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!
Inspiration for our Christmas decor comes from the nostalgic charm of England
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.
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
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!
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.
I’m so grateful to have a mantelpiece to decorate at Christmastime!
Charming strands of lights mixed with greenery create a warm atmosphere
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!
Champagne- such a classic
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…
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 in a festive mood
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 tarts are essential. They are my absolute favourite Christmas treat, and they remind me so much of England
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!