This little book has been a part of my Christmas traditions for thirty-two years now, and I really wanted to share it here. I suppose now that we would call it something a bit different, adding a "great" or two to grandfather, seeing as how it's set 150 years ago, as best as I can tell. It's a dear book, full of all the wonderful images of the perfect family Christmas. It's a strange thing that we hold onto such imagery, when Christmas is such a mixed bag, but I think Christmas is mostly a set of fantasies that we hold within ourselves. Each one looks different and nothing beats the mystery and merriment of a childhood Christmas, or I haven't bested my own memories, yet! Onward, though. Let's see this book!
My Grandma Lois, lover of all things Victorian, gave me this book for my second Christmas.
How I held onto it for all these years must be a credit to my mother and my own good fortune.
She always called me "Brandy Lane," so that is the name that I kept when I married.
These are set so that you can click on the image to see it enlarged.
There are many wonderful images of all the preparations for Winter and Christmas.
While we don't do all of these, I do keep some traditions simply that my children may have the memory of them. I often feel that the world is passing us by and the aimlessness experienced by many is due, in part, to the loss of seasonal land-based activities.
They go to the old general store to get some Christmas goodies. Ribbon candy! We got some last year from The Vermont Country Store.
This reminds me that we need to bring some wood up to the house. It always does wonders for our spirits, being out in the brisk air and working to get warm. Our roaring Thanksgiving fire used up a lot of the two carloads we gleaned.
Airing the quilts--Willow loves this. She will happily take something out to the clothesline and give it a swift beating with a stick. Grandma Lois would have loved her so. She would have loved them all.
The "hustle and bustle" in the kitchen reminds me of the hoopskirts in Farmer Boy
I have dreams of a truly old-fashioned holiday meal, using The Little House Cookbook
as my guide.
Oh, to play in that haymow and experience the party games. We really love the chapter where the girls play in the straw stack in On the Banks of Plum Creek
We generally have a family Christmas party and I think I may use this as inspiration for the evening. I know the children would really love it. Like many things, Christmas is what you make it. For me, it is a dark season, lit by the flickering lights of candles and "fairy" lights. It is full of mystery and tradition, and it links us back many, many years across many, many people seeking to keep up spirits in a cold time and a challenging world.