Deck the halls.

Or should I say deck the walls?

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Traditional Southwest Christmas décor includes luminarias (also called farolitos by people in some regions of the Southwest), which are candles nestled in sand within a paper bag. The candles, when lit, illuminate the bag, offering a soft, cozy glow. According to Wikipedia (the most convenient source in the world), the idea originated with Spaniard merchants, who loved the concept of Chinese paper lanterns, but wanted to use more “hearty” materials. The luminarias are typically arranged in rows to create displays on and around walkways, walls, and the like. Spiritually, the idea was that the light will illuminate a path for the Christ child.

In my neck of the woods, luminarias are as common as any other type of outdoor Christmas light display.  There are elaborate displays each Christmas eve with the real deal candle-sand-paper bag variety, and many other people set up electric luminarias so they can enjoy the décor in the days leading up to Christmas eve.

We’re in the former group.  Last year we set up luminarias on the sidewalk in front of our house, down our walkway, and around the front porch.  This year we’re in a larger, Southwestern style home, and we’re not exactly sure how many luminarias we’ll need.  Hopefully 10 dozen will suffice….

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Inside, we have a lovely tree – I love symmetry and I don’t love sweeping up pine needles or disposing of tree corpses, so fake it is.  My mom gave me a collection of gold ornaments when I was in high school; the carousel is my favorite.  We also have snowmen coasters, complete with a real straw broom, with which, it goes without saying, Flo is obsessed.

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The normal assortment of snow globes, tins, and stuffed and painted snow beings round out the decor.

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The stockings are hung by the chimney with ca– I mean, on the stairs.  With care.  Note the two adorable little cat stockings.  Perfect for stuffing with treats.

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*PS – You can find this post over at Tiffany’s blog, Figuring Out The Plot, where I am guest posting as part of her “Deck the Halls” series.  She’s having people all over the country (and maybe world – I dunno!) post about their holiday decorations – check it out!

Do you have a favorite ornament?  Outdoor decorations – yes or no? 

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13 thoughts on “Deck the halls.

  1. The luminarias are really pretty. I love all your little trinkets and stockings! I tend to lean towards snowmen kind of Christmas decor, myself, probably because I don’t see snow that often! :)

  2. The luminarias are super cool! I stick to lights on the outside porch, tree, garland down the railing of the stairs, and that’s about it. It’s festive enough for me!

    What the heck state do you live in anyway? I’m not sure I ever knew??

  3. I love those luminaries! My college boyfriend’s parents (that’s a mouthful!) lived in a neighborhood where everyone on the block put out luminaries, and they called it “Santa’s landing pad”. It always looked beautiful, and I’ve been wishing we did it here on my block, too!

    We keep it kind of simple here with candles and wreaths in each window and an old-fashioned sled by the door. It could be a little grander, but I like the way it looks and wish it could stay up longer than just a month!

    Wonderful decorations, lady!

  4. Oh whoops – Forgot to say, my favorite ornaments are the ones I’ve made with my babies. I wanted a hand-print of Little Miss for her first Christmas, and it started a tradition of making one with her every year. Now that I have Sonny, I did a hand-print with him this year, too. I think it will be fun to see the ornaments get more and more difficult to make as the kids get older. Hopefully I can even talk them into doing it when they’re teenagers. I haven’t seen any of my glass ornaments for three Christmases now, so it will be fun in a couple of years to remember why I love all of those special breakable ones.

  5. My dad has an event as the national park he works at where they light over 5,000 luminaries for soldiers that died in the battle. They are seriously the most stunning sight. (They’re killer to clean up though!) All your decor is so lovely! You’ve got me all excited for Christmas!

  6. Your luminarias are gorgeous! One year, for Halloween, my family had small paper bags with candles in them (so I guess they can be considered luminarias!) lined up on either side of our driveway to light a path for trick-or-treaters. Well, my sister was still a toddler… and toddled up the driveway and knocked over a whole row of the luminarias. Then they all caught on fire and we had to hurry and put our like 10 small fires on our driveway haha. Fun times ;)

    I am with you on fake trees. The real ones smell great, but they’re just a lot of effort!

  7. I love your luminarias! I’ve never heard of those! It really is so pretty. I wonder if they would catch on in Memphis if I decorated outside our house with them next year. ;) Also, totally love the kitty stockings. Oreo’s stocking is nearly as big as ours, haha!

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