Do you ever think about first impressions?
I remember my clever Mum saying to me often...'You only get one chance to make a good first impression'. So true.
Pictured is the entrance to a chateau we once stayed in.
Like many of it's era, it's seen better days by modern Aussie standards. In fact, most of us would turn our nose up at this place if it were in our own neighbourhood. It's not shiny and new, and it doesn't have a double lock up garage...
But upon closer inspection, it has an inviting way about it. The lawns are neatly clipped, the red door is open and drawing us in. The gardens around the entrance are well kept and carefully colour co-ordinated despite their haphazard, casual look. The windows are clean, and the front steps are swept of debris.
Inside it was warm and cozy, although the floor had an interesting slope. The bathtub was deep enough for a good soak, but not so deep that you had to bend into unnatural contortions to climb in and out of it. The paintwork was far from perfect, being that some of the structure was nearly 400 years old.
But, on the kitchen bench, there was a bowl of fresh, ripe figs, branches still wet with sap from the tree at the rear of the house. There were fragrant roses displayed in a heirloom vase on the dining table. A thoughtful selection of local produce in the kitchen saved us heading out for a meal on our first night.
And my point is this....
An inviting home, has nothing to do with 'new' or 'perfect'. It has a lot to do with loved, cleaned, and well tended, with attention to detail.
This Christmas, why not make sure your home is inviting. Make it a habit to have some festive fragrant oil in an oil burner, or some orange peel and cloves simmering on the stove. Tidy and clean till everything glows, but don't take the 'comfort' out of your home to impress the guests. Add your own little touches to the decorations. Make huge crepe paper roses to hang from the ceiling, chandelier style, instead of tinsel. Make little lanterns out of newspaper or old sheet music to hang on the tree or from your doorways. Instructions for these things are easily found by Googling.
Make sure your front entry is inviting. Sweep the path, cut some pretty greenery or display a few flowering plants at the front door, and stitch some giant jingle bells to a strip of velvet ribbon for the guests to ring as they enter.
Okay, inviting home taken care of...
So what's your families' first impression of YOU going to be on Christmas Day. Are YOU going to be Loved, Cleaned and Well Tended? Will your own appearance reflect attention to detail? Ashamedly, I've greeted guests at my front door on Christmas Day, still in my PJ's at 11am, because I've been flat out keeping everyone else happy. Not a pretty sight at my age, I can tell you!
Everyone thinks of the children at Christmas. They get special Santa or Rudolph PJ's and a pretty dress or smart shirt to wear. Here in Australia, it's all we can do at that time of the year to get out of our swimmers! For Mum, the Christmas Sales can yield a pretty summer dress and a festive hair clip for under $20 if you're budget conscious. A tub of lip balm can glisten lips, tidy eyebrows, and act as an instant manicure rubbed into the cuticles if that's all you have time for. But do make the effort.... for yourself...you deserve it.
My memories of my Mum on Christmas Day was that she always wore a dress with a festive print, a smile on her face, a pretty scent, and her favourite lipstick. I'm doing the same.
RIP Mum...we miss you.
Christmas is all over my tray of bliss today...what's on yours?