Posted by: christinelaennec | December 14, 2014


It very much feels like the run up to Christmas now, and I like that.  The living room is looking crowded but “affa bonnie”:

The living room on a December afternoon.  Glasgow 2014.

The living room on a December afternoon. Glasgow 2014.

Our neighbour gave us the huge poinsettia, wasn’t that kind?

We had a friend over this afternoon for coffee, which was really nice. I always love getting this beautiful cloth out, which was a gift from friends in Norway:

Embroidered cloth from Norway.

Embroidered cloth from Norway.

We had banana bran muffins, flapjacks and (store-bought) panettone.  I have also made my pfeffernusse, but they have to ripen for at least a week.  (No pomanders this year.)

I always enjoy decorating the mantlepiece.  The card here is from last Christmas. The Dafter was so terribly ill with ME/CFS that she could hardly lift her head up.  She usually makes us gifts, but last December we told her that she was not allowed to expend energy on this, which she reluctantly agreed.  However, she somehow, with the aid of a snowflake-shaped and a regular paper punch, managed to adorn this card.  Inside there is a very sweet message thanking us for her care of her.  That card means the world to me – and I am so very grateful she is so much better now.

The mantlepiece, December 2014.

The mantlepiece, December 2014.

The little Christmas tree plate was my Granny’s.  I remember her Christmas table entirely set with Christmas china, but this is the only piece that has come to me – and it’s enough.

This past week we had some wintry weather:

Frosty foxglove, Glasgow, December 2014.

Frosty foxglove, Glasgow, December 2014.

Icy underfoot.  Glasgow, December 2014.

Icy underfoot. Glasgow, December 2014.

Michael had to stay home from work for a few days with bronchitis, and the Dafter has still been coughing after a nasty cold.  She has been working very hard to finish her art assignment before Christmas, but last night she was able also to go to a Christmas party.  What a contrast with last year at this time!

The Dafter, off to a party!  December 2014.

The Dafter, off to a party! December 2014.

We are all a bit concerned about her health – we don’t want a horrendous relapse – but I think she knows her body so well now, and is largely able to pace herself.  It will be very good to have some restful days, though.  I myself have now caught The Cold, and have been taking it easy, as I don’t want bronchitis or anything else!

Behind the scenes – or should that be behind-the-sofa? – we have been busy wrapping and parcelling up presents:



Every year we send quite a few parcels, to family and friends.  We also send a lot of Christmas cards.  Living far from so many of the people we love, we’ve always done this.  It’s true that the cost of postage is rising, and also there are quite a few things – nail polish, whisky, etc. – that you can’t send, as they are classified as explosives.  I was told the other day by the post office mannie that if you don’t put a return address on a parcel going abroad, the post office in that country may destroy the parcel.  It is such a shame that the acts of a few people have caused such fear and limitations.  I know many people who have stopped sending Christmas cards because of the cost.

Michael and I feel that this is such a special time of year, often one of the few times of year that we are in touch with friends, that it is worth budgeting for increased costs.  Perhaps if we had family nearby, or were constantly in touch via social media with people, we would feel differently.  But showing people that we have been thinking of them, with presents and cards, remains a priority for us.

I have been taking time every morning to think a bit about Advent, which for me signifies the coming of the Christ, light conquering darkness.  As my minister once said, Advent really should be a Christian mindset every day.  That’s true (for me at least), but it’s especially nice when most people around us are also preparing for a special time, as the darkness of the Winter Solstice closes in.

I hope you are all enjoying the run up to Christmas too.



  1. Your home is looking wonderful, with some lovely memories attached to some of your treasures. That is my favourite part remembering the stories attached to ornaments/decorations. I have still budgeted for postage this year too there is nothing nicer than getting a card/gift through the post. Glad to hear everything is still going well with The Dafter, she looked lovely getting ready for the party.

  2. Your house looks very welcoming! I notice that the coffee shop just near where I work has poinsettias in pots in their windows….makes me wonder what they have to do to get poinsettia flowers (are they really flowers??) in the middle of summer. I assume they’re grown in some sort of artificial reverse-season environment (or flown out to Australia from Scotland?)

    • I think they’re grown in greenhouses, apparently they’re meant to flower around when the light lasts an equal length of time as the dark, but the ones we have in the living room seem to follow their own schedule. My parents remember big bush sized ones from Australia.

      • That’s interesting, Stephanie, thanks. I’ve always assumed that potted poinsettias would last only a short time in the real world…and I’ve wondered about plant physiology – what factors bring on flowering, leaf colour change etc. Is it light intensity, temperature, day-night balance, etc

  3. Your preparations are well advanced! I have written the grand total of 2 Christmas cards and looked out our Norwegian table cloth, but that’s the extent of our preparations so far. So lovely to see the Dafter heading out to a party.
    The icy weather was pretty lethal underfoot, wasn’t it? Hopefully the milder temperatures this week will be kinder to bronchitis and colds and they’ll disappear by Christmas.

  4. So glad that you are enjoying this time in spite of some illness, Christine. I felt welcomed into your home through this post…especially the behind the scenes photo 🙂 I have been celebrating six weeks of Advent this year, and posted some “light” photos…my favorite is the one my oldest daughter took of her baby laying under the tree looking up at the lights. And I think my favorite photo of this post is the one of happy, healthier, Dafter! I am smiling at you and yours and am wishing you well xx

  5. I loved the tour of your home. Your decorations are not only lovely but I’m sure they have a special place in your heart. It’s wonderful news that your daughter is doing well. I hope you have a blessed Christmas holiday with your family.

  6. Your posts are always so warming, Christine. I hope the Dafter enjoyed her party, Michael’s bronchitis has cleared up and you feel much better soon. It’s rotten having a lingering cold, but reassuring that you have such lovely surroundings to relax in.

  7. Lovely just lovely. The Dafter loveliest of all.

  8. Your living room looks so cosy, maybe move the poinsettia somewhere lighter? They love light – when I had one by the tv I kept having to move it away as it kept growing over the screen! Keep it reasonably moist and it should last a good time and maybe even reflower. My oldest is about 6 now, though still an odd shape from the year the Christmas tree fell on it…

    Hope your colds go soon, do look after yourselves, so glad to hear the Dafter’s been having some fun 🙂 Snazzy antlers!

    • Hi Stephanie, and thank you for the advice. Our little terraced house has only two sunny rooms that aren’t freezing cold in the winter, namely the living room and the Dafter’s bedroom. (The other sunny window is the unheated back porch.) So I have put the poinsettia between the Christmas tree and the bay window for now. I think, especially since poinsettias are poisonous to cats, I will have to rehome it… I wish you lived closer!

  9. Your room looks so cosy and Christmassy 🙂 and your lovely Dafter looks so well! I hope she had a wonderful time at her party.

  10. Hello Christine, sorry I’ve been remiss at commenting lately but today for the first time in ages I feel I have some time to myself! Your decorations look lovely, your house looks very cosy. I have to be honest and say I was shocked sending a parcel off to Canada this year and in fact I ended up sending it by snail post to save a few pounds. I feel a bit bad about it and should have checked the times and costs earlier than I did but I guess it will be a nice surprise when it eventually gets there! Your daughter looks very pretty and perky, it’s lovely to see her transformation. I hope she enjoys a happy time this Christmas. I hope you are all feeling better soon and your cold goes away – apparently eating tangerines/clementines is the way forward – loads of vitamin C. I wish you all a very happy Christmas if I don’t manage to speak to you before then. xx

    • Just had to come back to let you know my friend in Canada received her parcel already! The Post Office told me it would be at least January getting there and it got there in record time instead 😀

      • Excellent! It must have slipped unnoticed into the airmail bag!

  11. I am so happy that this Christmas is bringing many blessings to you, Christine. My favorite thing in your decorated living room? The built-in bookcase – it’s divine! xo

  12. Thank you so much, everyone, for your comments. Yes, the best thing about the decorations is what they mean to us. Poor Michael is now signed off work with a chest infection, but he is getting better, with the help of drugs. And clementines, marksgran!

    And the Dafter is still really enjoying life, though also looking forward to the break. She had a great time at the party. Thank you all for celebrating her improved health with me. It’s really odd to think that for the past three Christmasses (and the two years in between) she has been mostly bedridden! Her recovery is the best present we could ever get. She still has a ways to go, but I hold on to the fixed idea that she will make a full recovery.

    Stacy, I’m glad you like the built-in bookshelf. I often think of the workmen who fashioned our house over a hundred years ago. They obviously took pride in their work.

    Gracie, I enjoyed your “Light” post – I thought I’d left a comment, but perhaps it didn’t get through. Yes, babies seem to have their very own inner light, don’t they?

    oldblack, thank you for saying the house looks welcoming. That’s what I’d like it to be. Thinking of you in Sydney after the tragic events. Take care.

  13. Your Norwegian tablecloth is lovely and matches your rug perfectly. Have a wonderful Christmas. I really enjoy reading your blog and learning more about life in Scotland.

  14. Always enjoy your posts, sorry I have not been keeping up so well. Enjoy the increased day light as it is just starting this week.

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