Step into the enchanting holiday world of Leben Riebe. Each year he transforms his home into a winter wonderland with extravagant decorations and thousands of vintage ornaments. He shares his best-kept secrets for creating the most magical Christmas ambiance.
Leben Riebe: A Holiday Maestro Weaving Nostalgia and Joy
Leben Riebe is a holiday enthusiast whose passion for Christmas transcends the ordinary. As a proud resident of Fort Worth, Texas, alongside his partner Michael and their beloved pets, Riebe’s festive fervor transforms their home into a winter wonderland each holiday season. But what lies behind this magical transformation? Let’s delve into the mind of the holiday maestro himself.
A Glimpse into Leben Riebe’s World:
Riebe’s journey into the realm of holiday enchantment began in his childhood. Fond memories of adorning the family Christmas tree and experimenting with decorations allowed him to unleash his creativity. His love for Christmas lights reached new heights during his you, when he adorned a tree with an impressive 10,000 lights. This early creative freedom laid the foundation for a lifelong passion for holiday decoration, a passion that continues to burn brightly. “My love for Christmas has never really subsided and now I try to harness that wonder that I felt as a child and surround myself with all the lights, colors, and joy of the season,” he explains.
“I always decorated my room for Christmas as well, even getting on a large ladder and hanging contraptions from the ceiling all lit with lights of course. Looking back, I realize I was extraordinarily lucky to have had this creative freedom.”
The Art of Holiday Decoration
For Riebe, holiday decorating is a carefully orchestrated process that begins in early November. Starting with green garlands, he gradually builds up the festive ambiance, culminating in a fully decorated home by December 1st. Riebe’s approach is methodical, allowing the holiday spirit to crescendo without leaving chaos in its wake. “About mid-November, I assemble my vintage putz house village on my living room mantle. This is my favorite collection and one of my favorite areas in my home to decorate. I have quite a few of these putz houses dating from around 1930 and I just love their quirky charm,” he says. The trees are up and strung with lights by the end of the month. Riebe then decorates each tree one at a time, creating a theme as the decor comes to life. This process ensures that come December, he can sit back, relax and enjoy the holiday season.
Tips and Tricks from the Holiday Maestro
While Riebe’s holiday decor is awe-inspiring, his advice is refreshingly simple: have fun. He encourages others not to stress about creating a perfectly edited home, emphasizing that the joy of Christmas lies in embracing the excitement and wonder. His sneaky decorating tips include sourcing vintage ornaments from antique shops and estate sales, relishing the hunt for unique pieces that tell a story of their own.
“Of course, online sources such as eBay and Etsy have thousands of listings for ornaments all year long. If you are attempting to build a collection quickly, these are great places to start. You can also see what ornaments are selling for and see a large variety to get an idea of what you wish to collect.”
When it comes to Christmas tree decorating, Riebe advises finding a tree with long branches to showcase vintage ornaments. His efficient bottom-to-top decorating technique ensures a harmonious arrangement.
“I begin at the bottom of the tree and decorate one branch from the inside to the outside tip all at once, before moving on to the adjacent branch. I find that decorating this way is more efficient and allows me to avoid the dreaded search for the perfect place to place additional ornaments as the tree begins to fill up.”
He notes that when using a live tree, it’s important to remember that the branches will begin to droop over time. His advice? Wait to set up and decorate a live tree around mid-December, or wire the branches to mitigate as much drooping as possible.
Dreams of More Space and Larger Trees
Riebe’s holiday wishlist reflects the challenges of managing an extensive collection within limited space. More storage space is a priority, as he creatively maneuvers through a Tetris-like puzzle of bins and closets. A wish for more room to accommodate larger Christmas trees reveals a desire to elevate the festive experience even further. “I sacrifice clothing storage and have entire closets filled to the top with bins of décor. I also wish that I had more space to accommodate a bit larger Christmas trees, especially in my living room. On the positive side, the space constraints have limited my purchasing of items to add to my collection, so I must be a bit more selective with each new acquisition,” he says.
The Dining Room Extravaganza
Amidst the holiday splendor, Riebe’s favorite room to decorate is his dining room. Here, a “big tree” adorned with an abundance of ornaments takes center stage. This formal space allows him to showcase delicate collections and indulge in a more traditional holiday theme, creating an atmosphere where vintage Christmas spirit seamlessly blends with a touch of elegance.
“I also love to set a holiday table and enjoy incorporating the vintage Christmas spirit into my themes. It also allows time, during a meal, to really sit and enjoy all the holiday décor, which can be so difficult with the busy pace of life.”
Leben Riebe’s holiday haven is not merely a display of decorations; it’s a testament to a lifelong love for Christmas. As he continues to weave nostalgia and joy into the fabric of the holiday season, Riebe invites us all to embrace the magic of Christmas with open hearts and a spirit of delight.
Check out our holiday home tour episodes for festive decor inspiration and more!