Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday Salon: Decorating

It's been a busy week here. Of course, there was the influx of family for Thanksgiving, which was preceded by a flurry of cooking and cleaning. More cooking than cleaning, I'm afraid. Then we all stuffed ourselves shamefully. (But I'm not a half bad cook so it was at least tasty gluttony: turkey, stuffing, squash, dried sweet corn, mashed potatoes, cranberry, green beans with almonds and dill, lemon and garlic spinach, rolls, chived yorkshire puddings, 2 pumpkin pies, cherry pie, and an apple crisp.) Once the tryptophan-induced coma lifted on Friday, while the others zoned out to the raucous cheers of yet more televised football, I decorated for Christmas. And I admit that in this, as in so much, I go a bit overboard. A few small pictures that by no means shows it all.

But when I am decorating (and yes, I realize the entire top of the tree is balder than a babies bottom--that just helps me know how tall the kids are, or in this case, are not, this year), as with any true bibliophile, I have Christmas books I set out to showcase. The collection as it stands right now includes:

The Amazing Christmas Extravaganza by David Shannon
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
Santa's Favorite Story by Hisako Aoki
Letters From Father Santa by J.R.R. Tolkein
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore

I can't figure out what happened to my copy of A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas but the collection would be incomplete without it so I'm on the hunt for it in my now emptied bins. Also, I need to dig out Truman Capote's Christmas Memories, One Christmas, and The Thanksgiving Visitor and Jostein Gaarder's The Christmas Mystery and add the two of them to the pile that comes out every year to sit enticingly on the coffee table.

In addition to these much loved books, my poor children have to endure a mother who has advent calendars where the prize is to pull out a small, ornament book telling a portion of A Christmas Carol, which then gets hung on the already overcrowded tree. None of the stale chocolate goodness that other children find in their advent calendars! Just literary treats here, thank-you very much.

Of course, there are several Christmas-themed books I'm hoping to read for the first time this year as well but whether or not they find a permanent home in the close to my heart collection or not remains to be seen. So far the selections are: The Last Noel by Michael Malone, An Irish Country Christmas by Patrick Taylor, Wishin' and Hopin' by Wally Lamb, Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle (right before I re-gift this teen author collection to my own tween), and Christmas in Camelot by Brenda Jernigan. The latter is one of many Christmas-set romances I have sitting around here but I can only take so much holiday cheer in my reading before I turn into the Grinch.
Distinctly odd in a person with an appallingly large collection of decorations and festive books I'll admit, but I am nothing if not a contradiction in terms. Say, that's another book I need to pull off the general shelves and put in my permanent coffee table collection. Because really, who doesn't love the Grinch? Hmmmm. Wonder if there's a book with Heat Miser and Cold Miser in it or if I'll just have to watch the movie on permanent loop again this year.


  1. Sounds like you had a fun weekend! Have a great week!

  2. This looks awesome! I'm completely jealous!

  3. It looks great, but I don't get the stockings. Aren't you missing at least two? Who gets the tiny one? Someone who only reads paperbacks?

    In my house, it's all about the Xmas stockings.

  4. Love love love that Tolkein one. and am in awe of the decoratedness. Are you sure you're not Southern?

    I actually got the tree up today (my poor mother is rolling in her grave as we speak). It always went up on my bday (21st) and got taken down on the 27th because of the humungous fire hazard you know :) Of course, my poor thing is crooked, already losing needles and only has 3 ornaments. But day by day, 3 at a time it'll be done by Christmas :)
    Hope you find the Dylan Thomas. I have to dig mine out too...

  5. You're making my mouth water with all this talk of food, Kristen. :-) It sounds like you had a great Thanksgiving. And now you're already for Christmas!

    I have a few favorite Christmas books from my childhood that I've pulled out in years past. Even with no children around, I still enjoy looking through them now and then.

    I am hoping to read a couple of holiday themed books this year, including Dickens' The Christmas Carol. I should probably make sure I actually have a copy.

    I hope you have a great week!

  6. Hehe Beth. Well spotted. Actually, the small stocking is the dog's (it's a paw shape) and the kids don't have stockings here. We don't actually celebrate Christmas here (always go to my parents) so I figured it didn't much matter if we had the correct number of stockings or not.

    Birgit, I know I'm about as Yankee as you can get but we do have an over the top holiday decorating gene that would make you think we're southern as you can tell.

  7. Kristen, wow you've had a busy week. I love all the decorations. We have Lachlan's birthday coming up on Friday, so we always put our tree up the day after that. He of course wants it earlier but I think it's important to differentiate the two. I'm also awed and inspired with your Christmas reading list. I usually just manage The Night Before Christmas on the appropriate day. We did see the new move of A Christmas Carol last week, and Lachlan is keen to read that. Shamefully I don't think we have a copy in the house, will have to fix that. And I've never read the Polar Express, though have just reserved it at my library. I'd like to do the Tolkien one too (never heard of it before) but probably won't get a chance this year.

  8. Looks and sounds like you had a fun weekend. When my kids were young we always decorated the w/end after Thanksgiving. Now no tree here.

  9. Your tree is so pretty! We're going to put ours up this weekend, but since we go cut one in the woods it's never as perfectly formed.

    I just skimmed 10 or so of your reviews (WAY behind!) and have to compliment you on the crazy diversity of what you read.


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