Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Poised for merriment


And suddenly, the festive season is upon us! I'm pretty excited. I've made a vow to chill out this time around: there is no reason to feel overwhelmed. I know that's easier said than done, but I think I can manage a better attitude this year. My Christmas shopping is basically finished. I still need to wrap, and I need to buy stocking stuffers too, but I enjoy those tasks. Stocking stuffers entail a trip to Target; I'll buy myself a special red cup of something warm and delicious. Wrapping requires good Christmas movies in the evenings after the kids are in bed. Love, Actually and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation are high on my list; which Christmas movies do you love?




We put up our Christmas tree over the weekend. We always try to do it on Thanksgiving weekend, as long as Thanksgiving doesn't fall too early in November. We have a fake tree. It's our thirteenth year with it, I think. We had a real tree once, for our first Christmas living together. We thought it would be so romantic to go to a tree farm and cut down our own tree. We left it too late in the day and it was getting dark when we finally found the perfect tree...which turned out to have infestations of both spiders and fungus. There were hundreds of tiny spiders all over the living room, building webs on everything. It was not romantic at all. The next year, we bought a fake tree and we've been very happy with it. How about you, if you have a Christmas tree: real or fake?


I love everything about Christmas ornaments: the bright colors, the shininess, the sparkle. I love ornaments that seem old, though I don't really have any that are actually vintage. I'm glad they still make this kind of ornament, though; to me, they're perfect. I have lots of plastic ornaments from the dollar store too; I'm no snob. I would like to have old-fashioned bubble lights, like these, someday. My grandparents had some, from the 1950's, that they still used when I was growing up. I loved to watch them, they were fascinating!



Daddy's Cafe is back under the Christmas tree. This year, it features a Christmas wreath (green yarn wrapped around a cardboard ring), and a chile pepper ristra! The Bear made the ristra; he made lots of little clay chiles, painted them red and strung them together. We also put a string of chile pepper lights around the Christmas tree skirt, you can see them above. This cafe is a real New Mexican place now! Feliz Navidad!


I made a centerpiece for the dining room table this weekend. (The runner is old, I made it before our kids were born; it's reversible, with fall fabrics on the other side). I threw together several Christmassy items for the centerpiece - faux pine boughs, two sparkly faux berry picks, pine cones and some small glass balls, all on a big glass plate. I wasn't sure what I was doing but I played around until it looked symmetrical but not fussy - and I like it!


I've been gathering supplies for a festive experiment, I guess you could say. I'll let you know how it goes...if it goes.


Miss Maggie is coming into being. I'm almost done! Oh, I've enjoyed making her little bunny self. More about Maggie soon. I hope to finish a couple of other handmade items for my small Bears before Christmas too.


I bought a box of Candy Cane Joe-Joe's last week. I think this speaks for itself.


Yes, I'm mighty glad it's that time of year again. Hustle-bustle, color and light, comfort and warmth.

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Thank you, thank you, thank you for the comments you left on my last post, where I raised questions about the changing blogosphere. I've been slowly replying to each comment. I don't normally reply to them all; I just can't seem to find the time to do that in addition to reading and commenting on others' blogs. But the comments were so thoughtful, and thought-provoking, that I wanted to respond. I want to be clear: I don't personally have any problem with people branching out to other social media. I think they all have their place in today's climate and I'm glad that some bloggers are finding success in other venues as well. I do understand, though, that people miss the way things used to be. I think it's entirely possible that it will come back around eventually, though, and that's one of the reasons I keep blogging: so many people still love this medium and I'm glad to be part of it. I appreciate the kind things you said about my blog; I wasn't fishing for compliments but I am happy to know people like what I do here. I plan to keep on! I love this community and I have been so warmly embraced. And I'm having fun! That's the best part; this is just a really enjoyable thing to do and I thank you for making it such a pleasure.

43 comments:

  1. Love your chilli pepper lights, they're fantastic. How warm and cosy it looks Chez Bears now, you've made a lovely job of your Christmas decorations. The table decoration is especially pretty. I always enjoy Love Actually as well, a nice happy feelgood movie. I'm intrigued by the Red Hots. Are they hot?? I guess they must be. I shall look forward to seeing what you make. Have a good week, this first of December, and as you say, may the merriment begin. CJ xx

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  2. I love your centrepiece Jennifer, it looks extremely festive!
    We have fake trees too, I do love a real tree though, it's finding the space for it, we usually cut so much away to fit it in that it wasn't worth it!
    My favourite Christmas film has to be Elf! :)
    V x

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  3. I need to confess I already watched Love, Actually this past week. I might have to watch it one more time before Christmas. The two Call the Midwife Christmas specials are very nice to watch leading up to the holidays as well. And The Sound of Music. I never get tired of it!

    Your ornaments are very pretty, and I love how Daddy's Cafe has been made ready for Christmas. The ristra is brilliant! I bought a box of the GF version of the candy cane Joe-Joe's a couple weeks ago when I was at a Trader Joe's. They tasted like sawdust and I ended up tossing them in the garbage. I'm sure the non GF version taste much better. :-)

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  4. Love Actually..... good choice! We've also become rather fond of 'Arthur Christmas'. It's one of those children's cartoon films that appeals to everyone. Jx

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  5. Your tree looks beautiful Jennifer mine is fake too but I don't usually put it up until the second Sunday before Christmas, it's funny how we love to stick to family traditions, we have always put it up then. I have just read your last post, my problem is the one of time, I read and follows lots of blogs but unfortunately I don't always have the time to comment, I have seen a change but there are still so many lovely bloggers out there and I like to think I have made lots of blogging friends, I find it very sad when someone I have followed for years just suddenly stops blogging it is like loosing a friend. :) x

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  6. Good morning Jennifer! We have a fake tree and it's up and alight with color. We tried real trees for two years when we moved here to the Pacific Northwest. It was the thing to do. Honestly I didn't like the mess of it all and remembering to water it, etc. Fake is fine for us! Love your centerpiece too and the little coffee shop. I find myself watching lots of Hallmark Christmas movies while knitting. Most are good, some quite "hokey!"
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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  7. Looking lovely in your home now. I'm just starting to get some Christmasy things out - I start introducing it all gradually, building up to putting the tree up. Artificial for us too - the real ones just got too expensive! x

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  8. I am motivated seeing your decorations. All four grown children and their families are coming Dec 10 so I need to shake a leg!!!

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  9. Hi Jennifer !
    Here, a fake tree as well... Although we have a little private forest at home, with the possibility to cut down a real one every year, I find it such a waste to "kill" a real tree... (because even if you dig the roots out, pot it, & replant it after christmas, it rarely continues growing...)
    Other advantage of a fake tree is, that if you buy a decent one, you'll have "a storybook tree",like the ones you see in movies :-), the perfect triangle, no holes or openings between branches, plus you can hang as much decorations as you want in it... (which in my case is a staggering amount ;-))))
    PS I love Daddy's cafe with the ristra !!!

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  10. Love all your decorations, it looks enchanting. I too have a fake tree, I find it easier and a lot of vintage baubles that have so many memories.

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  11. Hi Jennifer! Your centerpiece is gorgeous! We did the thing of driving to a local mountain tree farm and cutting our own for YEARS.. but it was messy and it would dry out and I worried myself sick thinking of it catching fire. So, when the kids were older we got an artificial tree and the ease and safety of it won me over. Yours looks wonderful! Ours is up but we've been so busy that it's not decorated.. but soon.. after we go out to lunch and visit the Pittock Mansion today.. which is decorated for the holidays! Yay!! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  12. Look at y'all with your tree up and decorated already! I guess with kiddies it's just what you do or be pestered every day! Ha-ha. I remember those days. I just dragged a couple of boxes out last night. Not sure yet how much stuff I'm going to put out...I don't think very much at all this year. Yours looks so pretty!

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  13. Such seasonal sparkle and cozy Christmas anticipation, around your home, Jennifer. It is, for me too, the most wonderful time of the year!

    Poppy

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  14. So beautiful Jennifer! I really must get my tree up (it's usually well settled in by now). I am a fake tree person and love getting my tree out each year (it's over 20 years old now and still looks like new). It's like an old friend and one that has got shorter as my children have got taller. I'd hate to part with it as it has shared so many happy memories with us. Take care xx

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  15. Your tree looks beautiful! We also use a fake tree, and have for the past eight years. I am too allergic to the real thing. And I like that there is really no maintenance with the fake ones! I love your festive centerpiece. I need something like that on our dining table. The Candy Cane Joe-Joe's look yummy! I also like the Dark Chocolate Covered Star cookies from Trader Joe's - I could eat the entire box! My very favorite Christmas movie is The Holiday! I've watched it twice already!

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  16. we have a Christmas twig....... it is a beech tree branch, I love it, we've had it for a few years, last year my son wrote about it at school and described it as a cold dead dirty stick I dragged in from the garden, poetic license he said.........

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  17. I love your tree and the new additions to Daddy's cafe. Miss Maggie is looking very sweet; I'm sure she'll be much loved. We usually have a real tree - I love the smell and the ritual of our family outing to choose it, but could live without the dropped needles! Have fun and good luck staying chilled. x

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  18. After many, many years of real trees, we got ourselves an artificial one about 5 years ago. Whilst I still hanker after a real one, it's soooooooo much easier to get the artificial one to stand up properly without falling over. I remember one year we had to anchor the real tree to the piano to keep it upright! I don't miss that at all! LOL

    Your tree looks beautiful, Jennifer. As do all your other decorations! :o)

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  19. Your tree looks really tall! It looks so nice in the night time. I like your centrepiece too! We go fake too. I don't know why. We used to have real trees when I was quite young, but then my parents reverted to fake. I do love the smell of a real tree though, but they always look so sad lying on the curb after Christmas ... unloved and out for garbage once their purpose is fulfilled :(
    I compromise and bring in evergreen branches to bring the smell indoors. I like having a real evergreen wreath too, but some years (like last year) I can't find a good one that isn't hugely expensive. I'm looking forward to getting our tree up, but don't know when that will happen. Our weekends are filling up quickly, and I would like to have my daughter home to help me. I haven't bought one present yet either ... should I be worried?

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  20. Hi Jennifer,

    How wonderful your place looks with all the Christmas decorations and Daddys Cafe is cute - your children will be getting excited.
    We have a fake tree which I hope to put up next weekend. Had a real one when the kids were small and found all the needles dropping on the ground, were annoying but do love the smell of the pine tree.National Lampoon Christmas Vacation is a favourite here too.
    Hope you are enjoying the week and many thanks for visiting me.
    hugs
    Carolyn

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  21. I used to think that I had to have a live Christmas tree, but when we lived in the Colorado Rockies and I realized how dry it was there and how slowly the evergreen trees seemed to grow I converted to artificial trees. I like being able to put the tree up the day after Thanksgiving and keep it up a long time :) I have a mishmash of wonderful tree decorations: paper, clay, hand made, gifts. plastic, cloth, brass, and a few delicate glass.

    I love seeing your traditions grow, Jennifer, and I appreciate your positive attitude. I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed thinking about gifts and cards, and you have encouraged me. Thanks!!! xx

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  22. AH!!! You are great pal! It is such a fantastic medium!! I have no idea how all those other things work out there except for Pinterest and email. And look at that gorgeous tree!! Oh how I long for bubblers one day too!! I miss my grandmother's tree for that very reason! That little cafe is adorable!!! Wishing you a wonderful December friend! Nicole xoxo

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  23. What a lovely heart-warming post, Jennifer, as you and the family prepare for Christmas. The tree looks brilliant with all the lights and decorations, and your centrepiece is very stylish and attractive. Love the little cafe, too. Do I see a little red bird on the tree? Cute...

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  24. I have just read your last post, Jennifer, and I applaud your comments. And this post makes me look forward to Christmas even more than I was already. Thanks! xxx

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  25. Gorgeous post Jennifer which has made me feel very excited for Christmas!
    Marianne x

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  26. I love your Christmas tree baubles and Daddy's Cafe is festive and cute! Since our first Christmas as a family four years ago we've always had a real tree. We've been buying them from the same place every year and so far we're happy with the ones we've had. We're looking forward to buying this year's tree in two week's time...Have a wonderful Advent season. x

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  27. Jennifer, this post has made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. It is enchanting You capture beautiful moments . Your tree is stunning. I have read your thanksgiving post oh what a feast .I love your blog Jennifer never ever change its wonderful .Thank you for sharing I look forward to all our post .Have a lovely day

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  28. I've just commented on another blog that National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is one of my favourite Christmas films, it's so funny. I've seen it so many times yet I still laugh in all the same places. I love your centrepiece, that's so festive, and Miss Maggie is so cute, I'd love to have a go at that myself but I'm not sure my sewing skills are up to it.

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  29. Your tree looks fantastic. We have ours up too.

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  30. Your tree looks wonderful and I love all the festive, cosy touches you have around your home. Maggie Rabbit is looking great. I haven't even started on my fox and doe yet, I am seriously panicking about getting them done in time... x

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  31. So glad to find your kind comment on my blog...Your tree is really spectacular and I'm sure your kids enjoy a wonderful and cosy atmosphere in your home. Maggie Rabbit looks absolutely great, if you are interested there is a blog I recommend you "Millefeilles" of Stephanie.She is an experts on rabbits and hares.

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  32. Everything looks wonderful! Your tree and decorations are beautiful. We have two fakes in Portland and one real in Seattle. Not sure how I feel about the fake trees, although they are a lot easier to set up and heck.....you can leave them up till like February if you get real busy! Have you seen The Holiday? Along with Love, Actually, it's my favorite of the modern holiday movies. Thanks for sharing.

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  33. Your tree is looking good and your home very festive. My favourites are Love Actually and The Holiday, not forgetting A Christmas Carol of course, my all time favourite. P x

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  34. Thank you for such a warm and wonderful post. I love glass Christmas ornaments too - yours are adorable. Isn't it fun to get out your ornaments year after year, to remember when and where you got them, and hang them up on the tree like so many old friends?

    I'm sorry I missed your last post ... that hustle-bustle makes it hard to keep up with blogreading. Looking forward to what you make with the Red-Hots - I love those things. :)

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    Replies
    1. P.S. Real tree. Every year. If it ever warms up here I'll go get this year's!

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  35. A wonderful post, Jennifer, with such a warm festive feeling! I love your merry makes and gorgeous tree! I love this time of year and all the treats and cosy times.
    Wishing you a wonderful countdown to Christmas.
    Helen xox

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  36. Isn't Christmas wonderful! I love your tree, it looks very real. We have a fake one too, makes life a bit easier not having needles to hoover up. Enjoy the excitement and anticipation xx

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  37. Your house is looking so festive and cheerful. We get a real tree although I have voted to get a fake one, I think I am allergic to the real one as I am stuffed up the whole time it is in our house. It is the last thing to go up and the first thing to come down. Glad you are on top of all the holiday stuff, it makes it so much more enjoyable.

    I hope the blogging thing comes back around. I love it and while I am not into the other mediums, I think blogging is terrific.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  38. Same reason I will never have a real christmas tree. I have fear that I would find lots of bugs everywhere. The artificial tree looks beautiful all decorated. You say you have a little more wrapping to do then your done, good for you! Our favourite Christmas movie is muppets Christmas carol. Lastly the bunny is so good x

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  39. Lovely post & I love your decorations. We have a couple of artificial trees, I would love a real one too, if I ever get the porch built I will have a little one in there. Well done with Maggie rabbit. Have a good week xx

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  40. I have absolutely no idea what Candy Cane Joe Joes are, but they look good!

    Christmas trees are a problem here with so many dogs as they eat the needles that drop from the real ones, which is so not good for them, and easily knock the artificial ones flying. In recent years I've resorted to doing something arty with baubles and twigs from the garden. The festive atmosphere then comes from the fairy lights I put around the window and lots and lots of candles. Your tree looks stunning.

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  41. Your tree looks amazing. BigR helped me to decorate ours this year. I had to do a bit of rearranging so the decorations weren't only concentrated in the one area she could reach :-) I'm trying to chill out over Christmas too. xx

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  42. What a lovely, traditional family Christmas tree - full of much-loved and well-used ornaments. We no longer have a tree as we always go to stay with our children for Christmas and New Year and they have lovely trees, but when we did it was always a real one, as I love the smell and feel of fir trees so much.

    I'm a traditionalist and never put up decorations until Advent is almost over and it's nearly Christmas, but then I keep them up for the twelve days of Christmas and take them down on January 7th, when Epiphany is over. It's the way I was brought up and my daughter in particular keeps up the tradition.

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