My own personal panic started a week before Thanksgiving when I stopped off at a friend’s B&B to returned a borrowed item to find her inn completely decorated for Christmas, creche and all. I had not even braved the airports for the Thanksgiving rush yet. I have been ignoring the incessant creep of Christmas since Halloween when the stores started to display Santa right next to the Poison Ivy Superhero costumes and figured I had plenty of time once we returned home from our Northern visit December 1st.
When one has a building the size of the Sully Mansion, Christmas decorating is not an easy afternoon undertaking but rather a multi-stage process requiring multiple trips up and down the fourteen foot ladder. The two of us have pretty much gotten things down to a science, outdoor windows and wreaths one day, outdoor garland and lights the next, indoor garland over the doorways followed by the garland up the staircase and the sashes in the dining room leaving the tree for last. All and all it is a four or five day task in between attending to other inn keeping chores and responding to guest needs and inquiries.
It is easy to fall into a chore like mindset, really with the attic so many flights up and the endless trips up and down the stairs to get all the trinkets stored away from the previous year and where are the ornament hangers? The living room begins to look like a warehouse of cardboard boxes and little gold sparkles cling to your skin. Happily somewhere between the third and forth garland, you step back, see how the light captures the translucent glass balls, your nose fills with the scent of cedar and the twilight sets in and the lights wrapped in greenery climb up the columns of the house and suddenly it once again, as it does every year, gets magical and beautiful and transported to a lush decorative time and place.
Then you remember why you bother- the inn becomes a setting of serenely delicate beauty and the draping of ribbon, and beautiful bows and greenery everywhere make perfect sense. I walked around the neighborhood last night and the houses with their lights and the festive wreaths in the doorways were joyful to see. I love the holidays, it gives us all an excuse to decorate with an eye towards fancy and beauty and lushness. My esthetic and New Orleans are so much in synch, more is more and the intricate ornateness of the cornice on the house, the wrought iron gates festooned with hollies, large multicolored ornament balls dangling from the porches, its a second layer of eye candy in a neighborhood which on the drabbest day pops with visual delights. Christmas in New Orleans is beautiful.