Posted by: christinelaennec | December 9, 2013

Christmastime has begun!

The Dafter has a strict rule that Christmas does not begin until December 1st.  And although I make preparations before that – for example sending the USA Christmas presents in October – I agree with her that if you started Christmas too early, it wouldn’t be so special.

This past weekend, we put up the beautiful tree that I bought at the Ardarden Farm Shop.

Our first Christmas tree in Glasgow.

Our first Christmas tree in Glasgow.

It was particularly wonderful, this year, to rediscover the Christmas tree ornaments and decorations.  Our tree looks pretty much the same as it has for years and years – except that we’re in a new house and a new city.  The combination of new and familiar is very nice indeed.

Knitting Mrs. Santa.

Mrs. Santa, knitting.

Decorating the Christmas tree is something we all enjoy doing together.  This year the Dafter was able to come down to the living room, and help out from the couch.  We had sparkly drinks in wine glasses and cinnamon star biscuits, and we played corny country-and-western Christmas music as always.  (I love it – classics such as “Hanging Round the Mistletoe” by Ricky Skaggs and “Christmas Carols at the Old Corral” by Tex Ritter.)

Christmas tree, 2013 (or any other year, it would seem!)

Christmas tree, 2013 (or any other year, it would seem!)

Having packed away (and gotten rid of) so many of our possessions this summer in the move, I’ve thought a lot this year about the power of objects.  The Christmas tree ornaments are a very good example of how Things can remind us of eternal qualities such as love and faith.  I like our collection of ornaments – for example the reindeer ornament made by the Dafter in nursery school above.  Further up, you can see one of a few small aluminium bells from my childhood Christmas trees, a bauble beautifully painted by my dear friend Gay, and a tatted snowflake made by me as a teenager.  Somehow all the ages that I have been are there in the ornaments.  There are also garlands and some ornaments that belonged to my Great-Granny May, long before I came along.  I like that sense of continuity, not only in one’s own life (which sometimes seems like about 10 different lives rolled into one!), but through the generations.

Christmas fireplace and Playmobil nativity set.

Christmas fireplace and Playmobil nativity set.

The living room in our new house, as some have remarked, bears a striking resemblance to our living room in Aberdeen.  And that’s fine!

Decorations on the mantelpiece.

Decorations on the mantelpiece.

I treasure this delicately carved candleholder brought back from Germany by a dear friend, as well as the Christmas angel in a snowglobe.

Flying Santas and beautiful birdbox over the coat rack.

Flying Santas and beautiful birdhouse over the coat rack.

I’ve blogged before about the carved Santas made by a friend when we lived in Illinois.  They have a new display area now!

The Dafter:  our little helper.

The Dafter: our little helper.

The Dafter was able to be on her feet for a little bit during the decorating.  She’s worked up to being out of bed (sitting / standing / walking) for a total of about an hour a day.  It’s wonderful to see her making slow progress.  The physiotherapist in particular has been a great help to her with different postures for resting, strengthening exercises, and managing pacing.  (Pacing is one of the keys to recovering from ME/CFS, although it isn’t a cure-all.)

Landing bookshelf, decorated for Christmas.

Landing bookshelf, decorated for Christmas.

The bookshelf on the landing makes a good space for a straw pig from friends in Norway, a wax Christmas tree candle I was given as a child, and two snowglobes that the Dafter is very attached to.  The one on the left has Santa floating around on his rocker, which at some point came undone.  And, as far as she’s concerned, that’s the way it should be, because it was a present from her brother years ago.

Garlands on the staircase.

Garlands on the staircase. (Tilly’s scratching post does not get decorated for Christmas.)

Our garlands go well on the staircase, and we have acquired some new fairy lights for the dining room and porch windows.

Dining room window, looking out to the porch.

Dining room window, looking out to the porch.

I do love the Christmas tree stained-glass artwork on the window – another school project.  Bless all teachers who organise children to make such treasures!

We have just about finished our gift-buying and -making, and as I write, Michael is wrapping up presents to send to his family.  I’ve made a batch of pfeffernüsse, which are little spicy biscuits that need to “ripen” in a tin for at least a week.  Last year, things were so very difficult with the Dafter’s illness that I wasn’t able to make them for the first time in a long time, so I’m delighted things are better enough now to allow me to carry on that tradition.  More baking is scheduled for next weekend, and I have quite a few more cards to write, but enough is done now that I can relax and enjoy keeping in touch with people.



  1. The Dafter is right about December 1!!! 🙂 So glad that this Christmas is some better! Enjoyed seeing your decorations and I knew your tree would look so nice in your window! Just saw the last guest out of the door from our afternoon Girls’ Knitting Club Christmas Party. So much fun.

  2. Your place looks so cozy and well decorated. Love that fireplace. Also nothing like familiar ornaments to make any house your own home.

  3. I’m glad the Dafter is doing better, sounds like very positive progress with the physio. Your tree and decorations are lovely 🙂 And they are best put up after December starts, otherwise they aren’t as exciting and look a bit sad by Christmas day itself. Though obviously some preparations need to be made in advance.
    Merry Christmas!

  4. Lovely! I enjoyed learning the history of some of your family treasures, Christine. And I am celebrating with you that Dafter is getting better! Some of my kids walked out a little bit on our frozen front pond today and we may get a bit of snow or freezing rain tonight. Mt. Hood let me snap a picture of her several days ago when the clouds had scuttled away for awhile. My Grands have a Fisher-Price Nativity Scene that has pride of place next to our Christmas tree, and I perched the olive wood nativity scene on our mantel. I love this time of year 🙂 Thanks for posting and sharing some of your Christmas celebration with us.
    Gracie xx

  5. I so agree with the dafter as i can never start my festive season before the first advent sunday. I love hearing your stories about your individual ornaments, we are the same here, many memories attached to them.
    So good to see that you are all settled into your new place and that the dafter is making progress.
    Wishing you all a peaceful and happy christmas
    Big hug, Heike

  6. beautiful pictures, Christine. your place is lovely and it looks so lived-in and comfortable already. glad your daughter could join in on the festivities. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas in your new home and city.

  7. Your home looks magical with all the lights and decorations, Christine. I remember making stained glass windows at school with tissue paper, I haven’t thought about that for years but your mention of it brought back memories. It’s lovely to have old familiar tree decorations and great to see the Dafter able to join in with the decorating. I’m very impressed that you make your own pfeffernüsse, I’ve never tried that.

  8. Your home looks so cozy, Christine. 🙂
    Glad the Dafter was able to join in with decorating the tree. So glad she is getting better!
    Happy day to you.

  9. The house and decorations look wonderful, Christine. Thank you for inviting us in to share some of the sparkle with you.

  10. Your home looks just wonderful. And I’m so pleased that the Dafter is making progress. We are rather behind with Christmas stuff at the moment, but a lot of people are getting books, which is simple. And since one of our daughters will be coming, and she is vegetarian, I don’t have to worry about cooking a turkey, which is a big relief.

  11. Everything looks so cosy and wonderful, as if you have lived there forever. 🙂 xxx

  12. Yes, gorgeous fireplace! I have a gorgeous fireplace too, but it’s not functional and the landlord won’t fix it! I’ll have to put up a photo of it soon. Never seen a Playmobil creche, that’s pretty cute! I’m glad you feel settled in and everything works in your new place for Christmas. Whenever I’m moving I think about where I would put a tree!

  13. I love decorations with history and meaning to a family, makes them more special. Your home looks lovely and welcoming.

  14. Glad to see the Dafter doing better. Looks like she was enjoying things a lot! I love decorations that have family history. I have a tree up year round for our dearly departed kitty Daisy-lee. It is full of bird ornaments that she loved. Helps us keep the time special by remembering her joy in the Christmas season.

    • What an original and sweet idea, your tree for Daisy-lee. I often think of my first “baby,” Tinker, who died 17 years ago now. Love never dies!

  15. Your tree is lovely in its window alcove decorated with memories and treasures of years gone by. The photo of the Dafter and her Father is also a lovely treasure and it is so good to hear she is up and about for a little while each day to enjoy this special time of year. Everything looks very warm and cozy and your biscuits sound delicious. Glad you are finding the joy in simple pleasures on the first Christmas season in your new home. Hugs xo Karen

  16. Thank you everyone for your kind words! I’m glad you enjoyed coming in to see our Christmas decorations. And the Dafter is delighted to have some support in the “Christmas doesn’t start til December 1st” camp!

  17. I love the “quiet times” over the Christmas week and when the house is all prepared , stocked with lovely homemade food and the prospect of seeing family and friends, it really makes you ” count your blessings”. Your house looks lovely and the bottom line is, we don’t need ” lots of stuff” we just should appreciate what we all have , however simple . I absolutely hate the commercialism of Christmas, it is the luxury of time , quiet
    reflection and the pleasure if good company that counts.

  18. It’s my favorite time of year, but I agree with the Dafter – no Christmas anything until December 1. But my favorite thing about Christmas is memories – both recent and distant. ❤

    • Stacy I saw your post about your own precious family memories on the tree (didn’t get a chance to comment). It’s so true how Christmas brings both past and present (and future?) together.

      • Indeed, it is, Christine. I’ll tell you Merry Christmas now in case I don’t have a chance to visit for a few days! ❤

  19. My favorite ornaments are ones my kids made. Having taught kindergarten art for one year, it is a wonderful sacrificial work teachers do.

    I love the tree in front of that window!

    • Kelly, I’m not surprised either that you treasure your children’s creations, or that you taught kindergarten art for a year.

      I’ve not commented, but have been keeping you and your parents in my prayers.

  20. Please tell the Dafter that I have been inspired to buy a Play Mobil Crib (plus another pack with the three wise men) for my four year old son for his first crib. We don’t have a crib at the moment so it was high time to get one. Why the kit didn’t include the wise men I don’t know. Perhaps it would have been too expensive for most pockets. Nollaig Shona Daoibh as we say in Ireland! Sandra in Aberdeen

    • I will pass that on! Nollaig Chridheil dhuibh (in Scottish Gaelic)!

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