Also the various rooms, the patio and porches, the yard and the garden house...It is such a busy time of year. I have not gotten around to a post in a while, and this one will mostly serve to show off our holiday preparations here at The House. There has really been no break in the fevered activity around here since the All-Hallows Barn Party we hosted the first weekend in November. It seemed like I was barely cleaned up from that and it was time for Thanksgiving Dinner. We had a family gathering that included all of my children and grandchildren as well as my Mom and Step-dad, my daughter's Mother-in-Law and some significant others. It was fun. I was better organized than last year, but still not where I would like to be. The weather, which has mostly been more like summer than autumn, took a cool turn. It would have been great except for the relentlessly chilly wind. We had moved the picnic table onto the patio in anticipation of being able to dine outdoors—some did, but it was a bit cool for most, so everyone found a spot and ate the buffet style meal in small groupings.
If you come up the sidewalk to the front entrance, we will go on in. We only ever use this front door for company, so consider yourself our guest for this tour. I am still not happy with the front of the house, but it is much cheerier than last year. I think I still need more lights.
The tree in the front hall is artificial and still a work in progress, but it is so cute. It is covered with lots of handmade ornaments—a number of them made by the kids going back to kindergarten years. There are also ones made by myself or friends. Other ornaments on the tree are vintage or the more primitive styles from among my large collection of Santas.
The elf hanging on this tree is the real deal. My mother had these for many years (and I would be remiss if I did not add that when I was younger I thought that these and several other of her treasured ornaments were tacky and less than chic) before passing them along to my youngest children.
The bench below, a gift from my Dad and Step-mom, found its happy home in the entrance hall. It's a cozy place for Santa to sit down and take a rest.
Some of my Santa Claus Collection...
These are only a small sample of my Santas. I have been in love with Santa Claus for my entire life, in all of his many guises. Father Christmas, Père Noël, Saint Nicholas and all the rest live in my heart, and at Christmas on shelves, in nooks, on the tree and all over the house. I like to think that someday I will do an inventory, but I acquire new (or sometimes old) Santas every year.
Lets take a quick look into the dining room before we move on to the living room.
Yes, there are more Santas in here. I haven't done much as far as actually decorating the dining room, but I will do more after I set up a buffet table for the Christmas Eve open house. Much of the contents, both Christmas and otherwise, of the hutch are things I either thrifted or rescued. The Santa figurines in the window as well as the little Santa dish in the hutch are from the townhouse my Mom and Step-dad cleaned out after some tenants moved and left a Hoarder's Paradise behind.
Just a quick stop in the living room before we go into the kitchen and back outdoors. The tree in here is real. We went with a smallish one this year because we liked the shape (and I was tired from Thanksgiving). Next year could be altogether different. It is a Douglas Fir. We almost always have gotten Fraser Firs in the past, but last year we chose a Douglas because the tree lot was out of the Frasers until the next day. As it turned out, we were enchanted by the way the tree looked decorated, and since we do not have carpet in this living room, we really weren't concerned that it was a bit more likely to shed needles. It just goes to show that sometimes it is good to change old habits if for no other reason than to bring a little novelty to life.
Ultimately, while presents, treats and gifts are nice, especially for the children, it is the Heart and Soul of Christmas that speak loudest to me. The Spirit of Santa Claus—helping those less fortunate, sharing and giving with no expectations of return—is what I keep as the true message of Christmas. The Birth of a Savior, a Son-of-Light to guide us from the Winter Darkness to the Dawn of Spring is a much more fundamental and essential idea than whether one is a Christian, a Pagan or of any particular faith. It is an idea, a spark of Light, that was ignited in the breasts of our remotest ancestors. It is a custom that, one way or another, most of us still keep. While it may change with zeitgeist or paradigm, the core realities surrounding the passage from darkness to light in human experience do not. Though outwardly at least, we, as a culture, have changed mightily, we have not escaped from the cyclical nature of our existence. So I say be damned to political correctness and wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas. Or whatever, in your own belief system, you call it. It is time to get past all the petty judgements and divisions. That, too, is what Christmas is supposed to be about.
Since we are ending our tour for today in the kitchen, we will just slip out the back door, where, through the magic of time-travel, it is now daylight. Here is one of the two White Rose Christmas sprays I found at a thrift shop and hung on the patio. Since I had used the white lights and snowflakes at this end of the house, I thought they fit rather nicely.
Yet another thrift shop find. A metal stocking that I filled with boughs of greenery and hung by the back door.
Out in the Garden House it is Christmas too. This is Florida, so though the little succulents and more tender plants are tucked in the snug little building in front of the south facing window, we have not yet had a frost. Everything is green and still growing. I found the stocking on a clearance rack last year and thought the botanical motif was perfect for my favorite place on this property.
I hope you have enjoyed the tour. I have certainly enjoyed showing off our lovely home a bit. I do not know if I will post again in 2013, but in any event, I wish you and yours a magical and blessed Christmas, and an abundant and healthy New Year.
Peace to you all...