Believe it or not we have been here in the states for just over 12 months. This year has gone by so quickly and I cannot comprehend all that we have managed to do and see in this first year alone. I was looking back last night over my blog, reminiscing about ‘this time last year’. Oddly this time last year we were deer’s in the headlights, we were not yet in our home, we were not yet settled and we were not yet sure how this whole move and first year would turn out……and just for the record, it turned out splendidly.
I love living in the South. Its the riotous culture, its where the accents and iced tea’s are sweet, its the southern food, the conversations, the yes ma’am’s, the true southern hospitality, the uniquely brilliant southern sayings and its where everyone’s heart is being blessed. Honestly, the south had me at mac and cheese and hush puppies!
This time last year I also blogged about the Christmas lights and the experience of Christmas here in the States and have no fear, the festive cheer is in overdrive once again. And I will very happily admit to loving it. The air is cold, there is frost about (good snow in other parts of the country) and I survived Halloween and Thanksgiving (wow, you can do so much with left over turkey!). It is a season of eggnog, radio stations devoted 24 hours to entirely playing only Christmas carols, snowmen, hot chocolate, ugly Christmas sweaters, comfort and joy, gingerbread, hope, Christmas lights, stockings hung by the chimney with care, Christmas trees strapped to car roofs, tradition and Charlie Brown Christmas Specials. You cannot ignore it, you cannot change it and you certainly cannot rename this time of the year because it is what it is……. Christmas. And what I also love about this season, that has remained unchanged, is the Christmas tree. And I don’t every believe your tree can be too big or too small, too ugly or too perfect when decorated, too tinseled or too untinseled. If you love it, then it is just right.
We have one. Christmas tree that is. A live, freshly cut beautiful Christmas tree. And she, (her name is Eileen), stands very proudly in the corner of our living room. And yes, this lovely 7 foot Fraser Fir has a lean to it making it the perfect, in an imperfect kind of way, tree for me. Finding a tree is fun and it is good to have a bit of help although it is not a complicated process. My ‘tree expert’ said the trick was all in the eye – ‘y’all need a real good eye to get the best tree’. Now, that afternoon his ‘eye’ may have been slightly off but very happily I have Eileen home for the holidays.
My tree had already been cut meaning it was not still in the ground held down by its roots but the base needed re-cutting in order for the trunk to be able to take up water. And yes, you need a proper base to hold your tree which will in turn hold water…….lots of water. They are very thirsty trees. That done my tree was taken to my car and loaded into the back. Seats down and Eileen took up an awful lot of room! Once home I wrestled my tree into position like a seasoned lumberjack. Of course Gus and Zoe were on ‘paw’ to help and once secured into the holding pot the netting came off. You need to let your tree ‘stand’ for more than 24 hours before decorating. This gives the tree time to unfurl.
Then the best part begins……
Eileen is decorated with 400 fairy lights. That is her real beauty and fairy lights are so cheap over here. I bought strands of 100 lights which all clip together to make a super stand for $2.89 a strand at Wal-Mart……oh, and do shop at Wal-Mart before Christmas. You will be richly rewarded for the people watching alone. The decorations are silver and sea foam/aqua with a little bit of lime green thrown in for good measure and a lovely snow flake (because I love snow and snow flakes) decorates the top of the tree.
Then I thought….as Christmas comes but once a year why not make a matching front door wreath as well
This was a wonderful and fun experience. Next year I am thinking of cutting my own tree and perhaps going slightly bigger. Actually, lets be honest with that statement! I am not so much thinking about it as planning it!
In the cold of our December evenings, our home is warmly lit by Eileen. Zoe loves her (albeit her ornaments) and Steve is still coming to terms with how the hell we happen to have a Christmas tree in our house. And me, well butter my butt and call me a biscuit ’cause I’m just plum happy about the whole thing.
‘O Eileen, O Eileen, You’ll ever be unchanging’
P.S…….Merry Christmas all and yes, that is snow falling on my blog site xx
* Update Friday 18th December – My dear Canadian friend Maggie made this beautiful snow flake ornament for me from crystal beads. This is one of those ornaments you treasure. The one that becomes that special family heirloom because of the sentiment attached to it. This lovely little one off work of art has been made and given with love and I will always treasure the memories connected to it. A very lucky girl am I xx