“The first thing you must do,” said the fairy, “is go back into the sitting room and find my magic wand. I’m useless without it.” ♥ H. E. Todd
Of course, the first thing we need is little trees among the Beatrix Potter People. ♥
While we’re decorating, one of the most magical movies ever made, The Bishop’s Wife, is on TV, and THIS is just one tiny part of it . . . (If you haven’t seen it, you might want to watch this, then play it again and come back here — it’s the perfect background noise for this post as it was for tree decorating!)
One of the nicest discoveries I made when I moved to New England was the concept of the attic. No attics in the houses I grew up in, but here, every old house has one . . . that’s where all our decorations are kept, box loads that Joe brings down the narrow attic stairs, where kitty promptly builds a home.
Lately, Jack is running around with this red pom pom in his mouth, making him my very favorite decoration! And PS, basically, he is not attacking the tree! Every so often he will smack at a low hanging ornament, but so far, that’s really all!!! Fingers crossed.
Out of the boxes come our stockings, hung with care . . . and every day we open another little door on the Advent Calendar sent to us by our girlfriend Siobhan in England.♥
This old stocking is from Joe’s childhood; it belonged to the pets in their household. It’s hard to read, but all those crossed out places are pet names; up close you can see them: Inky, Trisket, Puddikins, Nosey, Georgia, and Susie. Probably our most valuable Christmas decoration; definitely the most loved, should be insured by Lloyds of London!
We have Old St. Nicolas, in his everyday hat, looking a lot like Heidi’s Grandfather.
Not only did we choose this house because it had a good place for the Christmas tree, but, you may have noticed, I secretly decorate for Christmas year round. From the wallpaper, to wall paint, to choosing the slipcover fabric … whenever I put something in my house, I say, “Yes, but how will it look at Christmas time?”
My summer hurricane lamp is appleified and turned into Christmas candlelight.
And speaking of apples . . . my absolute favorite dessert this time of year has a festive wreath of fresh cranberries and crunchy top — the recipe’s in my Autumn Book; I know many of you have made it, but I can’t rest in life until everyone has! ♥ So here we go, this recipe serves six (it’s easy to cut it down and make it for two or even for one, especially for one). The smells of apples and cinnamon fill your house (an invisible but very wonderful Christmas decoration), when you open your oven to pull out this bowl of Christmas cheer, you fall in love with yourself; in love with the whole world.
Cranberry Apple Crisp
- 4 lg. green apples, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/2″
- 1 c. fresh cranberries
- 3/4 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1/2 c. flour
- 1/2 c. old fashioned Quaker oats
- 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/3 c. softened butter
Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter a baking dish, approx 9 x 9. Place apple slices and 3/4 of the cranberries in the dish. Mix remaining ingredients well (use fingers to get butter into other ingredients) and sprinkle over the apples. Use the rest of the cranberries to decorate the top. Bake 30 minutes. Serve hot with ice cream, or cold with whipped cream. ♥ xoxo
While it bakes, I rearrange the shelf on my stove, which is now fully decked with this tiny creche to go with the miniature house and little tree.
And hang a Christmas hand towel in the guest bathroom.
And then it’s time to decorate the tree!
. . . Light the fire, and Joe starts bringing down decorations. We decided to use both colored lights and white twinkle lights this year. I threw blankets over the furniture to kind of protect it from the boxes of decorations, which always end up lining the back of the sofa.
chief only thing always on Jack’s mind is PLAY. When do we play next; let’s play now; how about now; could we please play now; what do you mean you have to work; I need to play NOW. If I tell him to go play by himself, he knocks all my papers off my desk. I’m getting nothing done. Except bonding with this little cat. ♥ But look, wouldn’t you? He’s so excited when he sees me coming to play, it’s all worth it!
And now, there it is, our tree, all dressed up, waiting for a snow storm, waiting for Dean to sing Marshmallow World, waiting for Santa.
It’s covered with all our favorite old ornaments; this little paper angel with her gold curls, the delicate glass icicles and gold bead garlands, the rocking horse I bought across from the old Mission in San Luis Obispo in the 1970’s, the red glass hearts tied with ribbon, the pink glitter moon, and white pine cones that fit over the twinkle lights and send off the most wonderful glow. On top of the tree, like every year, is our golden angel.
All our memories of Christmas gone by come tumbling out of these boxes.
And then of course, as always, I go outside to see the tree through the windows, but the moon, looking down over this small island, says, LOOK AT ME, I’m the MOST beautiful …
The little peek through the curtains makes me think, “who must be the cozy people who live inside this house?”
Back in to put another log on the fire, which is simply another opportunity to PLAY.
I think we’ll be getting used to this; the weatherman says today is our last day of 55 degrees, he said to “get ready,” because all that cold everyone is feeling in the Midwest, is coming our way! We are ready! We’ve brought in wood, the bird feeders are filled to the brim, we have acorn squash, potatoes, onions and good chicken stock; there are clean sheets and heavy down comforters on all the beds; we have family coming this weekend including four and seven-year-old nieces who should be cozy in the Peter Rabbit room, and their darling parents; there’s cookie dough chilling in the fridge, ready to be rolled out and cut into shapes. I can’t wait until the girls see Jack!
♥ ♥ ♥
I already know you girls are doing pretty much the same thing, making magic in your own houses. Have a wonderful day! xoxo