Today is apparently the busiest day for holiday traffic as everyone heads for home and family in a grand exodus. Even though we’re not travelling, the dawn of the weekend does seem to signify the proper start of Christmas and the time when relaxation can begin. We have family arriving tomorrow to celebrate, so here’s a quick glimpse of how we’ve decorated the house. Firstly, the friendly stone dogs who stand to attention at our door have abandoned their usual froideur and now bear baubles and festive ribbon, illuminated by the bay trees which are now strung with lights and oversized bells..
The fir lady has been visited by a flock of robins who peck at her skirts (collective noun for robins, anyone?)..
But aside from the fir lady, I’ve opted for a low-key, calm kitchen with just an oversized paper star to catch the eye from the hallway and distract from the frenetic preparations and clutter on every surface..
In the hallway lies my new addition to our Christmas decor; this year we are honoured to host the North Pole Sorting Office, where every letter sent to Santa from around the world blows in steadily, falling in flurries around Santa’s desk and filling his mailbags to overflowing;
As fast as the letters arrive, Santa diligently replies to each one. He’s currently busy writing back to Harry;
His typewriter perches on a ladder, which also holds his reading glasses, special wax seals, bundles of letters and maps and a compass so he can work out where each child around the world is writing from;
(To make this, I printed addresses onto some regular envelopes using different fonts and soaked them in a tray of watery tea before drying on the radiator for an old, worn appearance. The letters blowing in from above are wired together using lightweight florist wire and hung from a removable adhesive hook on the ceiling. For the letterhead paper, I used this lovely printable and simply added my text to it.)
Further down the hallway I’ve arranged a similar tableau to last year (below), with the addition of a basket of magic reindeer food to give to all Believers who cross the threshold and may need a little help to summon the reindeer on Christmas Eve…
I’ve hung Christmas cards simply from lengths of ribbon and clips, wired to the base of the bannister poles..
And of course, most importantly all of all, mistletoe to greet all those who arrive…
We have a real Christmas tree in the Snug, which I’ll share next time along with a few other festive accents. Now, though, I must sign off as I’ve set myself the challenge tonight of mastering spun sugar to decorate an over-ambitious meringue wreath for dessert at lunch tomorrow. The wreath has already collapsed after I accidentally turned the oven on again, forgetting it was quietly cooling down inside. Plan B is to use whipped cream liberally as a distraction…