Christmas tree with my needlework light close by!I'm sure everyone is gearing up for their holidays. I'm a little behind in the decoration department because I decided to tear things apart and really have at the cleaning. In any event, in this house we celebrate multiple holiday as my husband is Jewish. I myself love to celebrate anything and everything so we have an open house on Christmas Eve, light bayberry candles on the Winter Solstice and celebrate Chanukah. In general, we celebrate the arrival of winter - despite the fact we are in Florida.
We both were born and raised in New York - once a New Yorker, always a New Yorker, and honestly, I'd probably go back if I knew I wouldn't have to drive in the snow - it terrifies me. Anyone who has lived in Florida for a good length of time dresses appropriately for our winter - anything below 70 degrees and out come the sweaters, boots, coats - seriously!!!! And we all complain about the how cold it is. Meanwhile, relatives and friends who live where it really is cold just have no sympathy or patience. We live where it is really hot most of the year, I guess it thins the blood and we freeze when the mercury heads below seventy, what can I say? I won't even go into how we react to fifties - and yes, it drops down that low sometimes.
I'm always hoping it will be chilly around Christmas and especially Christmas Eve. Our little condo is the standard brand - and almost forty years old, but quite cozy and nice. The one thing that was missing and I desperately wanted was a fireplace. Well, there's just no adding a real fire place to a condo. Being me, I went on a quest to find a way. I didn't want an electric fireplace because they actually give off heat. In my search, a few years ago, I found something called a ventless fireplace at Plow and Hearth - see this link -http://www.plowhearth.com/Petite%2DVisionary%2DJelled%2DFuel%2DFireplace_p8278.html
This is almost exactly what mine looks like. Those "logs" are ceramic and you place these little cans of natural alcohol gel behind them. This stuff actually crackles and pops just like a real fireplace, but... no heat to speak of, all natural, no toxins. It looks like they are using two cans of gel in this photo, and you can use up to three. I have only ever used one. I remember when we first got it, friends came over and I lit the fire. All of a sudden I noticed no one was talking, we were all staring at the fire, listening to the crackling - we were all delighted. So I use it quite a bit and it makes me feel like I've got the real deal. And yes, we hang our stockings there too! Even in the summer time one can use this since there isn't any heat - yay!!!
My husband never celebrated Christmas growing up, of course. He came from a very conservative Jewish home. There was quite a to-do when we married, I can tell you and not from my side. However, it all worked out and I was extremely close to my in-laws. They would come to our place for Christmas. My hubby tends to get really excited about Christmas despite the fact that we rarely exchange more than one gift. We've been married for over 31 years, there just isn't anything we need. Still, he wakes me early, asking, "Is it Christmas yet?' and drags me out of bed. I usually find that he's been up, the tree is lit and the music is playing. He's very sweet.
When I was a little girl, one of my aunts lived in Germany as her husband was in the army. She sent us advent calendars and since then I have just loved them. I always buy one for myself and this year is no different. I purchased mine from The Victorian Trading Company, http://www.victoriantradingco.com/, along with my holiday cards. I love all things Victorian and this is a great place. Ah... I just realized I haven't opened the little window for today... better do that!
I bet you're wondering about the pork! Yes, hubby eats pork, we do not keep Kosher. There are many things he strongly adheres to: never drives or even leaves the house on the high holidays, etc. but the man loves a pork roast! What can I say?
For Chanukah, I make latkes (potato pancakes), the delight of my husband's life, and we light candles. DH would eat those pancakes every night if I made them. Where he puts them, I don't know, he eats a truckload. You would think I was feeding a family of ten. I prefer Chanukah early in December because it takes the edge off waiting for a gift, LOL, but many is the time that we are lighting the menorah and the Christmas tree is decorated nearby, and the Solstice candles are burning merrily too. It's all good, don't you think?
Perhaps if the rest of the world thought this way there really would be peace on earth. And now... off to open today's window on the advent calendar and brew a cup of tea!
last year's celebration