life in a tiny apartment.

December 5, 2012

Tip #42: An addendum to last week: deck the halls, but keep things simple (also, be kind).

Last week was more about decorating the outside of your tiny spot than the inside. I’ll share a few more of my wintertime additions next week, but in the meantime, here’s my wintry swag and few words on simplicity & kindness:

The absolute best part about December in New York are the tiny fir forests that pop up everywhere. You can hardly walk a block without being ushered through a wooded passage. Honestly. One minute you’re window shopping and the next you’re flanked on either side by Christmas trees. In these moments, I like to take in huge sniffs of the air. James gets embarrassed, but I am not in the least bit worried about looking deranged. Come January, the little thickets will be all cleared away and what am I going to sniff then? Let us not list the possibilities.

Last week as I was walking by one such wintry wonderland, I noticed a huge pile of discarded branches. The scraggly looking boughs that typically hang awkwardly from the bottom of the trees had been lopped off and were nestled in a corner of the vendor’s tent. When I asked the young vendor if I might purchase a fistful or two, she looked at my quizzically and proceeded to pile branch after branch into my hands. She wouldn’t accept payment and sent me on my way weighed down by fir but buoyed by her goodwill.

In this season, and always, kindness is the most important thing.

When I got home, I lashed together a few of the branches into a simple swag and hung it by the chimney mirror with care. I didn’t fuss with it. I tied it up with a plain ribbon and that was that. Earlier in the week I had been overwhelmed by my own fervent merry-making and had decided to decorate the surf board with colored Christmas lights. I’m still convinced it would have looked amazing, but without being able to adulterate the thing with glue or tacks, defeat was mine. I ended up with a lot of melted surf board wax and a pile of colored bulbs at my feet.

Simplicity triumphs again.

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  • Reply Carrie | acookgrowsinbrooklyn December 5, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    I love walking through the fir tree corridors! It's like entering an alternate universe – one minute I'm walking along – all grey concrete and cabs and garbage bags and bah-humbug and then – Christmas music and lights and fir trees and holiday cheer! (I unabashedly sniff, too.)

    • Reply Erin December 5, 2012 at 3:46 pm

      this is why we're friends.

  • Reply Tidy-Up Gal December 5, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Simplicity is sooo underrated!

  • Reply Little Kitchie December 5, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    your couch is gorgeous!

  • Reply Ann December 5, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    Yes, small kindnesses from strangers do much to buoy the heart, don't they?

    • Reply Erin December 5, 2012 at 4:31 pm


  • Reply Vicky December 5, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    Hi! Try using pretty red/holiday washi tape to get those lights up. That what I did and the tape is so pretty it adds to the decoration.

    • Reply Erin December 5, 2012 at 4:31 pm

      Vicky, are you decorating a surf board too?? Our board was to waxy for washi tape–it just curled right up and fell off!

  • Reply Liliana Pachón December 5, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    nice pictures overall, but i would love to see them raw without filters and Adobe Lightroom

    • Reply Erin December 5, 2012 at 8:05 pm

      Hi Lilliana! For these tiny apartment shots I add a line of text in Adobe Photoshop and sometimes I brighten the image so that the text pops–other than that no filters here! Thanks for reading.

  • Reply minify December 5, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    LED Christmas lights don't give off heat the way traditional lights do – they might solve your surfboard problem (if they don't melt the wax, maybe they won't slide). And I think you're right, a surfboard covered in Christmas lights would look amazing!

  • Reply size too small December 5, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    awww i love your simple christmas decorations. simple is often best i think.

  • Reply rebecca December 5, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    weed is what you'll sniff apparently. 🙂

  • Reply Milynn {Love + Whimsy} December 5, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    I love how that looks over your mirror (must smell wonderful to those sitting on that beautiful sofa!) It was actually because of your week in objects post last week that I asked for tree clippings from the tree lot. I took a huge bushel (two actually) home and used some of the clippings to make a mini tree for my room 🙂 I shared some photos of it today. Thank you for the inspiration!

  • Reply Anne Tews December 6, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    I adore the smell of evergreens, too. Unfortunately, I can't have trees, branches, or evergreen scented in my apartment. Any of them, even in small quantities make my sinuses miserable. 🙁
    I liked your snapshot and think the image looks great. 🙂

  • Reply Erica December 6, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    this is genius!! the husband is not happy with the idea of getting a tree for our tiny apartment. but i walk thru one of those fabulous corridors (i'm a sniffer too) on my way home from the subway. maybe they will be generous too?

  • Reply carlyalyssa December 7, 2012 at 4:53 am

    I would love to know where you purchased that wonderful print of Massachusetts!

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