If it isn’t obvious at this point, I’m a little obsessive over my bar cart.
It changes with the seasons and always has some sort of festive on it.
But you’re also not allowed to touch it. Everything is placed carefully and the actual usable barware lives in the kitchen cabinets.
I’ve been totally in love with the more Scandinavian style of simplistic white and natural greenery holiday style this year, and my bar cart reflects this.
Christmas to me means feeling merry.
Merry and bright.
My mom always began the Christmas season with Bing Crosby or The Anderson Sisters. She’d place the CD in the sound system and the whole house would suddenly light up. Then, we were off to get our tree.
When we were younger, there were many years my dad thought cutting down a tree from the forest would be the best option. Turns out you need a permit for that, and knee deep snow with two kids and a meandering dog in tow made for a not so magical experience. So, instead, we found ‘our’ tree farm.
Christmas in Washington is a whole different game compared to Christmas in Tennessee. Tree farms in Washington literally have their trees growing in the ground and send you out to hunt trees to your heart’s desire. You bring a saw and when you find that perfect tree, you get to work.
My mom loves the sparse trees. They’re tall and thin, and in many ways mimic her frame. She always said they gave more room for our copious ornaments to hang. So, we’d grab our spindly tree, have the loose pines shaken off, and watch as it was tied up like a Thanksgiving turkey, to finally get plopped onto the ski racks of our sensible Toyota.The tree farm magic didn’t end there though.
While mom and dad were paying in the barn we’d enjoy all the oddities they had splayed out. The orange cat would tromp her way through the barn, on her way to the glowing space heater, and we’d help ourself to the treats. Lukewarm popcorn, candy canes and hot chocolate sat out to round out the tree experience. It all smelled like safety and joy in those simple years.The ornaments on our tree told a story. A new ornament was added with each passing year, with very few matching and no theme to go by. We’d take a trip to Molbak’s, a garden center an hour from our house. They had the most delicious pink cookies, the original Seattle kind, and had an odd bird sanctuary inside that always drew big smiles from us as kids.Some years, we’d go there to see Santa.
He was the classiest of all the ‘mall’ Santa’s and generally didn’t leave you feeling like you barely escaped kidnapping to the North Pole. We’d take our picture dressed in matching velvet. Puffy 90’s headband and dress for me, and velvet pants and plaid flannel for the brother. We were the greatest Pacific Northwest picture ever.If we were good, and listened to mom and dad we’d get to pick out an ornament. Molbak’s had room after room, filled top full with the most elaborate ornaments. You could be easily convinced you’d been transported to Santa’s home if you didn’t know better. Most years I chose something obnoxious and covered in glitter.
Pink satin toe shoes the year I saw the Nutcracker for the first time. I wanted to be just like them. But my lack of grace and coordination made sure those tiny pink shoes on the tree would be the only pair I’d ever own.A clip on bird with giant plumes another year, and a glass slipper a year later.
I’d like to think my decorating tastes have matured over time, but I think that glitter obsessed child still sits deep inside.
So, I let myself throw in little details. Like the gold foiled napkins. Or adding some silver foil stars to the ‘cloches’ on the top shelf. Those amazing cloches are really just drinking glasses turned upside down, with craft letters stacked under the flameless tea lights for added height. The pieces of fir tree branches are placed throughout, a nod to my Evergreen roots. They not only add a natural element to the whole vignette, but the amazing holiday smell they share can make even my Nashville apartment feel a little more like that space heated barn in Washington. And I just can’t help but love those tiny brush bottle trees sprinkled throughout. They help meld mountain past and southern present. Simple black cookie cutters leave space for memories to envelop the empty space atop a mountain made of stacked cups for height and covered in simple craft felt. And finally, the twinkle wrapped trees that greet you at the doorway. Proving that no space is too small for a little holiday cheer.
Memories can be relived in the most simple of ways.
An adult’s bar cart can help bring the innocent child’s Christmas memories into the more complicated present. A little magic goes a long way, and helps to remember to be merry and bright once again.