06 January 2014

Decking the halls...

 Early in December, everything throughout the cottage gets its little sprig of greenery, or a dash of red berries, or a tartan ribbon.

But now it is King Day, and slowly, one by one,
the tassles, ribbons, and garlands need to be removed and gently packed away for another year.

There is a comforting sameness to it all.... the putting up and the taking down, and where each holly branch or bow should go.

It begins with the pine cone wreath on the door. 
My father made three of them one year. 
One hangs over my mother's mantle, another is with my daughter, 
and mine goes on the side door.... welcoming guests inside. 

There is holly, ivy, and greenery to gather outdoors
and place in various containers throughout the house.
 Silver julip cups...

ginger jars...

...small vases under soft lamplight...

...and old tarnished teapots.

A feathered friend has a holly wreath...

...while another hangs on the desk doors.

And of course there are candy canes... ready for small hands to grab and take home.

The chandelier gets added prisms and golden ribbon to add sparkle.

A new sign for the kitchen from a local shop...

... adding a bit of sparkle to the Christmas dishtowels
and a simple pitcher of boxwood.

A Christmas pinafore awaits baking projects,
where the flour flies nearly as wildly as the snows outside..

...while red berries and holly add color to the copper pots and pitchers.

A favorite diorama from years past sits on a shelf in the powder room.

 Guests will be welcomed with soft linens... 

...and a hint of holly...

A Christmas Faery holds a precious gift...
(Love, perhaps? Or kindness?)

...while a gnome holds his armload of wood to keep us warm.

A small chair for tiny legs waits by the fire with
old well-read volumes of A Christmas Carol.

The tree can be seen no matter where you stand or sit.

 Reflected in the glass windows of the secretary...

 ...or in mirrors throughout the cottage....

...adding shimmer and light to every room.

 The ornaments are time-worn and beloved, hung with care each year.

The Sun and Moon always go at the top, surrounded by a garland of stars.

Prisms catch the light...

... and a Fleur de Lis glistens.

Toys from my daughter's childhood chug along the branches...

...while a rosy-cheeked doll smiles brightly.

A sparkling snowman grins with happiness...

 ...and a new porcelain rose joins the others, feeling right at home.

 The holly-crowned tiger guards the presents beneath the tree.

 Greetings of the season here ....

.... and there.

A warm welcome for visitors,
and a reminder to relax and enjoy.

A variety of Santas come to call...

...some from England...

...a few with heavy damask cloaks.

Even a bathing beauty gets in the spirit with her jaunty Santa hat!

A few childhood Christmas projects find their way downstairs.

A tiny village takes shelter under pine bows.

And the teapot is always ready...

 ... for an afternoon Christmas tea-party.

 There are carols to sing...

...books to read...

...and cozy places to sit.

The holly and the ivy
When they are both full grown,
Of all the trees that are in the wood, 
The Holly bears the crown.
Traditional English Christmas Carol


  1. The cottage looks beautiful this year, winter touches every surface. A favorite photo is the apron on the door waiting for the baker.

  2. Thank you! And I love that apron, too. It's quite old but so useful at this time of year when it seems the oven never turns off for all the baking that's done!

  3. Christmas is especially beautiful in a cottage!
    I love all your touches, the soft light on your lovely collection of precious things. In particular the painting of the Thames with Saint Paul's in the distance. I have a similar one which was my parents and it's of gondolas on the Grand canal in Venice - it's part of who I am!
    A charming Christmas in the cottage!

  4. Thank you for coming by, Shane! I do love decorating the cottage at this time of year, and I love the way the Christmas lights cast a soft and calming glow over everything. I fell in love with that etching of Waterloo Bridge when I saw it in a consignment shop and my mother gave it to me for my birthday that year. Wishing you a wonderful New Year!

  5. How gorgeous and doesn't everywhere feel so bare when we pack them away again?

    1. Yes, it does! But it also feels like a fresh sheet of paper, on which to write this year's activities and accomplishments in the house. As of this morning, it's all packed away and now it's time to settle in and let the winter take over until Spring arrives again.