A HAPPY CHRISTMAS FROM BEL’OCCHIO

 

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It has been my greatest joy to be part of your lives dear friends.     The mince tarts are cooling on the kitchen table.  The tree has been decorated with treasured ornaments.  There are garlands of fresh cedar boughs  throughout the house.  I’ve made a lovely pot of Yorkshire tea.  Put a bottle of champagne on ice.  Charlie Brown’s Christmas music is tinkling in the background.  I am ready and waiting for you all to share with me this glorious time of year.  May this be the happiest of days  for you and all you love.  A very Merry Christmas to all from you friend Virginia.

THE DAY BEFORE CHRISTMAS

It’s very early Christmas Eve morning.  I have just added the last Christmas tree adornment.  It is my tradition.  The newest decoration goes on the tree first.  Then Christmas Eve day the oldest decoration.   His name is Hansel.  He is over seventy years old.  Made of celluloid.  My sister Heather has Gretel.

One Christmas Day they will be together again.

I love the ancient, glowing look of my nativity set.  Another cherished Christmas tradition.  It arrived over forty years ago  for the first Christmas of our son, Callum.

I sip my morning coffee and wrap the last of the gifts.  Preparations for dinner tomorrow have begun.  The kitchen has a delicious aroma of roasted sweet potatoes, for sweet potato mousse.  I’ve baked more rosemary walnut crisps, and sweet buns for breakfast tomorrow.    The dining room table is layered with several linen tablecloths. The largest sweeps the floor like an elegant gown.  Enormous crisp Irish linen napkins, gold chargers, and two massive candelabra celebrate the day.  Tomorrow I’ll add fragrant, fresh cedar boughs and white poinsettias.  My slow Christmas has worked out wonderfully.

Tiny Tim in Dickens’ Christmas Carol has the last word.

“God bless us everyone.”

THE RITUAL OF THE CHRISTMAS TREE

The lot that sells Christmas trees is on the main street in our Village of Ladner.   Around the third week in November I begin watching for signs the trees are arriving.  First the fence goes up, then the poles for the trees.  At last the trees arrive. For me  Christmas has begun.

The ritual for selecting the trees is always the same.  The Good Husband goes in one direction.  I go in the other.  Each searching for the perfect tree.  It’s a gentle day. I walk through a forest of  evergreens.  A carpet of cedar chips mingles with the fragrance of the pine needles.  The secret to finding the perfect tree is to look for one with the broadest base.  It should have the thickest branches.    The Good Husband holds up a tree.  Too sparse.  I spy a fat looking tree with a broad base.  It is the one.  But then every year the tree we pick regardless of what it looks like,  is the perfect tree.

 

Putting up the tree is a two-day event.  The first day is the complex procedure.  The Good Husband sets up the tree, and then arranges the lights.  Sister Heather has sent me a pair of sparkling red birds.  The newest decoration is the first decoration to adorn the tree.

 

 

I bring out boxes of memories, and hang them on the tree.

 

Fifty-five years ago my Mother gave me this tiny copper kettle.  It is time worn and part of the spout is missing.    I hang it front and center.

 

 

I pour a glass of sherry.  The tree is taking on a sparkling attitude.  I love the whimsey of  this  monkey.

 

Birds perch on the branches singing Christmas Carols.

The last decorations are “the angels”.    They are my favorite.  So much so one year I couldn’t put them away.   The Christmas angels spent a lovely year in various rooms in our home.

 

 

 

 

I adjust a glittering ball or two.  Step back and admire The Tree.  Sparkling, twinkling, happy Tree.

 

 

I’ll wrap more presents   This tree is calling for them.

 

 

The ritual of the Christmas Tree ends.

We admire.

Sit by the fire.

Watch A Christmas Carol.  The best one with Alister Sim.

The Good Husband and I enjoy our “slow Christmas:”.