The Christmas Tree

My tree is a book of memories.  The ornaments are from multiple generations.  I’ve purchased some, some my mother made or bought, some are from my grandparents and a few from the great grands.  Each Christmas as I open the boxes of carefully packed ornaments I am reminded of the many Christmases past, those special family moments, trips I’ve taken, special friends, and anticipation of what this Christmas will bring.

 

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Acquiring the tree is the first step.  My family always has a live tree and acquiring the tree was always an adventure.  One of the first Christmas trees I remember involved a trip to the family farm to cut our own tree.  The following year the farm was gone so we were off to the tree lot.  Drama ensued when Snowball, my puppy, escaped from the station wagon only to be found curled up by the heater in the cashier’s hut after much drama and tears.  That year was somewhat cursed.  My Dad cut off too many branches from the bottom of the tree as he put the tree in the stand and had to wire them back on to please my Mother.  Once the tree was set up, lights added and fully decorated, my Dad climbed the ladder to carefully place the china angle on the top of the tree.  This angel was cherished and beautiful and a wedding gift.  Yes, you can guess, disaster ensued as the ladder collapsed resulting in Dad on the floor, tree on top of him, and broken glass ornaments scattered across the living room floor.  I still recall my Mother’s cries of my angel, my angle as my father was trapped on the floor under the tree.   Dad was rescued, the tree put back up, new ornaments purchased, and a new tree topper located.

 

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The one thing I never got was why my Mother refused tinsel on the tree.  Her Mother’s tree was a work of art with icicle tinsel perfectly draped.  Her trees were the most gorgeous one’s I’ve ever seen.  She would begin the weekend after Thanksgivingworking diligently up to Christmas Eve on her tree and emptying cases of icicles in the process.   My Mother hated icicles and they were banned from our house.  Then again she decorated three live trees., a small formal one for the living room, the large one in the family room and a white flocked tree in the foyer

I decorate a large tree for the living room and a small tree for the TV room.  They make my Christmas special.

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Finding that perfect gift for the season, a few of my favorite things!

With Thanksgiving  tomorrow and soon to be over, I am ready to dive into Christmas.  I absolutely love Christmas.  Decorating the house, the tree, the shopping, the giving.  I’m funny about gift giving.  I don’t just want to buy something and hand it over for the occasion.  I want to find something special for the individual, something that I think they will like, something that makes them feel like I put thought into purchasing just the thing for them.  This year I’m taking a cue from my Cuz who shared something of herself with me for my birthday.  So this year for my gift guide, I’m thinking of my favorite things and how they might be a special something for one of the dear people on my Christmas list.

A few of my favorite things:

1.  Personalized note pads – who doesn’t need a notepad to jot down a reminder list or a note or message?  Why not make it unique by adding a name or initials?  Paper Source and Horchow are my go to stores for stationary.

2.  Calendars – I still like a fun calendar.  Inslee by Design is a go to for me with three options now, the Calendar Girls (my fav), the animals, and food.  What isn’t to love and they come with their own easel.

3.  Scented candles – Jo Malone and Diptyque are two of my favorites.  What is better for Pamper Sunday than a bubble bath with candle and a glass of wine?

4.  Scented soaps – Jo Malone is my go to but I also look for lavender soaps from Provence.

5.  A monogrammed tote – My favorite is from LL Bean.  Their totes come in multiple sizes and colors and may be monogrammed.

6.  A duffel bag for the traveler – The options abound for a duffel from Longchamp to Louis find the one that will fit your traveler.

7.  Jewel case from Leontine Linens – This is one of my favorite things.  I love Leontine Linens.  Their linens are fabulous.  I have a set of lingerie bags and the matching jewel case.   They are constantly in use for travel and I’ve gifted friends with their own custom monogrammed set.  The best yet is they are made to order so you can design exactly what you want for that special person.  Note they have a lead time so think about this one early.

8.  A comfy sweater or pullover – What is better for a Christmas gift than a cashmere sweater or pullover.  The sweater pictured here is from J. McLaughlin and is soft and comfy.  I also love the Vineyard Vines three-quarter zip pullovers for lounging at night.  This is a go to for those cold winter nights.

9.  Gloves – Who doesn’t need a new pair of gloves for those cold winter mornings?  It is already chilly here.  Those pictured here have the seamed fingers so you can use your phone!

Other favorite things for my list include Moravian cookies or sugar cake from Dewey’s Bakery, poinsettia or amaryllis for those who have everything and will enjoy something pretty for the season, a warm throw for those times you just want to curl up with a good book (so many options are out there from an H blanket to a faux fur throw from Pottery Barn).  A donation to a the charity that your friend or family member supports is another  great option.  The goal is to be creative, to think outside the box, to find that gift that places a smile on your friend or family member’s face.

 

 

 

The Perfect Gift

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This post is credited to my sister from another mother also known as my cousin who is inspired as well as this amazing, cool, wonderful, person.

This past weekend I  enjoyed a long overdue girls weekend with my cousin.  We both have fall birthdays and decided it was time to catch up, lounge around, and play some tennis.  She arrived at my house with  a lovely birthday gift.  As she explained “her madness” behind the gift, I started smiling.  Per her usual brilliance, she hit this one out of the park.

My gift was a basket of her favorite things.  Absolutely brilliant!  She was sharing something of herself with me.  That alone brought this huge smile to my face.  She lives too far away and we keep up via text and phone and visits but this basket brought things into my everyday life that I will use after she’s gone home.  She is leaving something of herself behind and every time I pick up  something from the basket I’ll think of her and feel her with me.

I always struggle with gift giving.  I spend hours thinking of what that perfect gift is.  Cous knocked it out of the park making the answer to that question so simple.  Give something of yourself!  What a wonderful life lesson.

So the next time you need to find that special birthday, hostess, Christmas, house-warming or other gift, ask yourself – what are my favorite things?

So what was in the basket?  First, the basket itself is simply beautiful.  I’m filling it with reading material and it will sit beside my favorite chair.  Cousin’s favorite candle with the scent of dessert.  Books on Charleston!  Our common ancestors are from the Holy City and we’ve spent much time visiting there over the years.  The beach, the market, the food and fun.  What a wonderful addition and it will fit in with my reading basket.  Lotion and material for my pamper Sundays and last but not least, the purse light she knew I coveted!

P.S.  Everyone who has a tote or hobo bag should have one of the purse lights.  They are amazing and you can find stuff that otherwise hides from you in your bag.

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