Christmas is Coming…

Christmas is a season of tradition- truly delightful for a traditionalist like me! Like surely most families, my family has many Christmastime rituals and traditions; which we look forward to and relish every year. The first of these traditions is our tree-decorating party, which occurs on the Sunday closest to December 10. Once the tree is up, Christmas has truly begun!

Christmas Magazines

Inspiration for our Christmas decor comes from the nostalgic charm of England

Christmas Mess

Preparing for the next day’s decorating party

The starting point for all of our Christmas parties is appropriate music- without it, it’s hard to get into the Christmas spirit. I love the classics like Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole, because they evoke childhood memories and all the delight of the season.

Christmas CDs

Some more of my favourite music- Coldplay’s Viva La Vida is included because it was a gift to my brother on one especially lovely Christmas, and it conjures up happy memories of that year

Christmas CD Bocelli

Andrea Bocelli’s collection of Christmas tunes is wonderful

Every year, my family purchases a real Christmas tree. It is an extra expense and it takes extra work- but we spent several Christmases in an apartment with an artificial tree, and have no desire to revisit those days! It really wouldn’t be Christmas without having to sweep up needles, trying to remember to water the tree, and the smell of pine throughout the entire house!

Christmas Tree Before

This year’s tree, before the ornaments are on

Our annual tree-decorating party is always a delightful affair, full of hors d’oeuvres and eggnog and fun! While the trays of hors d’oeuvres were baking (thank goodness for ready-made dishes on days like this!), I set about decorating the mantelpiece.

Mantel 2

I’m so grateful to have a mantelpiece to decorate at Christmastime!

Mantel 3

Charming strands of lights mixed with greenery create a warm atmosphere

Mantel 4

I chose gold as the mantelpiece’s primary colour, since it is a classic holiday tone that contrasts beautifully with the blues of the coastal painting

Finally, it was time for hors d’oeuvres! We had mini beef Wellingtons, mozzarella sticks, jalapeno bites, and an assortment of cheese hors d’oeuvres. Champagne and eggnog were our beverages- the champagne being leftover from my book launch celebrations!

Christmas Champagne

Champagne- such a classic

Christmas Food

Delicious hors d’oeuvres give us all the energy we need for our tree-decorating festivities

Trawling through our huge collection of Christmas ornaments- accumulated over many years- we began to decorate the tree. There’s never enough room for all our ornaments on the tree! I think we’d need a 15-foot tree in the hall of a country house to fit everything on…

Reindeer Ornament

A part of my collection of reindeer ornaments

Our sweet-tempered dog Crumpet, who is always eager to be a part of the family activities, supervised the decorating. He also tried to help himself to some of the buffet- see what I mean about “eager”?

Crumpet with Wreath

Crumpet in a festive mood

Crumpet on Table

Cheeky…

Once the tree was done and the hors d’oeuvres had settled, it was time for dessert. I enjoyed a mince tart and revelled in the results of our efforts!

Mince Tart

Mince tarts are essential. They are my absolute favourite Christmas treat, and they remind me so much of England

Christmas Tree After

The radiant finished tree

Now that the tree is up, I’ve caught the Christmas bug! With mince tarts, sparkling lights, and a gorgeous tree in the house, the anticipation is high. Christmas is such a lovely time of year, and I’m looking forward to all the rest of the wonderful traditions it brings!

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