A Family Christmas, A Good Home, Canadian Families, Christmas Arrangements, Christmas Decorations

The Week Before Christmas

 

Here, for your viewing pleasure (I hope), are some images from our home in the week before Christmas. We started decorating a few weeks ago.

Blog Photo - Christmas -Advent Calendar

The thing above is our unusual Advent calendar.

Before Advent officially began (December 3 this year), we wrote notes/quotes and put them in the tiny drawers. Important reminders of love, slowing down and appreciating our blessings.

Next, we brought out an oldish but favourite Christmas book.

Blog Photo - Christmas book exterior

Inside are pop-up scenes marking the 12 days of Christmas, which traditionally don’t begin till December 25.

Blog Photo - Christmas Book third day

Blog Photo - Christmas Book Three French Hens

Blog Photo - Christmas Book inside

Then the tree got properly decorated…

Blog Photo - Christmas ornaments Peace Angel

Blog Photo - Christmas Ornaments Golden Dove

Blog Photo - Christmas Tree 2017

Except for the lower branches.  We ran out of lights, planned to replace them before adding more decorations, but forgot.  

Blog Photo - Christmas Living rm 3

Then I assembled this centrepiece — using birch-bark candles by the talented artist Jean Long, pine cones, baubles, whatnots….

Blog Photo - Christmas plate and candles

And Santa’s sleigh, of course.

Blog Photo - Christmas Santa sleigh

Husband had already filled this very old basket with logs for the fire….

Blog Photo - Christmas Fireplace Logs in Basket

Blog Photo - Christmas 2016 - Logs Burning

Finally, the table was set with Christmas plates ….

Blog Photo - Christmas plate setting

Blog Photo - Christmas table2

And then I apparently ruined the “tablescape”.

Husband asked: “What on earth is that?”

“Those are real autumn leaves and real fake berries,” I replied. 

“Hmm,” he said.

I didn’t tell him I planned to replace the leaves with green sprigs. A woman must retain some mystery, after all.
Blog Photo - Christmas Plate with leaves

Wishing you a good week before Christmas and – whatever your special celebration or preparations — I wish you all the best of the season.

 

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A Family Christmas, A Good Home, Christmas Decorations

Everybody’s A Critic…

Blog Photo - Christmas Angel

It’s Advent,  a quiet season that I love. And I’m determined to create something — something special to get into the spirit of preparing for Christmas.

“I’m making a creche!” I proudly declared.

“A creche?” my good man asked.

“Hm-hmm,” I said, eyeing the Christmas decorations. “I must be able to find some stuff around here.”

Blog Photo - Christmas Ornaments Jewelled Pony

Blog Photo - Christmas Ornaments Baby angels

I was so proud of my creation, I sent pictures to the family.

“Er… Mum.” Younger daughter was the first to phone. “What’s that?”

“It’s a creche,” I cheerfully replied.

Blog Photo - Christmas Creche better

“Aren’t you supposed to have just one baby in the creche?” she asked.

“Yes. But Jesus was middle-eastern and I couldn’t find any middle-eastern-looking babies in my decorations, so I used the two little brown babies. They are representing Jesus.”

“What did you use for a blanket, Mum?”

“I used kleenex. Folded.”

Blog Photo - Christmas babies in creche

“Kleenex.” I think I heard her sigh.  “And why do you have bears by the side of the manger? The story calls for three wise men, but you have 6 bears.”

“I do not!”

“Go and check. I’m telling you, those are bears.”

I checked. Those are bears.

Blog Photo - Christmas bears.JPG

“They’re wise bears!” I said, brightening up. “Six wise bears!”

“And is that Santa in the corner?” she accused. “There was no Santa in the Bible story!”

“Okay.  You’re right. But did you like the two golden angels with the trumpets?”

Blog Photo - Christmas Angels in creche

“They’re okay… I guess. But why’s there a penguin? They don’t have penguins in the middle east.”

This had turned into an inquisition. But I knew what I knew. 

“There’s no penguin,” I insisted, on firm ground at last.

“I’ll wait while you go check, Mum. There’s a penguin in your creche.”

Blog Photo - Christmas candles and penguin

I checked. There was a penguin. A tiny one, lower left.

“And is that a lamb?  That’s kinda big for a lamb.”

Blog Photo - Christmas lamb

“Okay, alright,” I said. “But did you like the creche at least?”

“Oh, mum. You really are very special.”

And if you think that conversation is bad, just wait till the older daughter calls.

I’m sure it’s the thought that counts.

But everybody’s a bloomin’ critic.

A Good Home, Bowmanville, Christmas, Christmas Decorations, Christmas in Canada, Christmas Villages

Welcome to Bennyville, the Christmas Village

Happy Thanksgiving to my American family and friends! Here in Canada, we’re roughly halfway between our Thanksgiving (early October) and Christmas.

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Christmas is still more than 4 weeks away, but don’t tell that to my friends at BOAA.

Blog Photo - BOAA bldg side shot

Christmas decorations are already on display in this grand building in Bowmanville’s heritage district, east of Toronto.

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas village red house and track

Blog Photo - BOAA Chrsitmas village and bus on road through village

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas Village City Hall lit up

You can’t help smiling when you enter this educational and recreational centre.

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas Tree

People are friendly. BOAA also holds many fun events and a surprising number of them involve costumes and decorations!

Blog Photo - BOAA Halloween 2-shot

How many associations can say their executive director (the wonderful, witty Angie Darlison, right) was a taco one year and a chicken the next? Not too many, I’d bet. Angie ensures that a sense of humour is alive and well at BOAA.

BOAA is big on celebrating the seasons and occasions, and its volunteers are some of the best decorators of all.

In November, the Christmas trees go up. 

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas Hallway

BOAA stands for the Bowmanville Older Adult Association. It’s run by professional staff and avid member-volunteers.  Its members are very active people 55 years and older. They’re usually on their way to or from classes and activities held at the centre.

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas village gazebo

But when the Christmas village is set out on huge tables in the building’s original front hall, many linger for a while, smiling.

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas village admirer

It’s been at least 8 years since “Bennyville” became a BOAA tradition. 

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas village church

“Benny Young is a member of the BOAA and the entire village is his,” says Angie. 

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas village and road

“When Benny moved to Bowmanville from Nova Scotia he offered to set it up each year at the BOAA for our members and guests to enjoy. He works days and days setting up the village.” 

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas village buildings and people

Angie says some members bring their family and friends to see it. 

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas village santa on roof

“It’s amazing to be in the office, listening to the folks enjoying the village. They look for the bank, the lawyer, the town hall … and of course the older adult centre.   

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas village train and water tank

“The addition of the train a few years ago took some getting used to but we’ve grown to love its sound now too.”

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas village carriage and horse

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas village buildings and truck

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas village at one end

As for me, I am one of those lingering as long as possible. I feel like a small child every time I stop to look. I always think they fit perfectly with the grand old family mansion that became the home of BOAA.Blog Photo - BOAA Historical Bldg

Blog Photo - BOAA Chrsitmas tree 2

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p.s. BOAA is holding a book-signing next Tuesday for Myrtle the Purple Turtle and me. I’m very much looking forward to it! 

A Good Home, An Honest House, Angels, Christmas Decorations, Christmas in Canada, Christmas Traditions, Christmas Tree Trimming, Family, Family Moments, Homes

Decorating With Memories

We prepare our hearts and homes for Christmas. My prayers are more reflective now, my gratitude expands. It’s the season of Advent, the weeks before Christmas.

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Photo by Hamlin Grange

Photo by Hamlin Grange

We also decorate our home with memories of those we love. Each activity, each object reminds us.

Like the year I proudly set the table — and my husband decided it was blah. Out came red and green candles and Christmas glasses instead. Now it’s tradition.

blog-photo-christmas-table

By early December each year, the memories start nudging: it’s time to decorate. 

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Older daughter and son-in-law couldn’t make it from the US, but memories of the whole family together always return on the day we decorate the tree.

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Husband, younger daughter and son-in-law haul in the fresh Fraser fir, haul out the boxes of decorations, string up the lights and we all sip hot cider. The family room’s a happy mess.

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We laughingly remember previous Christmas trees: too small, too thin, or lopsided. But this year, we got it right.

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The ornaments also bring back memories.

My mother’s gratitude and wishes for the following year are written on a scroll in this cylinder. How we all miss her!

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My times working in S. Africa, where these Ndebele dolls were made.

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Some ornaments are just for fun. Like “the disco ball”, that always makes us grin, with memories of the disco days.

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Memories upon memories.

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Tiny Mr. J.C. finally gets tired of all the activity and lies down to sleep, paws up. *Can you see him on the sofa below?* It’s our first Christmas without his best friend Dawson, who would have been asleep at this point too. 

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Blog Photo - Julius and Dawson Sleeping

Do dogs miss their companions? We do. 

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All is calm now. Extra-special thanks are given.

And, as the fire glows in the hearth…

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Santa and the angels look on approvingly, I think. They, too, have kept us company through many a Christmas.

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Blog Photo - Christmas ornaments Peace Angel

From our home to yours, wishing you peace this Advent, good memories, and joyful times at Christmas.

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