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Getting into the Spirit of Christmas

Updated on December 17, 2014
Decorate with candles
Decorate with candles

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

As the weather starts to become unbearably cold, I start to dread the long winter season as soon as fall waves goodbye. Despite my constant complaining about the weather, the holiday season has always been my favorite time of the entire year. The city gets all decked up with twinkling lights and holiday d├ęcor and walking around town never fails to make me smile. Once I get home, I can hardly wait to get started on decorating my apartment.

The decorations start early at my home-sometimes as early as the first week of November. Every year I try to come up with a theme that's slightly different from previous years and that's really part of the fun. Last year, I broke all traditions and went with blue. Imagine three hues of blue ornaments with blue LED lights on my tree. Violet blue flower arrangements and blue candle holders were scattered around the home. It sounded good in theory but looked a bit too cool and modern. My home also felt very cold and although I hate to admit it, lacked warmth. So this year it's all about making my home warm and cozy using red and gold with touches of rustic charm.

*All photos taken by myself

What's Your Holiday Style?

What is your favorite holiday style?

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Welcome to My Home

Simple decorations at the front door
Simple decorations at the front door

First impressions make all the difference and this usually means the entrance to your apartment or home. Living in a small apartment in Tokyo surrounded mostly by other buildings, I like the entrance of my apartment to be as inviting as possible, providing a comfortable transition between the outside world and my home.

My entrance is basically a small counter-top space that's limited by size as well as height. It may seem difficult at first but these restrictions actually make it easier for me to decorate. Last year I went the minimalist route by having a single blue candle on the counter. This year, I did the exact opposite by combining various objects I already had with some new candles that I purchased for the season. To minimize the look of clutter, I used a wooden tray to group some of the items together.

Telling a Story with Small Spaces - In addition to the entrance, I decorated other nooks and crannies in my home.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A simple dining table centerpiece created with a wooden tray, cinnamon sticks, candles, ceramic mushrooms and gold ornaments.The side table next to the sofa is decorated with flowers and a beaded rose votive holder.As soon as you enter my apartment, a Christmas Mickey doll greets you.Candles, gold ornaments and ceramic mushrooms.
A simple dining table centerpiece created with a wooden tray, cinnamon sticks, candles, ceramic mushrooms and gold ornaments.
A simple dining table centerpiece created with a wooden tray, cinnamon sticks, candles, ceramic mushrooms and gold ornaments.
The side table next to the sofa is decorated with flowers and a beaded rose votive holder.
The side table next to the sofa is decorated with flowers and a beaded rose votive holder.
As soon as you enter my apartment, a Christmas Mickey doll greets you.
As soon as you enter my apartment, a Christmas Mickey doll greets you.
Candles, gold ornaments and ceramic mushrooms.
Candles, gold ornaments and ceramic mushrooms.

The Best Tips from Martha

Decorating for the Holidays (Christmas with Martha Stewart Living)
Decorating for the Holidays (Christmas with Martha Stewart Living)

Martha Stewart always makes it easy to decorate, create and cook in style. This book includes various holiday projects and yummy recipes.

 
Beautiful Wreath for Christmas
Beautiful Wreath for Christmas
My slim Christmas tree decorate with red and gold.
My slim Christmas tree decorate with red and gold.

All the Small Details

When it comes to decorating a small apartment, details matter. It's hard to ignore all the nooks and crannies when there is a lack of space. When my friends come over, they never fail to notice these things.

I remember a friend of mine who pointed out the microscopic strip of paper that I had not seen behind the TV stand in the very far left corner of my living room. And he noticed this from my dining room!

In order to distract people from random trash I may have forgotten to pick up, I strategically place decorative items around my apartment. I have a huge wreath hanging on the right side of my living-dining space to help keep their eyes away from that infamous left corner of my living room next to the TV stand ( most of the small pieces of random trash mysteriously ends up there ) .

Of course, it's not really about covering unsightly areas in the home but really more about making the home feel warm, cozy and festive.

Details

Do details matter when decorating for the holidays?

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Christmas Dinner

For me, the most crucial part of the entire holiday season is planning the menu for my Christmas dinner. Most families in Tokyo eat chicken ( sometimes KFC chicken! ) and a strawberry shortcake while stylishly people are too cool to cook and go out to a high-end restaurant.

I myself, like to have dinner in the comfort and warmth of my very own apartment. Sometimes I have friends over while other times, it would be just me and my partner. There were a few years that I was simply too busy to cook and just made do with store-bought items. However this year, I already have my menu planned. I was successful in creating some new dishes I had never made before. I even learned how to make gingerbread snowflake cookies!

My Christmas Dinner

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Sweet and sour meatballs appetizer.Japanese croquettes with cream sauce.Main course is a beautiful and delicious tofu loaf.Spinach with carrots in sesame dressing.A festive cake makes a perfect and dramatic ending.Christmas macaroons can even be made low carb.Gingerbread snowflake cookies for everyone to take home.
Sweet and sour meatballs appetizer.
Sweet and sour meatballs appetizer.
Japanese croquettes with cream sauce.
Japanese croquettes with cream sauce.
Main course is a beautiful and delicious tofu loaf.
Main course is a beautiful and delicious tofu loaf.
Spinach with carrots in sesame dressing.
Spinach with carrots in sesame dressing.
A festive cake makes a perfect and dramatic ending.
A festive cake makes a perfect and dramatic ending.
Christmas macaroons can even be made low carb.
Christmas macaroons can even be made low carb.
Gingerbread snowflake cookies for everyone to take home.
Gingerbread snowflake cookies for everyone to take home.

If you were to choose...

Which dish would you most likely make for a holiday dinner?

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Let Me Know What You Think. Happy Holidays!

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    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 2 years ago from Canada

      Christmas is coming. Thanks for sharing; interesting to see what you choose to do to celebrate in your part of the world.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @shadowfast7: Thank you so much for visiting.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @tonyleather: Thanks Tony!

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @LornsA178: Thank you so much for visiting.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @MariannesWhims: Thanks so much!

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Elsie Hagley: Ahh yes, I have a friend in New Zealand.He's always wearing sandals during the holidays. :)

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Ruthi: Aww thanks Ruthi. That's my favorite item in that picture.

    • shadowfast7 profile image

      Sure Temp 3 years ago

      loved the pretty christmas pictures, great ideas here :)_

    • profile image

      tonyleather 3 years ago

      A very informative and interesting lens!

    • LornsA178 profile image

      LornsA178 3 years ago

      Reading this lens reminds me of home where we decorate for Christmas as early as 1st day of November. I love all your decorations, and the food you had.

    • MariannesWhims profile image

      Marianne Gardner 3 years ago from Pacific NW, USA

      Loved the photos of your decorated apartment and Christmas foods. Nice lens.

    • profile image

      flowski lm 3 years ago

      Very nice Xmas Lens!

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 3 years ago from New Zealand

      Christmas is over but i feel like it's christmas today after reading this article.

      Hope you has a nice day and it wasn't to cold. Here in New Zealand we had rain christmas eve but the next day improved, sunny but a chilly wind, it didn't feel like a summer day, bit like autumn, oh for a white christmas, something I will never see.

    • profile image

      Ruthi 3 years ago

      Your home for the holidays is so welcoming. I really like that twig tree in your entrance display.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @sousababy: merry christmas to you and your family Rose. And thank you for your friendship.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Brite-Ideas: Thank you. Merry Christmas to you as well.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Nancy Hardin: Thank you Nancy. I appreciate your comments.

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 3 years ago

      Wishing you and yours love, peace, and joy now and throughout 2014. Sincerely, Rose (aka sousababy)

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Merry Christmas, and a lovely lens :)

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      You've done an excellent job of decorating and choosing food for the celebration. Merry Christmas, Happy 2014!