Well, the trees come down this weekend, the pinecones get packed away, and soon our tiny house will feel just a bit larger with all the "extras" now put to rest for another year.
If only I could find a way to rest as comfortably as the decor does. If my heart would just rest easier in knowing that over the next months, all will be well, and I don't have to know every minute of every day what will happen next.
But as I take down the trimmings, many of them are dried and crispy...I realize, I am ready to move on to the next season as well. And yet, there is a little something about these pine sprigs, berries, and twigs that leave me to believe that having them around helped the Christmas spirit come alive for us in our little abode. Nothing fancy, mind you. Fairly humble. Nothing too sparkly, showy, or even top-notch greenery. Last-pickens if you will. Not the top shelf greenery...too expensive for my little budget.
Even the pinecones were gathered next to a very noisy street, next to an intersection, gas fumes and all, and tossed into my paper sack. But I still admired them as I walked home and stuck my head into the paper sack and took a good whiff and smelled the sap and pine. I live in the city...lots of ambulances, sirens, buses, pedestrians, old people walking, and horns honking. But for some reason, sniffing my fresh pinecones seemed to make it all silent during my chilly walk home.
So, before 2012 gets underway, and since we now have our first real snow...I thought I would share a few photos of our little season in our small homestead, here in the city. I am looking outside now and snow is gently falling and so quiet.
I slowly came about with a theme of simply "dinner with meaning" for my Christmas dinner party. It wasn't planned, but as I put things out, I realized that I only cared to put things out that really meant things to me. I had bought some new items, but ended up not using them. I did buy the glasses, but I bought them while on a trip with some gal pals. I needed some little chairs to squeeze everyone in, but I got them from a friend. Everything else I used for dinner, I either already owned, or made.
Our space for dinner was very small. 9 x 6 to be exact. I measured it for those of you who might feel you can't do much with a tiny space. And it was tight, we had nine people total for dinner.
Enjoy the photos below of our quiet homestead. That is what I am calling it now. Right in the middle of the city, that is what we have in a way: a homestead. That will be another post as to why we are slowly becoming "homesteaders."
But for now, enjoy the Spirit that remains since the decor has retired.
|Honoring my father with this vignette filled with his pipe, WWII dog tag and Knights of Columbus pin|
|Christmas morning....early sunrise light coming in.|
|FIRST light of day coming in....very soothing.|
|Salt and Pepper shakers borrowed from a beloved friend...a table isn't complete unless you borrow something.|
|I constructed this tree from a fabricated "stick" and tied natural eucalyptus branches on it.|
|Rusty barrel rings and simple eucalyptus leaves with pinecones hang in windows.|
|We don't have a dining room. This window seat is the best place we have. An old board from the garage and $15 chairs.|
|The cabinet I painted black this past summer...Barber husband loved it after all!|
|Giving each a guest a box of homemade goodies.|
|Simple wrapping with twine feels French.|
|The little chip is a reminder of how well-loved this piece is...it is meant to be used.|
|Pinecone I found at noisy, busy intersection that now sits quietly, flocked, in my crazed cup.|
|My beloved tureen. I collect only very old iron stone tureens.|
|Simple, rusty barrel ring (found at Three French Hens market) with tarnished salt shakers.|
|My handsome father during WWII in Rome, Italy. His photo is behind the cloche. He was modest and wouldn't want to be out front, being shown off. I think he looks like Clark Gable.|
|Perfect mirror found at Three French Hens market, topped with leftover sprigs and pinecone.|
|My silver ladle and gift of silverware, near our table...|
|Left over sprigs and tiny candles on my "one arm" silver tray is my center piece.|
|Time to turn on the tree lights. Guest will arrive soon.|
|My German table runner, with American glasses, English butter knives, and Swedish books in center. An international affair. This German runner means a lot to me. I bought while living in Europe and I had very little money then.|
I think whether it is Christmas or not, it is the spirit of hospitality that really matters. There are so many books, TV shows, and articles on how to entertain...but I don't really see that many on the spirit of hospitality. I sort of feel like a person who solely entertains, is wanting to impress her guests and needs to feel important for her creative efforts. And a person who has the hospitality spirit, hopes her guests feel invited and hopes to make them feel important. It is my hope that I am striving to always be hospitable, no matter the size of my home, budget, or simplicity of the meal. I don't think I could really entertain with those limitations anyway.
Of course it is fun to decorate, be creative...look who is writing this blog! But to me, there is a difference between entertaining and hospitality. I can usually feel the difference when I am in someone's home as a guest. In my opinion, bringing others into your home is about them, and what will make them feel invited, not impressed.
Take the rolled napkin above. It's Christmas, I wanted something a little special for my guests, of course. But my Barber husband's family are the guests and they are lovely people, but like most, what good is a "stick" on a napkin, right? (I noticed no one called it by its proper term...lol).
They politely put them aside as we ate our meal, until Barber husband announced during dessert that inside their books (place mats) there was a little something for each of them...lotto scratch off tickets! And eyes lit up when I showed how handy those "decorative sticks" came in to scratch off the numbers. You see, it is kind of a custom in his family to have some sort of scratch off ticket at Christmas. Not really my deal, but why break their tradition? I got to have my "stick" on the napkin, and they got a handy scratch off instrument for their tradition. And they laughed when I held mine up and said, "And you thought it was just something pretty that got in your way...I am a true believer in beauty with function."
And I happened to win $10 with my ticket as well.
Hopefully hospitality also means you can keep the ticket, because I kept mine....and cashed it...
From my house to your house,