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Friday, December 23, 2011

More Trees And A Lille Juleaften Greeting

Today's post is really two posts in one.
The first -- a "fresh" post, continuing a little
showcase of some of the trees at That Old House.
The second -- a revised post from one year ago,
about this special day and its significance.
(Sorry, no recipes today as promised -- too much else to write about!)
So . . . some trees!
In the Conservatory, the fresh Fraser Fir.
A little smaller than previous years' models, but we love it nonetheless!

Like all Christmas trees, an absolute bear to photograph.  Especially in daylight.

 So -- here is one somebody took Saturday night, at our party.
Yes, Christmas trees do look better at night!

The Feather Tree, always one of my favorites.
 Love those teeny ornaments.
I did buy more this year.  Don't rat me out.

By the kitchen sink, a little wiry brass tree
from daughter Anne brightens the backsplash.

In the powder room, a little tree in a Santa Boot
sports glass Santas and other tiny glass ornaments.  

In the dining room, a spiral tree awaits a few special ornaments.
(They're coming!  Be patient!)

Upstairs, on the second floor landing, a topiary tree.
No ornaments, just the lights; it's enough.

And in the Study, the Girls' Tree, with ornaments collected over the years.
This year, when Alida returns to California, she'll take her ornaments with her.

So if you think I go a little bonkers with trees and Christmas bling,
I come by it honestly.  I am of Norwegian descent,
and we Norwegians love us a good, long, celebratory Christmastime.
Ja, you betcha!
(From December 23, 2010, with revisions for 2011.)
Norwegians, living as they do
in some pretty grim, dark and cold December weather in Norway, make the most of Christmas.

They even have a name for this day, the day
before Christmas Eve:  Lille Julaften.

Translation:  Little Christmas Eve.

My mother and I always called one another on Lille Julaften.
We'd compare our Julekake, or Christmas bread,
and just spend some time away from the pre-Christmas-Eve whirlwind.
Reminiscing.  Catching up.  Making plans.  Comparing menus.

My mother believed it was okay to still be baking or cleaning on Lille Julaften;
by the next day, Christmas Eve, chores were to be finished so you would be in a
calm and serene state of mind, ready for that night's church services,
and ready to settle your children down with gentle words and quiet stories.

I miss my mother very much today,
this second Christmas without her.

Last year, I visited my Dad on the afternoon of Lille Juleaften.
But now he, too, is among the people I miss at Christmas.

Family.  Not something to be taken lightly, or for granted.
We don't have one another forever, not on this Earth.

Now I've got some baking to do; there are only a few cookies left from last week,
and one mustn't greet Santa with stale cookies!
As you prepare your home, your family, yourself for the coming of the Christ Child,
I wish you peace and serenity, despite any last minute rushing that might be part of your holiday
this year (as it is part of mine!).  Wrap those last few gifts, bake those last few batches of cookies,
settle down to read a cozy Christmas book with your children or grandchildren,
and know that whatever gets done, or does not get done, the Greatest Gift of all is yours.
And that is forever.

I wish you a
Glaedelig Lille Julaften!
-- Cass


  1. I too miss my Mom, Christmas just is not the same without her..some of the magic is gone.
    But we still must enjoy the season because we are so lucky to have with us many loved ones.

    Your trees are all so pretty. Have a Very Merry Christmas.

  2. Glaedelig Lille Julaften! To you, too! I miss my mother as well -- it was she (and my grandmother -- her mother) who instilled in me the love of Christmas and her Christmases are the base for our Christmas celebration at Linderhof.

  3. What a beautiful post with all your pretty pictures and what a heart touching post with your sentiments about your Mom and Dad. There is a real awakening that comes after our parents are gone and we realize that we have moved into that oldest generation place, isn't there?

    God bless you and your dear family as you celebrate this day before Christmas Eve Day. I am sitting with a BAD foot up and trying to be pain free for Christmas~ xo Diana

  4. Love that boot tree and all the rest. My house, sadly, has only two. But as you say, especially this time of year we think of those who have gone before. My cousin found some pictures of us all gathered at my grandmother's hanging our (literal, no fancy ones) stockings on a clothesline at the fireplace! We always celebrated Grandfather's birthday on Christmas ... so I am very thankful my mother is with us this year, missing so many others. Enjoy your family.

  5. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  6. :) I have been reading your blog for quite some time. You have touched my heart many times, but this is the first time I have chosen to let you know. I love your warm and happy spirit! I love how honestly you express yourself! Merry Christmas! I hope your Christmas is Wonderful, Wonderful, Wonderful!

  7. I love this post and the references to Little Christmas Eve..I will always remember that..and was just able to share it with a facebook friend when she said something about today being eve eve or something...I have really been missing my mama this year is the first year that my daddy is in nursing home and I have no home to go home to..I am the oldest so I guess my home is HOME now...Merry Christmas, Mona

  8. Glædelig lille julaften, Cass! We segue slowly from Canadian to Danish food over the next couple of days - tonight it will be tortiere from my mother's recipe, and cabbage rolls - then tomorrow night it's a complete cold board with many different marinated herring etc. The Danes, like the Norwegians, know how to make a Christmas celebration, so there are candles burning on several tables. I'm still baking, but tomorrow will be peaceful!

  9. Hi Cassie! Oh, I love seeing all of your trees - they are all so wonderful! I didn't realize you were Norwegian! I'm not, but have been to Oslo 3 times and loved it. Got to see the Fjords too! What a beautiful country.
    I wish you and your family a blessed Christmas,
    Shelia ;)

  10. Read today and yesterday's post. Great ones.
    This is a hard tiem of year when those we love are no longer with us. I know of what you speak.
    The trees are beautiful--I have several myself but hust couldn't get to them. I have my Charlie Brown trees up though.

    Have a wonderful holiday and tell Mr. Dion hi for me.


  11. I am also of Norwegian descent, and Christmas Eve was as my one paternal grandmother's house. Her folks were from Norway. Very traditional Christmas Eve foods and treats, americanized names but....boiled rice with milk and cinnamon and sugar. Lutefisk ( yuk) and lefse ( yum). Rosettes and Sandbakkles(?) and all of the others, including Julekake, (didn't like the "stuff" in it as a child)... was a special special night.....Christmas day was at my other grandparents up the alley...he was also a first generation American with Norwegian parents, my grandmother was pure German....different goodies and traditions....I only got to be with them about every 3rd year as we lived out of state, but those memories are just as new as if they just happened in my heart! I agree, enjoy your just never know.....I ahve been without my parents for 30 years and my grandparents for more than I care to count....but I have my husband and my sons and Christmas is still special...just in a very different way. Merry Christmas and enjoy your traditions! Hugs, Sandy

  12. Merry Christmas and Joyeux Noël from my house to yours.

  13. Both posts are wonderful, Cass. Thank you. Merry Christmas to you and yours!


  14. I did exactly what you did and my brisket was awful. People ate it just to be nice. Oh well, will never try that again. Merry Christmas, Lori

  15. I hope you had a very Merry Christmas, Cass! Love the trees and how everything in your home is so festive. Happy New Year, too!

  16. Hi NJ neighbor! Thanks for stopping by - and yes, Andie MacDowell does have some nerve! Your house is amazing! We bought a "crack house" as my hubs called it and renovated it! Don't know if you saw that post? Glad to have found you and following along!
    Here's my house before & after!


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