Tag Archives: Christmas tree

“Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind.” ~Mary Ellen Chase


“Love came down at Christmas; love all lovely, love divine; love was born at Christmas, stars and angels gave the sign.” ~ Christina G. Rossetti

the-angel-from-on-high

“I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.” ~Charles Dickens

“Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall.” ~Larry Wilde, The Merry Book of Christmas

“Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.” ~Peg Bracken

Christmas ball in tree “The earth has grown old with its burden of care But at Christmas it always is young, The heart of the jewel burns lustrous and fair And its soul full of music breaks the air, When the song of angels is sung.” ~ Phillips Brooks (1835-93), American Episcopal bishop, wrote ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem‘.

“Brew me a cup for a winter’s night.For the wind howls loud and the furies fight; Spice it with love and stir it with care, And I’ll toast our bright eyes, my sweetheart fair.” ~Minna Thomas Antrim

“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”
~Charles Dickens

Chritstmas Tree

“Let’s dance and sing and make good cheer, For Christmas comes but once a year.”
~Sir George Alexander Macfarren

“I heard the bells on Christmas Day; their old familiar carols play, and wild and sweet the word repeat of peace on earth, good-will to men!” ~ Henry Longfellow

“Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we’re here for something else besides ourselves.” ~Eric Sevareid

Victorian Christmas Tree“Christmas is the day that holds all time together.”
~ Alexander Smith

“Christmas is the keeping-place for memories of our innocence.” ~Joan Mills

‘“Christmas is a time when you get homesick – even when you’re home.” ~ Carol Nelson

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” ~Norman Vincent Peale

Christmas Sleigh Ride“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.”~Roy L. Smith

“Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind.” ~Mary Ellen Chase

“Christmas is the gentlest, loveliest festival of the revolving year – and yet, for all that, when it speaks, its voice has strong authority.” ~W.J. Cameron

“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.” ~Burton Hillis

Singers Glen, Virginia  Brick Church in Snow

“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.” ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

“There has been only one Christmas – the rest are anniversaries.” ~W.J. Cameron

“Love came down at Christmas.” ~Christina Rossetti


 

Vintage American Christmas Card with Carolers

“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.” ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

“Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall.” ~Larry Wilde, The Merry Book of Christmas
(***Vintage American Christmas Card above from our family)

“Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.”  ~Washington Irving

christmas-cat-siamese-tabby-mix-with-bow“Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.” ~Peg Bracken

“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love!”~Hamilton Wright Mabie

“I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month.” ~Harlan Miller

(***Kitty Pabel helping to decorate)

“Christmas is the day that holds all time together.” ~Alexander Smith

“Remember
This December,
That love weighs more than gold!”
~Josephine Dodge Daskam Bacon

candle“A Christmas candle is a lovely thing;
It makes no noise at all,
But softly gives itself away.”

“For the spirit of Christmas fulfills the greatest hunger of mankind.”~Loring A. Schuler

“This is the message of Christmas: We are never alone.” ~Taylor Caldwell
~Eva Logue

“At Christmas play and make good cheer,
For Christmas comes but once a year.”
~Thomas Tusser

“It is the Christmas time:
And up and down ‘twixt heaven and earth,
In glorious grief and solemn mirth,
The shining angels climb.”

Chritstmas Tree“Great little One! whose all-embracing birth
Lifts Earth to Heaven, stoops Heaven to Earth.”
~Richard Crashaw

“Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love Divine;
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and Angels gave the sign.”~Christina Rossetti
~Dinah Maria Mulock

If You Love Vintage American Christmas Cards


I do. Here are several more cards and a tag from the stash Mom found in the old family trunk we poured through at Thanksgiving. Each card tells a story and has messages and Christmas greetings penned from friends and family now gone. Some long gone. We even came across my great-grandmother’s dog-eared address book with notes tucked inside and other bits and pieces important to her. Many of these cards were sent to this gracious woman, though not all. She died well before I was born, but through stories I’ve been told and glimpses into her life, I’ve gained a richer understanding of this lovely Virginian who lived in a gentler age, Makes me terribly nostalgic. So hearken back, and Merry Christmas to all.~

Early American Christmas Card--Wintry Scene (2)

Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love Divine;
Love was born at Christmas;
Star and angels gave the sign.”
~Christina Rossetti

“I sometimes think we expect too much of Christmas Day.  We try to crowd into it the long arrears of kindliness and humanity of the whole year.  As for me, I like to take my Christmas a little at a time, all through the year.  And thus I drift along into the holidays – let them overtake me unexpectedly – waking up some fine morning and suddenly saying to myself:  “Why, this is Christmas Day!”  ~David Grayson

Vintage Happy New Year Christmas Card

As you can see, this card is for New Year‘s.~

“It is the Christmas time:
And up and down ‘twixt heaven and earth,
In glorious grief and solemn mirth,
The shining angels climb.”
~Dinah Maria Mulock

“Fail not to call to mind, in the course of the twenty-fifth of this month, that the Divinest Heart that ever walked the earth was born on that day; and then smile and enjoy yourselves for the rest of it; for mirth is also of Heaven’s making.”  ~Leigh Hunt

Vintage Christmas Card wintry scene

We assume this guy is bagging the Christmas goose.~

A tag I particularly like below:

Vintage American Christmas Card Kitty

‘Tis the Season for Rosemary


“There’s rosemary that’s for remembrance. Pray, you love, remember.” ~ Hamlet

Rosemary is one of my favorite herbs, mostly just because. I rarely cook with it, but love its scent and the wealth of history behind it. Known as the herb of remembrance from the time of ancient Greece, it appears in that immoral verse by Shakespeare. My fascination with herbs plays a major role in my ghostly murder mystery romance novel Somewhere My Love, as does Hamlet, for that matter. I always wanted to write a murder mystery with a focus on herbs and parallels to a Shakespearean play, and so I did.

A Modern Herbal by Maud Grieve, a wonderful source of herbal lore as well as practical information on the medicinal uses and growing requirements for a myriad of plants, is an invaluable guide. I have volumes one and two of Ms. Grieve’s work and can easily lose myself in their pages. She refers to her herbal as modern, and in comparison to the ancient herbalists it is, but A Modern Herbal is charmingly quaint and published in the early 20th century.

Regarding Rosemary, she says,

The Ancients were well acquainted with the shrub, which had a reputation for strengthening the memory. On this account it became the emblem of fidelity for lovers. It holds a special position among herbs from the symbolism attached to it. Not only was it used at weddings, but also at funerals, for decking churches and banqueting halls at festivals, as incense in religious ceremonies, and in magical spells.

At weddings, it was entwined in the wreath worn by the bride, being first dipped into scented water. Anne of Cleves, we are told, wore such a wreath at her wedding. A Rosemary branch, richly gilded and tied with silken ribands of all colours, was also presented to wedding guests, as a symbol of love and loyalty. Together with an orange stuck with cloves it was given as a New Year‘s gift…

In early times, Rosemary was freely cultivated in kitchen gardens and came to represent the dominant influence of the house mistress ‘Where Rosemary flourished, the woman ruled.’

The Treasury of Botany says: ‘There is a vulgar belief in Gloucestershire and other counties, that Rosemary will not grow well unless where the mistress is “master”; and so touchy are some of the lords of creation upon this point, that we have more than once had reason to suspect them of privately injuring a growing rosemary in order to destroy this evidence of their want of authority.’ (Meanie heads.)

Bay-RosemaryRosemary was one of the cordial herbs used to flavour ale and wine. It was also used in Christmas decoration.

“Down with the rosemary and so,

Down with the baies and mistletoe,

Down with the holly, ivie all

Wherewith ye deck the Christmas Hall.”—HERRICK.

Rosemary Christmas TreeRosemary Christmas Trees

Although an herb, rosemary is often shaped into lovely miniature Christmas trees. The plant is well suited for this purpose as its essential oils produce a scent similar to pine trees and it has a natural evergreen shape and needle-like leaves.

If you purchase a rosemary plant whether as a Christmas tree or for your indoor herb garden, remember it needs good light and moderate watering. Allow the soil to dry before re-watering to avoid root rot. The most common cause of death for potted rosemary is over watering. In spring transfer your rosemary to a clay pot. The clay will help wick excess water out of the soil. Fertilize monthly to maintain health. To this advice I add that you can also kill them by allowing the plant to dry out, so don’t do that either.

Because rosemary is native to the hot, dry hills of the Mediterranean, growing it indoors can be a problem. You may find you get more dense vigorous growth if it is kept outside during most of the year. Trim the plant periodically to preserve the Christmas tree shape.~

 

“Love was born at Christmas, Stars and Angels Gave the Sign.” ~ Christina G. Rossetti


WINTRYBrew me a cup for a winter’s night.For the wind howls loud and the furies fight; Spice it with love and stir it with care, And I’ll toast our bright eyes,my sweetheart fair. 

~Minna Thomas Antrim

“Love came down at Christmas; love all lovely, love divine; love was born at Christmas, stars and angels gave the sign.” ~ Christina G. Rossetti

“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”
 
“Let’s dance and sing and make good cheer, For Christmas comes but once a year.”
“I heard the bells on Christmas Day; their old familiar carols play, and wild and sweet the word repeat of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
“Christmas is a necessity.  There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we’re here for something else besides ourselves.”
~Eric Sevareid
“Christmas is the day that holds all time together.”
Alexander Smith
“Christmas is the keeping-place for memories of our innocence.” ~Joan Mills

Robin‘“Christmas is a time when you get homesick – even when you’re home.” ~ Carol Nelso
Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” ~Norman Vincent Peale
He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.”~Roy L. Smith
“Christmas, children, is not a date.  It is a state of mind.” ~Mary Ellen Chase
Christmas is the gentlest, loveliest festival of the revolving year – and yet, for all that, when it speaks, its voice has strong authority.”~W.J. Cameron
“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree:  the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.” ~Burton Hillis
 
“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.”
“There has been only one Christmas – the rest are anniversaries.” ~W.J. Cameron
 
“The earth has grown old with its burden of care But at Christmas it always is young, The heart of the jewel burns lustrous and fair And its soul full of music breaks the air, When the song of angels is sung.” ~ Phillips Brooks (1835-93), American Episcopal bishop, wrote ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem‘.

O Christmas Tree


I’m one of the authors sharing holiday memories and prizes as a part of the RomFan Reviews Holiday Blog Hop. To win a digital download of my Christmas release,  Somewhere the Bells Ring, leave me a comment on this post and a contact email.
And now, for my story.  Cutting the Christmas tree ourselves is a significant tradition that dates well back to the years before I was married, with the whole family going together to select and cut it, as we still do. The ranks have grown considerably over the decades and have included guests from foreign countries.
This year (as usual) we went to our favorite tree farm on a hillside outside the quaint hamlet of Singers Glen with all of our children and grandchildren, the youngest just four months old. Quite an adventure. The little people were especially excited, but a good time was had by all. Finding the candy cane tree is the ultimate challenge. Weary from the steep incline, three yr. old granddaughter Emma confided to me, “Dumma (as I’m called because our oldest grandson couldn’t say his G’s so Gumma became Dumma) this gonna be a hard day finding that candy cane tree.” But we did. A happy shout from our son-in-law sent everyone tramping off down another side of the hill.
To mix things up this year, my college art major daughter, Elise, suggested we get the ugliest tree we could find for our immediate household and see what we could do with it. Six year old Ian thought this was a great idea, however, after he’d helped cut it, Ian asked, “Dad has out tree, right?” He didn’t want to get stuck with a dud.
The couple who own the tree farm were glad someone still liked Charlie Brown trees, thinking they’d never sell this one. Not only do they have a beautiful farm, but a wonderful old spring house where the wife serves hot chocolate and visits with guests by a cozy fire in the vintage hearth and children are invited to choose an ornament to take home from their decorated tree. This is the best Christmas tree farm ever.
Visitors from China who’ve stayed with my parents over the years have found this tradition of trekking off to cut an evergreen ourselves rather fascinating, as they do the whole concept of stuffing a large tree into our house and decorating it with eclectic baubles, like the glittered light bulbs our son made when he was in first grade, or the dough angel with glasses my brother created some time ago. But that’s another story.
In the beginning of our marriage my hubby didn’t yet grasp the importance of this communal tree-gathering experience, the snow or mud squelching beneath our boots, haggling over the merits of every pine and spruce on the tree farm honored by our presence. Shortly before December 25th, that first year of wedded bliss, DH turned up with a tree he’d purchased from the local rescue squad––already cut.
I sadly contemplated the little evergreen and tried to make it my own, but this was not to be. Realizing his gross error, Dennis accompanied me at his first opportunity to a neighbor’s farm where we were given free rein to choose a tree from the field that had gone to cedars. After careful searching, he sawed down the tree of our choice, with far less debate than there is now with all the added opinions.
Still, there were difficulties. We hadn’t ever cut a cedar on our own before and didn’t realize how they sometimes grow. When we cut the trunk shorter to fit in the stand, it fell apart into three trees, none of them suitable.
My father, a veteran cedar cutter, took me for the third and final time to choose a tree from the farm our family had traditionally patronized. By this point Dennis, Mom and Dad all agreed that I was becoming somewhat obsessive about the whole thing and perhaps there’s some justification in this, but the pressure was on to select the most perfect tree ever, like Papa Bear in The Berenstein Bears Christmas.
We finally found one, after considerable searching on my part and growing impatience on my father’s, not to mention cold feet. I decorated it lovingly in the little apartment Dennis and I lived in then, but I didn’t bask in its presence for long. The apartment just wasn’t home, so I spent most of the holidays at my parents’ house in front of their tree.
This year Elise and I decorated our ‘challenged’ tree with strings of popcorn and lights, as it’s rather skimpy to hold the traditional ornaments. All in all, it’s not a bad little tree. Quite pretty, really. Ian is impressed.~
*Sometimes it snows at Christmas in the Shenandoah Valley.  Sometimes it doesn’t.  Pics are of the grandchildren, my daughter and daughter in law, the hearth in the old spring house.
***Most of this post is actually from last year, but it’s pretty much the same as what we did this year.

What Goes Up Must Come Down–At Least by April


Yes, I’m speaking of Christmas decorations, and yes, I’ve been known to be somewhat remiss in taking them all down again.  But April is my limit, unless Easter comes earlier and then I prod myself to action sooner.  How did I get this nonchalant, you might ask?  I’m not certain, but suspect it’s the hibernation syndrome I go into this time of year, what with it being winter and all.  And I’m not real keen on putting up Christmas decorations anymore either because of the nagging awareness that this whole process will have to be done in reverse and I’ve noted a definite lack of elves coming to the rescue.

It’s generally just me and an exuberant kitten.  The older cats have grown bored with the whole tree thing.   The dogs like to nap beneath it’s branches, but are useless when it comes to being of any real assistance.  They don’t run the vacuum either.  But you can bet kitten Pavel will be shooting up its trunk like a squirrel and gleefully stealing decorations.  He steals everything else he can get his little paws on, so why not holiday decor. ‘Tearing up Jack’ is the country expression for this behavior.

We’ll know soon enough.  Saturday is the family outing to the local Christmas tree farm to cut the –you guessed it–tree.  Last year we chose a sparse Charlie Brown pine and showered it with love.  It wasn’t such a bad little tree, to quote him.  The tree is one thing I don’t leave up long and not just because the kitten will be taking it apart.  I love a real tree but it will be set up in a corner of the dining room where I don’t hold court.  My domain is mostly the kitchen and living room.  Even so, the sneezing may commence.  I’m allergic to Christmas.