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Monday, December 28, 2009

It's 12 Days of Christmas at That Old House!

We are die hards.

We celebrate Christmas for its full 12 days, from the 25th to Epiphany on January 6th. Our Christmas decor doesn't get tucked away until then; perhaps this is because the church I grew up in was called "Epiphany," and that holiday was a big deal for us Sunday School kids.

Notice the "Quote-a-saurus" at the right; it is a wooden dinosaur built and painted by Annie for her
Philosophy PhD student sister Alida, as a Christmas gift. He's covered with quotes, wears a mortarboard, and an academic stole. He has joined the Wise Men, ready for Epiphany. After all, aren't philosophers always searching for epiphanies?


Leaving our decorations up till Epiphany means our fresh greens shed a bit, our Frasier fir begins to bend and droop and drop its ornaments, and the Santas and Snowmen collect that fine protective coating of dust that covers so much of the things at That Old House.

Today, three days past the 25th, I changed a few things about our parlor mantelpiece decor.

It started out simple, on the 19th of December -- fresh cedar roping, a few plain glass hurricanes with thick red candles, and a glittery red mesh ribbon, wound through the greenery by my designer daughter Anne:

"How about some nice big shiny red glass balls?" asked I.
"No," said Anne. "There's enough bling with the ribbon. Leave it alone."
"But . . . ."
"Mom, no. Leave it. It's enough."

Oh honey, I thought to myself, you are so young. It is never enough.

I was good; I left it alone for our big Christmas party on the 20th, and beyond.
But today, Anne is out at the mall, and I have the run of the house.
Into the parlor I sneaked. . . .

And I added three big vintage-style glass balls, and a wild shiny sequin-ed red reindeer,
that my husband found yesterday on the sale table at T.J. Maxx.

Christmas is a time for indulgence and over-the-top-ness.

And speaking of indulgence, I have another metamorphosis to share,
this one involving Mr. Dion DiPoochy, our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Daughter Alida had a canister of Poppycock, that nut-and-caramel popcorn snack that is crazy delicious and uber-sweet and sticky. She left it, half eaten but tightly closed, on a high table. We found it the other morning . . . . on the floor.

Note the teeth marks. And the emptiness. Presto-change-o! All gone!
Our darling doggy transformed thousands of calories of
Poppycock into -- well, you fill in the blank.

As for our thief, he looked a little droopy:

Rather like that old TV commercial:
"I can't believe I ate the whole thing."

It was too much effort to stay awake:

Or even move.

No other ill effects! He was a little put out that his normal meals were half their size for a day and a half. He never connected it with the extra 2000 calories he'd consumed in Poppycock.

Two days earlier, he ate 7 pieces of thick gingerbread coated in chocolate that Anne had bought at a Christmas mart in NYC. $8 worth of gingerbread, down the hatch. Luckily for Dion, since he's eaten more than his share in his time, he is not sensitive to chocolate.

So, from our parlor to yours, we wish you a very happy and contented rest of the Christmas holiday,
as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, and the visit of the Magi to the stable in Bethlehem.

I'll try and wind down the Christmas posts as the days go by, but we're still in celebratory mode. I tried to get a picture of That Old House at night, outside, with its Christmas trees shining through the windows, and ended up with a rather ghostly look:

That's the fresh tree in
the sunroom on the right,
but you can't see the
girls' tree in the study windows
or the faux tree in the parlor
all the way to the left of the

But you can see our chimney
pumping out way too much
vapor. Guess what? We need a new steam boiler! Oy.

Thanks to Susan at Between Naps On The Porch

for hosting Metamorphosis Monday!

Visit here.

Thanks to Cielo, of The House In The Roses,

for hosting Show Off Your Cottage Monday!

Visit here!

Happy Christmas, Happy New Year, and a blessed Epiphany to all! -- Cass


  1. I am right there with you about still celebrating...raised Catholic. I LOVE your looks so much like mine with two gazillion ornaments on it, ornaments touching ornaments. SOME people tell me that I can't get another ornament on there and I say WATCH ME! Is it an eastern thing? Here in the desert, all the designer trees bore me. No history to them. Anyhoo, I also love the extra bling on the mantel. Good job! **still blows merry kisses** Deb

  2. Cass-Your tree is absolutely gorgeous!! I like your additions--the kids always think they have THE way...that is until they TURN INTO US! I love the quote a saurus! What a thoughtful gift--and of course, he belongs aside the wise men! ps-My tree is down--My epiphany was that we were going to burn up or be stabbed by dead limbs if I didn't get it out of the house :)

  3. I so agree with you! The added ornaments and reindeer definitely add the punch it needed. And Dion is such a sweetie! He's so cute!! Rosie

  4. I was just having the conversation with my daughter about Epiphany. Your parlor is beautiful, and I like the extra bling! Some people so quickly put Christmas away after the "big" day, but I like to keep it up until at least New Year's Day.

    Best wishes for 2010!

  5. I love your tree and the mantel is so pretty! I need to get more hurricanes they are so pretty! Happy Holidays! Miss Bloomers/Sonia

  6. Cass, Sometimes, you can never have too much- and the mantel was a prime example of that. It looked bare without the balls! LOL
    That Dion is one lucky dog and he must have nine lives, just like a cat. He could be weighing in five pounds heavier and he could have been sicker than a dog eating all that stuff!
    Hope your New Year is filled with everything you want it to be.
    ~ Sue

  7. Oh My - please keep the dogs out of the chocolate!!!!!! My daughter had a real tragedy because a "goody bag" was left within their dogs reach. Your tree is beautiful! Mine is still standing, but hope to get it down in the next day or two. Mr. Dion - I know Poppycock is good, but you really need to cut back!!!! :)

  8. This is all so beautiful! I like "more" on the mantel with the red reindeer and red balls! (Don't tell your dd I said that! LOL!)

    Sounds like your darling little doggie enjoy the Christmas goodies!


  9. I keep our house decorated through Epiphany also. Love the pictures of your dog--looks so lovable and huggable.

  10. We have always left the tree and decorations until Epiphany but this year I would like it taken care of before then...maybe because we will be leaving for a few days on the 4th, to celebrate Howard's milestone birthday with his twin, which just happens to be on January 6th! I don't want to come home to have to do all that work.

  11. Cass, I think it was down to you and me when it came to hanging on to summer when everyone was hauling out the fall decor. Well...I am with you again now. Everything stays in place until the 6th (and hopefully my tree will not collapse on the floor). Someone said we prepare for weeks for one day and then spend weeks putting it all away. Well I am enjoying it to the hilt!! your rearrangement! And the Quotasaurus is ingenious!!

    Have a great rest of the holiday. I love ALL of your decorations. I wish you a happy, healthy and WONDERFUL New Year!! :-)


  12. YES!!!! I am SOOOOOO glad to hear this. I just don't GET why others want to UNDECORATE and stop CELEBRATING so soon!!!

    I may just keep mine up PAST Jan 6 - - - just to sort of balance out the universe with all those who decorated on October 1 and tore it all down on Christmas afternoon.

    I ADORE all your decorations - - - especially the fresh pine draped over the mantle.

    I have ONE heavy glass with crackle finish ball similar to your "batch" of them.

  13. He did not! Dion I mean. ~WOW! Poor guy his tummy must have been aching so badly. Ouch!

    Your tree and mantle look so beautiful Cass! I do love the shiny red reindeer. Stunning!

    Happy New Year & Many Blessings!
    ~Melissa :)

  14. Happy Holidays to YOU!
    As I was reading your post, Ken was on the phone with his brother.
    I was doing fine with the reindeer and then got to the Dion story. I was laughing soooooooooo hard His brother asked if I was ok. I showed the story to Ken and he laughed as hard as I did. By the time I got done--my side hurt soo
    bad. I'm ok. :)


  15. Mine also stays up through the first week of January but only because it was so much work to get it all set up we are going to enjoy it for a full month at least.
    Poor widdle Dion. What must go through their heads...and their intestinal tracts.

  16. Enjoy your 12 Days of Christmas!

    And thanks for this fun post! The Quote-a-Saurus is a hoot at the manger scene, and the mantel and dog stories had me laughing out loud!


  17. Cass..
    Love every single bit of this blog! The red bling...poor Dion..and the laughter and smiles you brought to my face..
    I was raised that everything must be down by New Years in order to stave off bad comes down on New Years Eve before midnite!
    Enjoy your Christmas as long as you wish..It is BEAUTIFUL!
    warm hugs, laughing smiles..Loui♥

  18. I agree with you and Janie, I hate to let go of summer and I keep Christmas around till around the 3rd or 4th of dec. I work so hard on the decorations, and I love to sit and enjoy them without any deadlines to worry about. I say save it as long as makes you happy....Happy New Year....Phyllis

  19. I liked the understated mantle, but when you added the bling I really liked it. Very pretty.

  20. I don't usually wait until Epiphany but I do wait until after the first of the year . . . this is the week I like -- the one between Christmas and New Year's -- you can enjoy your decorations without worrying about a package to wrap or a batch of fudge to make. Everything slows down after the "big" day.

    Corgi Ollie (although he barks a lot) is a lot better mannered than Dion. He would NEVER take something that doesn't belong to him! He doesn't dig through trash, he doesn't take things off the coffee table -- and he does like people food!

  21. Cass, all of ours will remain up until Jan. 6th, too. The outside lights may have to stay till April with all the snow we're getting!!
    Come see the top of my hot tub...yikes! Its doubled since I posted yesterday's pictures.

    Your decorations are lovely & I ♥ the big red balls on the mantle. NOW its done! ~tee-hee~

  22. We're still celebrating at the Hamlet, too! We never take our tree or decorations down until after the new year, at least. I did move a few things around today, but no trees were taken down! Your home is beautiful. Thanks for sharing.


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