Tuesday, December 8, 2009

deckin' the halls

The Christmas tree is officially up at the manor. I spent most of
Sunday afternoon fluffing and tweaking. No pressies are wrapped
yet, though. Wrapping and stacking under the tree is one of my
tasks for this week. My first choice of tree would be a big fat live
one with all the wonderful natural scent and essence, but a few years
back we purchased a pre-lit artificial tree. I'll have to admit, it's quite
nice not having to untangle that ubiquitous massive knot of lights.
.

Besides, I go a little nutzoids and load it down with so much stuff,
you can't see the tree, anyway. I've been collecting vintage
ornaments for about 30 years, now. WT has brought back quite a
few unique ones from Eastern Europe. Last year, my uncle me some
wonderful old bulbs that adorned my dear grandmother's tree in
tiny Burlington, Indiana. These treasures feel right at home on my
manor tree.
.

I also have a stack of antique holiday postcards I traditionally tuck
among the branches. This year, it struck me how lovely some were
on the reverse, with the vintage stamps and quirky, festive hand
written messages. So, I placed several with the written side showing.
Since I'm all about correspondence, this made me incredibly happy.


I'm such a sappy romantic. My very favorite ornaments of all are a
few the kids made when they were small. Tears well up each time I
hang the tiny, sweet, tweedy mitten that belonged to my oldest son.

77 comments:

  1. so beautiful...how joyful!

    much love

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  2. The tree is just beautiful. When my first son was born, for about the first twelve years, I bought him a special ornament every year and, when I would pack it away, I would write a little about his life at that time, where we lived, his favorite toy, an interesting comment..I wish I'd kept it up and I should have done it for my two other sons. I always treasured putting these ornaments on the tree...haven't had a tree in the last few years but I just might do it this year!

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  3. Love the tree very pretty.

    Haven't started my wrapping yet. We're advised by the police never to put presents under the tree before Christmas. Great attraction for burglars! Mine are stashed in the old airing cupboard.

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  4. That's a tall tree. About 35 feet I'm guessing.

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  5. Bill, heh-heh, it's just a little 8 footer. I have enough trouble getting it up. 35 feet of Christmas tree would be wa-a-y too much for me to handle!

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  6. Looks great. Next weekend for us, though the kids have been colouring in reindeers for 3 days solid.

    Following on JoAnne's visit to Sorbie Castle, do you know of your 17th Century ancestor the soldier and poet Sir Patrick Hannay? Interesting fellow.

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  7. Pretty Pretty Pretty.
    I had a 10 foot tree last year . Renee came up and we went to a tree farm and he cut it.
    This year I have a small table top with MOOSE doing crazy things
    on it. Got to get back to wrapping.
    You did a pretty post again.

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  8. you have the perfect Christmas home. Toby helped me put up the tree today. And he loved playing in the snow...looks like we're gonna have a good Christmas!

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  9. Now that's a committed approach to Christmas and beautifully done too. What a perfect setting.

    As one born on the 25th, I claim exemption from seasonal enthusiasm and, as the years pass, I am more and more prone to humbuggery. But the kids love it and so in comes the tree and up go the paperchains. We're spending the day with their grandparents so I'm hoping for long periods of insensibility courtesy of a decent Côtes du Rhône, during which time both the festivities and my extra year may slip past unnoticed.

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  10. Oh, how gorgeous! I know what you mean about the live tree; we went fake last year because we have a toddler. It turns out my husband is allergic to most of the trees anyway so I will never again get my live tree. I've almost finished bemoaning that fact.
    I have great ornaments, though not nearly as lovely as yours, that I chose not to put out this year. I'd rather have little plastic balls on my tree than have little curious and sticky fingers break some of my precious memories. Another few years and I'll be able to put out the lovelies again.
    I'm a bit hesitant to wrap my gifts and put them under the tree. I'd love to free up that space in my closet, but I wonder how many times I'd have to re-wrap them...I did mention curious toddlers, right?
    Maybe you could post more pictures after you stick wrapped packages under the tree; that might satisfy me. Besides, I imagine you have prettier wrapping paper than Frosty and Winnie the Pooh!

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  11. Magical!

    Oh yes, I know that feeling,
    pulling out those treasures from preschool.

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  12. Your tree looks wonderful. Love the little Delft clogs and the mittens....all of it so lovely!

    I write my cards this week; so late this year!

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  13. I figured you'd have a gorgeous tree, it certainly suits you. I love the slippers, and also the ball with the elf peeking out. Putting cards on the tree is a great idea. I don't have any vintage ones, but maybe I'll start a new tradition.

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  14. Love those special ornaments, each with its memory and message.

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  15. Lovely, lovely tree. I love the sentimental ornaments too.
    QMM

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  16. Your tree is delightful just as a tree should be. Just lovely and the postcards give such a soft touch.

    Di
    The Blue Ridge Gal

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  17. Oooh...it's just lovely! I miss a real tree, too...for about 3 seconds. ha!

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  18. Beautiful tree.

    We've given each of our three boys an ornament every year, knowing that they'd take them when they struck out on their own. This year Son #2 and his fiancee are putting up a tree, so I asked him if he wanted his box of ornaments. He did.

    I'm glad he'll have a good start on a collection of decorations (he's 23), but I'm sad that I won't be able to see his things on my tree and do some reminiscing.

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  19. It looks wonderful Willow...I love your vintage cards, that is a lovely and original idea, xv.

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  20. Whitney, I remember those toddler days well. There was a time when the only place they couldn't reach was on the top of the fridge, so that's where the wrapped presents waited until Christmas morning.

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  21. Kathy G, my son #2 is 23, too!

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  22. beautiful tree willow...and how cool about the postcards...a tree filled with memories...and i love the hand with heart ornament...

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  23. I do love christmas trees even though I do not put one up. I loved them as a kid, always went with my dad to help pick them out. And I loved the ornaments. Still do to this day. I will always linger over a display of ornaments at a store and when I go to people's homes I like to see what they have on their tree. I have a few that I keep from my parents collection.

    Your tree looks lovely.

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  24. Willow

    Now that's what I call a tree! I think it's touching that you place such special items amongst the baubles. A tree, loving decorated.

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  25. Oh, yea... my kids start feverishly unwrapping ornaments ... I get them to slow them down so I can remember every story... when they start rolling there eyes I have to temporarily give up! -J

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  26. That is a spectacularly beautiful tree Willow, and I love the idea of the old postcards nestling in the branches.

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  27. Lovely, willow. I love the postcards idea!

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  28. Gorgeous! And the postcards idea is oh so clever, too. I like a tree with "everything" on it and they fit right in with your other lovely things.

    Isn't it great when the tree goes up?!

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  29. I love your house and decorating style. Lovely....hope you enjoy the magazine. I certainly do.

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  30. That tree looks wonderful under the high ceiling, we always pick a tree that's just a little too tall, then we have to trim it down...

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  31. Lovely tree. The mitten and ornaments are extraordinary.

    I'm waiting for the day that nostalgia bridges the time between mothering small children now and seeing my children flung like stars out in the bright world.

    Merry Christmas!

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  32. That's your tree? Wow! It really is a manor! Very nice!!

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  33. Willow, your tree is stunning I adore the story it tells with the vintage ornaments and postcards (what a brilliant idea I'm pinching that one) But most of all those priceless ornaments given by your children. Perfect. xx

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  34. Great idea about the postcards willow. You must try and feature some of them on your blog as well.

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  35. Sorry, but when I got to the part about the mitten, I lost it. Oh, my heavens.

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  36. ps: where did you get the pre-lit tree? inquiring minds (like mine) want to know.

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  37. Willow,
    A lovely tradition! Its beautifully
    decorated!
    Hugs, Unks

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  38. OMG! Have you ever heard that 'less is more'? What really gets me is the price the local merchants are asking for a tree!

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  39. That really is lovely, Willow.

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  40. Your tree looks lovely, I am very envious of your ceiling! So much space for a tall tree.

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  41. Your tree looks beautiful, Willow. And I am sappy about sentiment too! I love my children's early 'artwork'.
    We don't have a tree up at Oasis yet, and with all the work around here it will have to wait another week!

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  42. Beautiful tree! And does Mom have some vintage ornaments! Love the idea of your vintage postal cards, tho', 'tis unique, wot? Reminding meself to check on the trees down the road a piece. The nursery features potted ones you can replant in the spring!

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  43. willow i love that you connect straight from your heart and eyes into experiences. the mitten - well you know i'm a soft dad for my children - i love everything that enters their lives and to see that mitten i'm thrown into images and scenes of my kids playing outside in the winter, getting bundled up for school. every ornament on the tree should carry some significance i think and i love that yours is jampacked!!!! a sweet post my friend. have a lovely day at the manor. steven

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  44. willow i love that you connect straight from your heart and eyes into experiences. the mitten - well you know i'm a soft dad for my children - i love everything that enters their lives and to see that mitten i'm thrown into images and scenes of my kids playing outside in the winter, getting bundled up for school. every ornament on the tree should carry some significance i think and i love that yours is jampacked!!!! a sweet post my friend. have a lovely day at the manor. steven

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  45. Hello Willow,

    Your tree looks great! I can relate to not having to untangle lights each year or trying to find replacement bulbs for half a dozen different sets! Although we have tried to buy at least one new ornament each year, there always needs to be a place for the old memories.

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  46. Your tree is spectacular! Here on Tennessee Avenue we've been discussing the pro's and con's of a fake tree. I sure would miss the aroma of fir or pine, but I do see the practical aspects, too.

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  47. Absolutely gorgeous tree and I lovethe assortment of ornaments, especially the momentos of your children.

    We will be treeless this year in keeping with our pledge to serve others.

    I will place a small lighted display on a table so my dog's present can be put out Christmas Eve.

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  48. Country Girl, I got it at Anderson's General Store. It's my favorite place to shop. It's a gourmet grocery and hardward store all rolled into one. I think they might only be in Ohio, though.

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  49. Lovely tree, willow - and yes it is lovely to bring out the old and loved ornaments and bits and bobs at Christmas. Often we have forgotten them and it is such a surprise to unwrap them again.

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  50. Beautiful tree. I love the header as well. Would love to see more pictures of the Manor.

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  51. That tree has all of the
    THREE GRACES --

    Yvonne

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  52. Your tree is just awesome Willow!
    I want to sit in front of it and unwrap a present? :)

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  53. after reading/viewing this post I might break down and get a tree this year. for the last few the 'tree' was the little table top sized norfolk pine

    we can always count on the manor to inspire

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  54. Your tree is absolutely beautiful! I agree with the others...the postcards are a great idea...never thought of that. BTW...where did you put St. Therese? She is moved from the last time I saw her. I'm sure wherever she is standing is perfect. You have such a midas touch when it comes to arranging : )

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  55. Just checking to see if your tree is still in the upright position! :-)))

    (Truth is, I am escaping bookkeeping tasks every now and then - it's a holiday here, all quiet, so I should be able to work efficiently, but getting slowly tired of sorting through bills.)

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  56. Oh willow, your home looks so very beautiful and the modern tree doesn't look out of place at all. As for hanging up those sweet little mittens - you are a very unique person, a real one-off (just like your lovely blog)

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  57. I'm adoring those tiny porcelain shoes !

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  58. Looks pretty, Willow! I'm jealous--I'm at the airport right now, ready to head home from my last fall trip, and I can't wait! I'm finally done for this fall. We plan to do up the tree etc this weekend if we can. I can't wait!

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  59. Wow, your place looks wonderful and warm and inviting. Also looks very peaceful which is perhaps my favorite part.
    I like the perspective from above. . on the stairs?

    You have some fine ideas old postcards are really special. It allows the past to come back and share the festivities with you and family in the present.

    Oh, and yes i would love to take your picture too!

    All the best for the upcoming holidays.

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  60. Just magical! Love the idea of tucking vintage postcards among the branches. Like you I pack my tree with everything I've saved over the years. I have a couple of sweet ornaments the kids made me as well as things I made during my crafting years.

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  61. LadyCat, St. Therese is still presiding over her spot in the corner window sill. She's on the opposite side of the room, so she's not visible in this pic.

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  62. It looks lovely--we're so far behind on this! No decorations up at all yet.

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  63. Exquisite! I love your vintage ornaments. My mother-in-law, before she passed away, was an avid postcard collector. I just love those old ones. They can be so interesting and so can the messages on them.

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  64. Willow - we are kindred spirits when it comes to trees . . . and I bet we have more than a few of the same ornaments! (I have, for instance, those Dutch china shoes.) Probably one of my VERY favorite things is decorating the tree and unwrapping all of the precious, memory-laden ornaments. I have all of my childhood ornaments, and when my children leave home I will give them a box of ornaments -- just as my mother did for me. (Everyone gets a new ornament each year.) I can't imagine doing a tree any other way.

    I love the idea of the vintage postcards. That is a nice unique Willow touch!

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  65. LOVE your tree! It looks simply FESTIVE!

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  66. Very very merry and Christmasy

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  67. What a beautiful tree, Willow! I love. The vintage postcards are a wonderful touch. What a marvelous idea!

    Happy Christmas,
    Jen

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  68. Awesome tree Wilow; the mitt got to me too. I collect old postcards and old christmas cards; great idea! Just make sure not near a light source. Maybe on a table. The ornamentation is marvelous! Reminds me of Victoriana memories; very quaint. Reminds me of sitting round the fire and having an eggnog listening to Bing and shaking presents! Let's go carolling!

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  69. My tree won't go up until a week or so before Christmas is to arrive, though it comes out of a box and spreads out all ready with its set of tiny lights. I used to have real trees each year and finally could not spare the expense or the effort to bring one home. The best evergreen I bought was on Christmas Eve in Montreal and a cab driver not only put it into his trunk, but carried it into the apartment for me. I had no decorations then and just having a beautiful tree in the living room was perfect for the time.

    I have some ancient glass ornaments from my grandmother that were made in 1907, and a few bubble lights from the 50s with their original boxes. The latter go on my box tree but are not plugged in. They just sit nicely among the other lights.

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  70. There is a noticeable preference this year for lights to be only white, or only yellow. I am very much in favour of this trend. As a child we had incredibly dangerous real candles on the tree. As I remember them, there were about 40 on special counterbalanced candle holders. On New year's eve, we would light them all again and sit there in the almost dark until the last one went out. Christmas is for children! My mother organised very special ones.

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  71. Willow - some time ago you bought a vintage sled. Did you find a place for it in your Christmas decor?

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  72. The kids' ornaments always leave my heart warm and fuzzy :)

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Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)