Thursday, December 19, 2013

Oh, Christmas Tree

I'm back!  It wasn't planned but apparently I needed to step away from the blog.
My post planner has been screaming at me for over week, but I use post-it notes for my planned post
and they all just took a little march forward in the calendar so that I could take a breather.
I love this blog, but sometimes you just need a break, AmIright?
 Now I'm back to squeeze in a few more posts before Christmas.

This is my second Christmas since we moved and I was a bit nervous about the whole month of December.
I had a bit of a wobble over Thanksgiving with a bout of the Expat Holiday Blues.
But, I've recovered quite nicely.  (Thank you for your sweet comments.)

I told Matthew the other day that I've discovered the key to getting through Christmas
when you are far from family and friends.
Lowered Expectations!

I say that with tongue in cheek, but there is some wisdom in there.

Last year I was desperately grasping for the perfect London Christmas.
I ordered a big honkin' Christmas tree but after opening just a few boxes of ornaments
I couldn't get any further.  That massive bare Christmas tree sat there all Christmas taunting me.

So, this year I decided to go a little easier on myself.  No expectations of the perfect London Christmas. 
Just play it all by ear and proceed cautiously.  And I have to say, it's going well.

And we have the cutest Christmas Tree ever.


Christmas Trees

On a chilly Sunday afternoon, we were both feeling a bit "meh."
"Want to go get a tree?"  "I don't care.  Do you?"

We decided to just get it done and headed over to Greenwich Park to pick up a tree.
I immediately spotted a perfectly shaped four foot spruce and decided that was the one.
They wrapped it up, we put in in the back seat and were home in thirty minutes.
No drama and we were both starting to perk up.

Christmas Trees

Christmas Trees

Christmas Trees

We weren't really sure if we would decorate it right away but the tree shopping seemed to perk us both up.
We put on Christmas Vacation which always makes me laugh like crazy.
Matt quickly got to work stringing the lights and I started getting out the ornaments.

Christmas Trees

I love ornaments.  I've been collecting them for years and each one holds a special memory.
I keep a basket on the bookshelf and we fill it up as we travel.
So, we started with our 2013 collection remembering all of the great trips we've taken this year. 

Christmas Trees

Christmas Trees

Christmas Trees

Christmas Trees

Then I started opening the boxes containing the ornaments from previous years.
My ornament collection was one thing that I insisted that we bring with us when we moved.
And I'm so proud.  I was able to open every single box this year and it made me so happy.
So many wonderful memories going all the way back to when I was a little girl.

And it felt so good to put Jessica's ornaments on the tree.
Even though we can't be together for Christmas, this is a family tree and she is a huge part of it.

Christmas Trees

In fact, there were so many ornaments that they all don't fit on our cute little tree.
I just put the overflow into bowls and baskets on the coffee table.
I wanted to have them all out this year to remind me of so many blessings.


 I love our little tree and the first thing I do in the morning is to turn on those lights.
There is just something about a real tree.

Christmas Trees

Last year I shared some tips for getting through the holidays far from home.
They really are helping me get through this year.
And I've added one more tip... lower your expectations.
But, in a good way.


What are your tips for getting through the holidays far from loved ones?




34 comments:

  1. That tree looks wonderful and I love how you have been collecting ornaments all year, and starting with them I am sure made the transition easier!

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  2. It looks fab!! Love your extensive bauble collection!!

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  3. Love the idea of collecting ornaments when you travel! I need to start doing that too :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Merry Christmas Selena, I hope you guys have a wonderful time together - and I love your ornaments and your tree! So glad we met this year :) x

    ReplyDelete
  5. You have a Jameson ornament! I love you guys! :o)


    Merry Christmas, Selena! I hope this one will be much better than last year's. I think you're onto something there with the lower expectations. Everyone tends to build this holiday up so much that it's nearly impossible for it to turn out the way we pictured it in our heads!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I certainly missed your blog posts...glad you're back! That phrase - "Lowered Expectations" - has really been the key to staying happy here. It is easy to get depressed when things aren't as you expect or as you're used to in America. Keeping the LE attitude makes good experiences like an added bonus. Anyway, I also love how you put the ornaments in bowls. And great idea to put the ornaments you buy through your travels in a basket throughout the year. :)

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  7. Great tree! I love your collection of ornaments from your travels. It is a fun way to think back on those memories. I'll have to steal that idea!

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  8. I love your tree! So cheery and colourful. I think collecting ornaments is such a great idea. I am a bit disappointed with our tree this year and really missed putting my family tree up.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks so much, Abby. I can't resist cute ornaments. 

    ReplyDelete
  10. It's hard, isn't it? I'm sorry your feeling a bit down, Sammy. We get through the holidays with a smile, but there is just something missing. I guess that's what makes family so special. xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  11. I highly recommend it! I love looking back on our collection each year. I try not to get really christmasy stuff, but things that will really remind me of the place. If I can't find an ornament I can usually find keychain or handicraft that will hang on a tree perfectly. 

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks, Meredith! It makes me very happy :D

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks, Tanya! I laughed when I told him, but it really is true. I might sometimes build things up too much in my head ;) But, when I relax and ride the waves, things so much better! xoxo

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  14. I was a little concerned when I noticed just how many boozy ornaments I have! :D Merry Christmas to you and yours, Sarah. I hope to see you again in the new year!! xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  15. Merry Christmas, Andrea!!! I count meeting you as one of this past year's blessings. I hope we can meet up again soon!! xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  16. You definitely should! It's a fun way to hold onto travel memories. We always remember places as we get them all out. 

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thanks, Jaklien! I love that word... bauble. :D

    ReplyDelete
  18. You are so right, Bailie. It helped me to focus on seeing what each ornament represents. So many wonderful memories. Merry Christmas!! xoxo

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