walked in. She immediately declared reality and reasonableness and laughter and helped me schlep that awful broken, tired and entirely not recyclable waste to the trash pile. And then we went to Home Depot and spent the least amount of money possible on the biggest most appropriately sized, pre-lit, working tree available at that moment within 10 miles, brought it home and assembled it. We laughed and we cried. Together. Full-well-knowing that the new tree wouldn’t be exactly what C wanted, but that it was in fact what was happening. It was the one thing both of us checked off our to do lists for the day, but see how there are like 100 things in that 1 thing?
I don’t know if you are divorced. I don’t know if you spend every other holiday without your kids. I don’t know if you are OK with that or not. I don’t know how much holidays mean to you nor how much alone time is enough to freak you out nor whether your heart is only whole when your babies are home. I don’t know how you handle the stress of transitions, change, temporary living, and life not being exactly what you worked for and/or planned etc., Or, if maybe you aren’t divorced, but you grew up in a divorced home or two or three, and can also relate to this particular type of hot mess. I do know this: I wouldn’t be standing, in general, without the sisters that love me: holding me up, piecing me together, and making me light up just for the sake of it. Every. Day. Nor would that tree. So see, it actually started out as a LOVE tree. And a beautiful metaphor for all that’s perfectly imperfect and well-lit and loved in this messy thing called life, for which we’re lucky, regardless, and which makes us appreciate our sisters, and the love and care and time they share with us. And we’re just going to keep rolling with those feel good feelings. Because what’s the alternative, really? Puddles. That’s the alternative. Not at all pretty puddles. We choose hugs and love trees over puddles every day.
Chic, Fun Valentine’s Day Decor For Home
OK, back to light and fluffy. Looking for some fun, actually chic ways to bring more LOVE into your home? Things you won’t mind seeing year round and never need to store, but especially love for the next holiday celebration sneaking up on us? Things that require no tree? Or even a few gifts for your sister friends that keep you whole? Try these fun finds for Valentine’s Day and Everyday LOVE at home:
1/ Ceramic Heart Trinket & Jewelry Dish: I have a thing for little dishes like this. My jewelry is actually all in many such dishes in a shallow, wide drawer, it’s like a little secret pocket of installation art that makes me smile. These are also great by the kitchen sink, bed, or in the bathroom, or anywhere else you might need to temporarily rest rings and other small things.
2/ Bee Raw Wildflower Honey Flight: Hey there, Honey! What a sweet little yummy gift!
3/ Love Is Love Candle: Love is Love. Isn’t it though? And is there ever a candle that doesn’t spark a little love, warmth and joy in our lives?
4/ Stone Heart Soap Dish: Ooo…I really love this one. And all the fun soaps that smell good too! But I’d also leave it on the counter with some nuts and chocolates for a little pick me up.
5/ Brass Love Object: This sits on a shelf, year ’round, and looks beautiful. It’s a nice reminder and simply gorgeous!
6/ “Loves Saves the Day” by Wayne Pate: Screen print on paper, framed. 17″ x 20″ from a great Brooklyn, artist named Wayne Pate. It’s fun-sophisticated.
7/ Honey & Aloe Heart Soap: Yum. These would be hard not to eat and smell good doing their job when not just sitting looking so pretty!
8/ Love Dish Towel: I love dish towels that make kitchen work more fun! I also use them as napkins and set tables in fun ways with them. This one is extra sweet for sure!
9/ Mini Capri Seastone Jar Candle: Subtle message on the lid, really pretty jar. What’s not to love?
10/ Heart Doormat: Easiest way to switch out home decor for holidays without going all out = fresh fun doormats.
11/ Louise Gray Quilt No. 1: Minneapolis, MN-based Louise Gray quilt-makers use traditional techniques to create their modern, geometric quilts. Local artisans handcraft each quilt from 100% cotton. Amazing both displayed on a wall with a quilt hanger or layered on a bed. Wouldn’t it be great to hang them side by side on a wall, or to layer them on two twin beds in the same room? XO forever.
12/ Louise Gray Little Quilt No. 2: The partner to above. Not sure which I love more. Both. Together. I like them best as a set. XO.
13/ Heart Sparkler: Make Valentine’s breakfast or dinner more fun with these little sparklers. They spark joy. Easily.
14/ Love Pillow: Iconic, quilted, colorful fun with LOVE.
15/ Olive You Book: Show a little love every day with this cute illustrated book, packed with cheeky puns and dreamy quotes. Who doesn’t need a little love inspiration every day?
16/ ABC Love Book: Children’s books are especially special to me when they send loving messages with great art!
17/ Love Wall Art: Something about the subtlety and stripe of this just make me so happy in a nice, calm, but super-fun way!
18/ ASOS Maison Scotch Breton Stripe Long Sleeved T-Shirt: Love ASOS. Love a stripe. And love wearing my heart right where it belongs. And so, so, so LOVE the little “Eat your Heart Out” graphic.
19/ Regina Andrew Design Tic Tac Toe Game: It just never gets old Tic-Tac-Toe. Leave it out all year long, just for little side games on a coffee table. And call it a V-Day at home celebration of all the Xs and Os.
20/ Timothy Goodman Print – People Love: Timothy Goodman, NYC, statement print, with all the words that matter. 17″w x 22″h. Wood frame in White. Printed on watercolor paper. Made in the USA. Love.
21/ Loves Neon White: Such a fun loving way to brighten up any wall!
22/ 16″ Loves You Faux Fur Pillow: Free Shipping. Gotta love that. 16″ Fur Pillow with Down-Alternative Insert. “Love one another,” it’s a good idea on a soft, fun pop art pillow.
23/ Marble + Wood Heart Serving Board: And the serving board is the piece, other than the quilts, that has my whole heart of this set.
24/ Love Sherpa Pillow Cover: I still love this one in all it’s sherpa and faux-leather iconic detailing!
Here’s to hugging the trees, and the loves in all our lives. xoxo, A