Okay, Thanksgiving is still more than a week away, and maybe I do rush the Christmas season--but, hey, the happiest times of most children's lives is Christmas. The anticipation is monumental. Was it just greed or was it the absolute joy of everything about Christmas that made a kid's heart soar?
For me, as an adult, getting into the Christmas season means two things: music and -- surprise! --books.
I have a lot of Christmas (coffee-table) books, but my all-time-favorite is the very first I ever got. It was a gift from my Mum, which makes it even more special. It's Susan Branch's "Christmas From The Heart Of The Home." Unfortunately, it's out of print (Yes, YOU MISSED IT) -- but Susan's "keepsake" version "Christmas Joy" is still available. (Hey, and just to name drop, Susan is now my friend on Twitter. She has ACTUALLY tweeted TO me, how amazingly COOL is that???)
Usually my Mum signs the books she gives to me (for birthdays and Christmas), but for some reason she forgot to do that with this one (and with my very favorite decorating book, The Romance of County Inns by Gail Grecco). I can't tell you how many times I've read Christmas From The Heart Of The Home--not just glanced at the pretty pages (Susan illustrates all her books with charming watercolors), but READ THE ENTIRE BOOK--ALL THE RECIPES and everything!!! At least three or four times every Christmas season for at least ten, if not fifteen, years. (I've made quite a few of the recipes, too!) I love the art. I love the recipes--but most of all, I love the suggestions on celebrating.
But one of the things I love most is that Susan wrote about Christmas on Martha's Vineyard. I love new England, and one of the things on my "bucket list" is the Nantucket Stroll." Since I first read Susan's books, I've longed to visit both Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket--off season. (Have I mentioned how much I hate crowds?)
It will probably never happen, so maybe one holiday I'll spend the holiday at my family's summer cottage. To do that, the place would have to be winterized. Our neighbor, who winterized a summer cottage to make a year-round home said it was THE BIGGEST MISTAKE OF HIS LIFE, and in retrospect wished he'd razed the place and started from scratch. There's so much of my Dad in that place (he gutted it and did a total remodel and addition), that I don't think I could do that.
So, as in years before, I will (okay, already have) delve into my copy of Christmas From The Heart Of The Home and dream about spending the holiday on the shore. (And maybe down a couple of "Peach Cream" drinks--recipe on page 31...just in case you'd like to join me.)