It is very gray and very cold and very icy out today, but I am happily installed by the wood stove with a roaring fire, feeling a bit Christmas-y and nostalgic.
Wanna be nostalgic with me?
When I was in grade school, I had the kookiest choral teacher ever.
I was a bit young to appreciate his kookiness at the time, but now I look back on those crazy, wacky lessons with fond memories.
One of the kooky things he did was to re-write his own version of "We wish you a Merry Christmas" so that the song went a little something like this...
We wish you a Merry Christmas,
We wish you a Happy Hanukkah,
We wish you a Blessed Solstice
And a Happy New Year!
Now that I am 32 I really appreciate that whole sentiment and think he was on to something.
With that in mind on this first day of Hanukkah, with the Solstice and Christmas very near, I thought I'd share with you some photos from around the house...
Last year for Christmas my friend Julie gave me a single vintage ornament and she has NO idea how much I loved it...
This year I was on a mission to get some more lovely little vintage ornaments.
They are super-easy to find and not that expensive (especially compared to NEW ornaments) so I highly recommend starting a little collection.
And of course the vintage ornaments, they needed their own tree.
The needle-punch Santa pillow is from my friend Nadine. It's handmade and it's stuffed with balsam needles and I love it. A lot. It's one of those things I look forward to getting out of the "Christmas Box" every year.
A couple different garlands and some mistletoe for smoochin'...
These are some vintage ornaments I got from my friend Meredith this year (she gave me permission to open them early) and they are the COOLEST things ever.
I don't think you can really tell in the photo, but there are the most intricate little winter scenes inside each of these ornaments: European villages, snowy woods, skating ponds.... good stuff.
I'm trying to decide what to do with them, just hang them on the tree like regular ornaments, or maybe I can make some kind of a fun display with them... we shall see!
They actually remind me a lot of the Jake Day dioramas which are a REALLY big deal in my town and one of my favorite Christmas traditions is to go at night and check out the dioramas.
If you are local, you should mos def go see the Jake Day dioramas with your family. They are free to go see and have no "hours" (but it's the most fun to go and see them at night) and you will definitely love them: they are really special.
I didn't realize it until just now, but some of my favorite ornaments are in this picture:
The handmade bell was the favor at Betsy and Andy's wedding (Betsy and Andy are the friends who introduced me to Oliver so they will ALWAYS have a special place in my heart... they actually missed our wedding because their baby girl Hadley was born that day, which is the most excellent reason to miss our wedding ever!).
The dove was handmade by my friend Chris a couple of years ago. It was such a lovely surprise and I truly treasure it and think of her when I see it.
The turquoise bow came from my best friend Kristine at our first ornament swap among our little group of friends five or six years ago. This year she got my ornament at the swap and we didn't even cheat! I like that she has a little bit of "me" on her tree and I have a little bit of "her" on mine.
The origami paper crane is from one of my first Christmases in my own apartment when I was super poor and super single. I enlisted my brother's help with his MAD paper-crane-making skills. My brother can make a paper-crane from the teeniest, tiniest scrap of paper ever. He always leaves them at restaurants as his "calling card."
If he were a criminal, he'd be the "paper-crane bandit."
5 bucks worth of origami paper, some gold thread, a couple strings of white lights and a tree that my Grandpa chopped down for me was all I had that year, and of course I look back on those first "independent" Christmases with very happy memories.
And lastly, the pottery angel: an ornament I bought the first year Oliver and I spent Christmas together as a couple. I got it to remind him of his mother.
And speaking of Ollie, he took this photo of Reuben and I laying down in front of the tree the other night.
I think Reuben heard a reindeer and got up to investigate, which is why he looks "whooshy" in the picture.
I will be back after the holidays with tales of my handmade gifts that I have actually remembered to document this year.
It's funny, of all the things I bought for gifts, I am the most excited to give my handmade items, and of course I am excited to share them with you all as well.
In the meantime, as Mr. Wingard would have said(sang):
I wish you a Merry Christmas,
I wish you a Happy Hanukkah,
I wish you a Blessed Solstice
And a Happy New Year!