Sunday, January 2, 2011

My tree is still up, so it must still be Christmas, right?

Just wanted to post some pictures of our holiday home.


Most people come in the side door, though

Our tree

I love bubble lights:

Every year we say, “This is the best tree EVER”. And every year we are right! I am of the “put everything you own on the tree” school. Here again, is an example of my ‘collage’ style of decorating – if a few look pretty, then dozens will be fabulous!

We actually have more than one tree (of course). Here’s a little vignette that I put together when The Child was a little girl:

It’s a Teddy bear tree with miniature ornaments and a merry band of bears caught in the midst of adorning it, complete with the poor fellow teetering on the star.

Another tree is the one that The Child gifted me with a few years ago:

It’s an Oz tree with green lights and a sparkly ruby red skirt for all of my Oz ornaments.

I treasure this one so much – both because of the giver and because I finally have somewhere to display my ornaments. They ended up getting lost in the myriad of ornaments when I put them on the big tree. Now you can see and appreciate each one.

Some of Mr. Kim’s Christmas village collection:

These are charming, but hard to display to their full potential in a small house. I once knew someone who set up her village under her tree, but I love the pile of vari-colored packages and bags under there, so our village just gets spread around everywhere.

Even the kitchen gets bedecked with elves in the window, plate racks with Christmas themed china, a little tree adorned with lemons and Banshee’s cabinet:

Our centerpiece:

Pristine and perfect. It is sadly spotted and be-crumbed now. And surrounded by all the clean serving dishes that need to be packed away – SOON.

The living room:

Avaricious collectors that we are, we ALSO have a treasure trove of Santas:

These, too, are spread all over the house – two of my favorites are in the dining room:

This painted ceramic tableau is one that I painted when we lived in Indiana. I have always loved the hominess of the scene – Santa perusing his list, the elves busily at work and the Mrs. bringing in a sustaining treat for everyone.

This cooky jar is one that I really treasure. My great aunt Antonia Terelli (Tut – pronounced like ‘put’) had a ceramic shop in Little Rock. In 1969, when I was 10, Aunt San and Pop Denson ordered one of these for every individual family in the Terelli branch of the family. We all got these cooky jars on Christmas Eve at their annual celebration. On his book that he’s writing in it lists “Aunt San, Pop, Marty (Momma), Kim, Teddy and Chuckie (cousins)”. Each jar was personalized for the family that it was going to. Setting this out for the last 40-some years has been a wonderful ritual. Momma and Ted spend Christmas with us now, so last year she gifted it to me! Aunt San and Pop are gone now, but looking at that cooky jar I can remember beautiful Christmas Eve parties – Aunt San’s cold buffet with her delectable sugar cookies and fudge (which I still make every year), being blinded by the lights on Pop Denson’s big movie camera (you saw spots for the first quarter hour in the house – and if he wasn’t ready for you, you had to troop back outside and do your big entrance again) and the sheer VOLUME of our big Italian-Southern American clan. I remember going out into the clear, cold night – with snow, if I was lucky – followed by “Merry Christmas”, “We’ll come by tomorrow and see your Christmas” and “I’m gonna call you and ‘Christmas Gift’ you before you even get the sleep out of your eyes!” (Do you know this tradition? It’s good luck if you can say ‘Christmas Gift’ to someone before they can say it to you – if you talk fast, you can ‘Christmas Gift’ a whole room full of people in one breath – especially if they all have their mouths full of ham biscuits!) Some nights, before going home, we would circle through Washington DC and drive by the magical decorated windows at Lord & Taylor, The Hecht Co. and Woodward and Lothrop – beautiful stores! If you went to the Pageant of Peace at the Mall before Christmas you would see the reindeer. But on Christmas Eve they were gone – off at work! These memories are exactly why I do my Christmas Eve dinner and celebration for family. After growing up with such a wonderful tradition, what else could I do? I couldn’t bear the thought of a quiet, contemplative Christmas Eve. I needed too many people, too much food and a raucous, riotous party!

I’ve done my darnest to spoil The Child rotten (another cherished family tradition – Aunt San used to joke that other people’s children might be brats, but ours were just overtired or hungry), so she has TWO stockings. The regular one for Santa to stuff with candies and trinkets and a big tangerine in the toe:

And this one for the overflow:

So – a belated Merry Christmas from me, with much love and appreciation!

Up next - the FOOD!!!


  1. Ohhhhh, YOUUUUUUUUUUU! What a wonderful, magical house. I want to come there before you take it all down and just wander in what Chris calls my "Antique Store" walk---hands behind my back so as to present the least knocking-off surface amongst all those precious things. I could just get lost in the Oz tree and perhaps---perhaps---take the balloon wherever it took me.

    And I was thinking of Banshee just now, after reading the last post---she and Otis were the only two names I knew.

    Do post lots of pictures of the food---I "went so light" (my Mother's phrase) on decorating (but you should SEE what Caro did!) and on cooking and having gatherings, it seemed like just an airy whiff of pine and sugar through the house, nothing more.

    I'm trying to get up my nerve and post the reason I've always overdone on Holiday things---it's many years in the making, and still almost too tender to tell.

    Please post every minute of your gatherings and parties, even breakfast.

    love and,

  2. Just beautiful Kim, the whole house, but that big tree is simply amazing. you and I have an awful lot in common, I decorate the hell out of my house for every holiday,and most of my best things are from garage sales!
    We always got an orange in our stockings as kids, and i continue the tradition..
    except this year, I gave my son a little can of mandarin oranges and he loved them.
    May you and yours have a happy blessed new year.

    Quick ps

    I saw the lollipop things you made for Halloween,and you said they were a pain to make? I was thinking, couldn't you make them with plain donut holes and decorate as the same?? Just a thought..

  3. Good Lord, Kim! How many boxes does it take to store all that the rest of the year?!?!

    I don't think Santa's Lane at Macy's has more decorations!

    I would be envious with even a quarter of that up around me!

    I will put my little tree with its crystal ornaments away on January 7th (the day after Three Kings Day AKA The Twelfth Night of Christmas.) It will take two minutes. Then you can envy me. :-P

    Hope all is well, or at least getting there in your world.

    Happy New Year, Kim and Mr. Kim,

  4. Rachel – I have that same exact ‘Antique store walk’. Sometimes I’ll ‘see’ myself doing it and realize that I look like a little girl who has just been admonished to keep my hands to myself! I used to get that ‘bull in a china shop’ comment a LOT! The food post is coming – first I’m going to post some comments that a cousin sent to me and a couple of ‘confession’ pictures (nothing awful – you’ll see).

    I hope that you DO get up the nerve to post about overdoing. Tender tales (both sweet and bittersweet) are specialities of yours.

    Christine – I love finding someone who shares my love of holiday excess. And the can of mandarin oranges made me laugh. I am a big, giant fan of those – in fact, the first time that I tasted a fresh one, I was totally disappointed! And your idea about donut holes?? Genius! I can try that soon, since I can buy just a few of them for an experiment.

    Anon – thank you! As far as Macy’s is concerned, we actually DID have more decorations than in our local Macy’s. It was a pitiful display this year – a few square feet of ornaments on maybe 5 trees tucked in to a corner in the basement in the furniture section. Sad effort for what I always think of as “The Christmas Store”. And I will most certainly be envying you this weekend – we will be beginning the ‘take down’ and it takes forever without any of the joys associated with the ‘putting up’!