Christmas Day

Christmas Day at our house, after church service, looked something like this...

...tasty appetizers

...a twirling Sugar Plum Fairy toys

...special gifts wrapped in a discarded nautical map of Martha's Vineyard

...a new doggie sweater, which someone in this family keeps saying "looks stupid", but gets put on her (by said person) again and again

...and post-dinner charades, where we learned that they can be played by children age four and up, but a 2 1/2 year old can't quite grasp the concept, and a 1 1/2 year old just eats the clues.

I hope your Christmas was filled with the hope of Christ, and love and laughter of family too!

Christmas Doings at our Home

Christmas is nearly here! The month of December is nearly over. We are about to turn the calendar page to 2017. And my blog image is still stuck in autumn. 

In late-October, I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease and started on a treatment plan. Instead of blogging in the evenings, I needed to heed what my body was telling me and rest and attempt to release the tension wracking my body. You see, hearing what it's saying is easy. Knowing what I ought to do is easy. But heeding what my body is saying is the hard part. But I'm getting better at it. And my sweet family has been a big help, enabling me to still enjoy the holiday season and rest when I need to do so.

In quick highlights, here's a glimpse at the Christmas doings in our family...

In early December, we drove north to spend a day with Max and take a plate of Christmas treats to the Coasties on his boat. Posing here before one of the many lobster trap Christmas trees that highlight the town greens of coastal Maine towns.

We fetched our Christmas tree from our local cut-your-own, family-run business, which is down a narrow, bumpy, dirt road. And the family offers their maple syrup for purchase with your Christmas tree. Love it! 

Decking the halls tops my list of favorite things to do at Christmas time! This year, I used these beautiful metal wreaths (an antique store find) mixed in with the ribbons on the stair garland.

My favorite new vignette this year though was this tray on the front entry table. Super simple! Quick instructions: take one large, silver tray and add clear glass cylinder candle holders and multiple mercury glass candle holders, add tea lights and various height white candles, fill in the gaps with mirrored and ivory-colored ornaments. Light and watch the magic happen...the ohhs and ahhhs!

The family room decked out for Christmas.

I've been having fun playing with the tabletop contents of the sofa table this year, with the intention being to provide interesting things for the grandkids to look at and/or touch. Top row, left to right: a glittery lamb under a cloche and on a majolica plate (to remind us that Jesus is the spotless Lamb of God), an antique basket full of mercury glass acorns and pinecones (because the real variety abound on our property), baby Jesus in a manger, a stack of antique Dickens Christmas books. Bottom row, left to right: a stack of coffee table Christmas books, a clove-studded orange in a pewter porridger, a book entitled An American Christmas, a book of Christmas poetry with a magnifying glass, and an antique crockery bowl filled with walnuts for cracking and eating.

My shop did fabulously this season, and I am immensely grateful for all my wonderful customers! Thank YOU!

We had our annual Christmas party. I felt well enough to bake cookies, but hired someone to clean my house for the first time in my life. Oh my. That is strange, and kind of wonderful! Those are cookies lined up as far as the eye can see.

Hubby and I are ready for the party!

It has been a delightfully snowy December! We don't always have snow before Christmas, so I'm really happy about this! Our front door on a snowy morning.

Lots of snow means lots of snow blowing! And lots of shoveling! But there's no shoveling for me this year. It's my season to just provide the hot coffee afterwards.

A gorgeous scene from rural New Hampshire as the storm moved out that evening.

The grandkids came over this week for a fun morning of candy making!

And now the presents are wrapped and under the tree! Max is home for Christmas! Everyone is spending Christmas at our home this year, and we are rejoicing at that!

A very blessed Christmas from our family to yours!

Supporting Handmade this Christmas

In all the hustle and bustle of shopping for Christmas this year, I'd like to recommend to you some excellent Etsy shops, if you are inclined to support handmade and made in America this year. All of these shops are owned by relatives, friends, and/or have products that I'm continually impressed with.

My daughter's Etsy shop, NortheasternNautical, has a selective collection of nautically-themed or New England woods-themed Christmas stockings. This is one of my favorites!

Brown Plaid Wool Christmas Stocking, Cocoa, Chocolate, Tartan, New England, Scottish, Holiday, Lumberjack, Woodsy, Mountains, Lodge, Preppy
Click here to view this one.
A dear, dear friend on the west coast has turned her passion for vintage photographs and ephemera into unique, one-of-a-kind pendants in her shop, OneSmallStory. The back of each one contains an appropriate word, snippet of antique lace, or a pressed flower or herb. She takes custom requests too! I just bought a Jane Austen-themed pendant from her, but I left this Emily Dickinson one for someone else!

Emily Dickinson Locket Woman Writer Pendant Literary Jewelry Gift for Writer Gift for Book lover gift under 20
Click here to see this pendant.
Our family has a young friend, who aside from being a hardworking new husband and an avid runner (looking forward to cheering him on in the Boston Marathon next year!), spends his spare time making amazing creations from wood. His shop, maillouxWoodcraft, is just starting out, and I predict great things for it! The attention to detail really shines in his products. Just look at the patterns of the grain in this cutting board!

Solid Maple Butcher Block Cutting Board - Small
Click here to view this cutting board.
One of Etsy's sweetest sellers is a fellow New Englander, Sam of TurtleDoves. She makes "pretty things with a literary flair". I love sending her cards to friends, because I just KNOW they're going to be as smitten by the card as I was when I bought it. And her magnets are beautiful too. My mom was thrilled with the set I bought for her!

Digital Download - 5x7 Jane Austen Note Card, I Have Loved None But You
Click here to view this card.
If you're like me, at this time of year, you're looking around for just the right calendar(s) for the new year. For several years now, I've enjoyed the inspirational hymn calendars from LittleThingsStudio. I know friends and family who have her calendars and other products, and we all just LOVE them! And she does art prints, like the lovely one below, too!

For the beauty of the earth, For the glory of the skies, For the love which from our birth, Over and around us lies.
Click here to view this print.
I hope you'll seriously consider supporting these and other small, home-based businesses through their Etsy sites this Christmas season and all through the coming year, whenever you have a gift to buy for someone else or a need of your own. Support handmade!
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