Perfectly Imperfect Christmas Decorating


We’ve done it, we’ve decorated the house! School is over at last, and the holidays have begun. 

Ours is not an immaculately decorated house and we follow no particular theme, just lots of natural elements from the garden, plenty of twinkling white lights and our treasured decorations, the same ones each year. It started with a wreath I made from magnolia cuttings and sprigs of juniper



and then more greenery to decorate the stairs.


Jack and I chose the miniature conifers last week at the garden centre, the same shop that sells lots of wine!


Decorating the tree is always a big deal; it is never going to be quick or simple as we have raised a tribe of children who know their own minds and who are not afraid to say what they think, at least not amongst the family. Everyone has an opinion about which bauble goes where and it’s a long evening with a party like atmosphere; the old stone walls of the sitting room reverberate to the sound of favourite Christmas songs, and when Slade’s “So here it is, Merry Christmas” finally winds up on the playlist then we all start to get a little silly. I like to think it’s relatively organised chaos!


To insure ourselves against broken baubles and shrill screams Roddy and I find it best to be armed with a glass of red wine!


Placing the star on top of the tree is a serious business, and the children take it in turns. This year the honour fell to Gigi; it’s only the second time in her life that she has had this highly responsible job, and it’s just as well Roddy has broad shoulders and is as strong as an ox.


And eventually our perfectly imperfect Christmas tree is finished.



Every decoration tells its own story. Some are ornaments we have bought together, and others are the many beautiful figures given to us by a very dear friend in Connecticut; some of these are sadly broken or chipped, having fallen victim to eager little hands, hard tiled floors,  and voyages across tempestuous seas. But they still go on the tree, their imperfections merely adding to the memories.


Each year I carefully unwrap two simple glass balls with a handprint. Made by Hetty and Gigi when they were in kindergarten, with the same teacher, one year apart. Each has a little poem written on a card, carefully kept with the decorations. Each year it brings tears to my eyes.


These aren’t just five snowmen
As anyone can see
I made them with my hand
Which is a part of me.
Now each year when you trim the tree
You’ll look back and recall
Christmas of 2010
When my hand was just this small!


Our crib takes centre stage on the sideboard. We bought this many years ago in Provence, taking literally hours to choose each individual figurine; they are called ‘santons‘, the name santon or santoun means little saint. These little figures are hand-made in Provence, sculpted and decorated by a master santon maker.



Our kitchen has taken on a white theme in places


and the table is finally free from school books.



The children will put their stockings at the foot of their beds on Christmas Eve, waiting for Father Christmas to arrive. It’s a tradition that follows the childhoods of both Roddy and I, and like I used to all those years ago, the children tell me how they nearly always wake at some stage in the middle of the night and wriggle their toes, to see if they can feel something hard against their feet – a sure sign “he” has visited! It’s a comforting thought, I remember it only too well, and they fall back asleep until the first of the five of them stirs. He or she will wake the others, and they will all come running into our room and all five children unwrap their stocking presents on our bed, usually with two dogs snoring gently in the corner and two parents watching with somewhat bleary eyes!



156 thoughts on “Perfectly Imperfect Christmas Decorating

  1. The poem bought a tear to my eyes too! I love those baubles. We too have a handcrafted crib and figures, loving bought and transported from Malta by my mother in law many years ago. I love getting and putting out the same decorations we’ve made and had for years, not for us a new and perfectly co ordinated colour scheme! Have a lovely time, Nadolig Llawen, Jane x

    1. Hi Jane, I know the poem just makes me cry every year! Your crib sounds gorgeous, I have spent many happy summer holidays in Malta and Gozo. Hope you have a truly lovely Christmas. Love the Welsh, I just learnt something new today, thank you xx

  2. Wonderful, I’m sure every family has similar traditional tree decorating evenings. Make the most of it while they are still young. I’ve just helped our daughter decorate this morning , we chose a big branch from their pear tree , that had been damaged in high winds a few weeks ago. It certainly looks lovely in an alcove now adorned with twinkling lights & full of treasured baubles plus the children’s hand made ones from when they were at nursery school, & pride of place a set of bells she made from an egg box when she was at play school. Lovely morning, now we are off for some greenery to decorate their terrace. I’m loving it.. Enjoy the following days lead up to THE special day.

    1. The pear tree branch sounds gorgeous Barbara, I always think branches decorated like this are quite stunning. We had a beautiful day of sunshine in Angouleme today (tennis), apparently it remained foggy all day at home on the coast! Hope you also have a wonderful lead up to Christmas, cannot quite believe it has come around so quickly. xx

  3. Thank you for sharing this special time. I especially love the snowmen baubles story. We also decorate with lots of greenery from the garden and woods, holly and ivy mainly. On our table this year will be a huge iron candelabra bought at a brocante in Normandy for just 4euros! It looks magnificent, and is a happy reminder of our holiday in France. Enjoy Christmas surrounded by your lovely family
    Bisous, Julie

    1. Your chandelier sounds absolutely gorgeous Julie, I can just picture it and what a bargain! We always decorated with holly and ivy when I was a child, but alas here in our garden in France we have lots of ivy but no holly! Hope you too have a wonderful Christmas xx

  4. Your home looks so beautiful! What a beautiful Christmas story you tell. Thank you! Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas from hot and sunny Perth Western Australia!

  5. Decorating the house is such a wonderfully bonding thing. Yours, naturally, looks naturally beautiful (stet). Ours will be a hotchpotch of what each of us bring this year as we hastily decorate our rented cottage to make it feel like home. Girls bringing begged and borrowed bits, me taking a few pieces from France and my mother digging around for the pieces that have been present all my life. No tree but lots of greenery and lights and ribbons and beads … its a plan – I am confident of one thing … there will be no pictures to share because we are certainly not going to be in the simply chic league you inhabit! Good luck with the tennis …. I hope whoever is playing whoops it! Xx

    1. And you are far too kind, I can imagine your rented cottage will look absolutely stunning, mostly though because you have all your family there, what a fantastic Christmas that will be, you really don’t need the decorations, I hope you have the most wonderful time. Eldest daughter flies home on Tuesday then we will all be together and it will really feel like Christmas. Gigi was playing today, she was the runner up and played three fantastic matches, super proud of her, beaten by a girl from Normandy! xx

      1. Go Gigi! That is really fantastic. I’m all eyes on Thursday when we are all together and I will be thinking of you on Tuesday as we drive North and you greet your precious eldest. Xx

        1. Thanks, I will think of you on Thursday, what a fabulous reunion you are going to have, we will be at another tennis tournament!! So excited for Tuesday, it will be a tearful welcome hug at the airport, it’s been a couple of months which is way way too long, but this is her final year and she is working so so hard. Xx

          1. I was supposed to see my final year student in October and her two sisters as well and had to postpone on account of the blasted leg injury. I managed to see numbers 1 and 3 earlier this month when I was in England but the baby was too busy in LIverpool so she will also be a big mummy bear hug! Happy days to you from a happy happy mummy bear!

          2. It was the right call to stay and have the correct treatment in the US. When I am wearing my carbon fibre brace which is exactly like those amazing false legs parolympians wear I walk normally and have completed four 5K runs in decent times in the last few weeks. Without it, the nerve (which appears to be rebuilding) means that I walk like a penguin. Either way it is far better than I could hope for and a small thing in comparison to what so many will face this Christmas. xx

          3. So glad it has been successful, and even if you do have to wear the brace, being able to do four 5k runs certainly means it is ok, well done to you. AS you say a very small price to pay, I wish I could go out there in person and help every single person who is not so happy or homeless this Christmas, it always seems to unfair that we should be enjoying so much and so many should be suffering. Xx

  6. Love Love Love 🎄❤️🎄! Christmas is such a WONDERFUL and MEANINGFUL time of year. Your family traditions are lovely. My two favorite are the placing of the ✨ by Gigi and the hand print ornaments by Hetty and Gigi. I Even cried reading this.
    Traditions and memories…we are so Very Blessed to have loved ones to share the Wonderment of Christmas with.
    Each year seems more Special to me. And with the edition of my first Grandchild there is so much to be thankful for.
    Merry Christmas, Susan. Your Perfectly Imperfect Christmas looks Absolutely FABULOUS to me! ❤️🎄☃️🎅🏻❄️✨❤️

    1. Thanks so much Stephanie, traditions and memories, it’s just what Christmas decorating is all about, and the day is all about family and friends and nearest and dearest. How exciting to have become a grandmother, indeed so much to be thankful for. Hope you have a truly wonderful Christmas. xx

  7. Wonderful decorations, Susan. We’ve not yet got around to doing anything, and probably won’t for two more days. I’m afraid we have little fake little tree for the flat that I will find today under the stairs, I suspect; but there will be a huge one in Devon for sure. I think we are 18 for Christmas lunch this year…..I confess I am useless at helping as well so generally I become the cleaner while Amy helps her mother in the kitchen. I know I will be wearing a new Christmas jumper by tea-time, at which stage it really will be Christmas.

    1. Sounds just like my type of Christmas Simon and what a great number for lunch. I can remember many family Christmases in Devon, we were usually 12 or even 14 around the table. Hope you have a truly lovely Christmas xx

  8. Lovely decorations and warm (covers a multitude of behaviors) family togetherness–good times. Particularly like the natural elements of the wreath and small trees. Have a wonderful Christmas.

    1. Thanks so much Mary, it is a very special family time and I just love the build up to Christmas. The wreath has been a big hit this year and the trees will go in the garden in the New Year. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas xx

  9. Beautiful decorations Susan. I love how we all have our traditions. I’ve been mad about decorations and collecting them since before we were married . Like you, I have some my boys made when they were young. My youngest is autistic and we couldn’t celebrate for a long time but we make up for it now! xxx

    1. Thanks Amanda, I love getting out our decorations each year, we have been collecting them, like you, since before we were married. Make up for it now indeed, hope you have a truly fantastic Christmas xx

  10. It was so much fun imaging the laughter and voices while you all decorated the tree together! I too love those little handprint snowmen ornaments. How sweet! Yes, it brought some happy tears to my eyes as well. The house looks festive and very inviting and comfy. I am a bit behind in decorating this year. The tree may not go up until just a few days before Christmas, but that’s okay! I love sitting back with a glass of wine after the tree is done and just enjoy the twinkling lights. Much love to you all, Nancy xoxoxo

    1. Thanks so much Nancy, I am sure you can precisely imagine all the organised chaos! I love sitting back and looking at the twinkling lights, I always love this time of year. Hope you have the most wonderful Christmas, big hugs xxxx

  11. life is all about traditions, sadness for those who do not have those peaceful times in their lives. Merry Christmas to you, Susan, and the rest of your family and furry family.

    1. Thank you so much. I always think it is a time to remember all those who do not have peace in their lives and also to do any little thing we can to help, especially at this time of year. I hope you too have a very Happy and Peaceful family. Xx

    1. Thanks so much Janet, it’s just how we like it, far from perfect, but a family decorated home that suits us just fine! Hope you have had a lovely weekend and a very Merry Christmas xx

          1. We shall have to. We have some lovely French (and other) reds in the basement. I wish you weren’t so far from my s-i-l, because I’d love to meet next time I’m in France.

          2. Susan, they live in Mélisey in the Haute-Saône. I hope to go again in summer of 2017. We’ll see how it goes. 🙂 One of these next years, my husband and I want to be there for Christmas, but not yet, unfortunately.

          3. You couldn’t get too much further away! We shall have to try and figure a weekend or something. Christmas is lovely here but very quiet, but then with relatives here you know that already. Xx

          4. We’ll see what we can do. I just finished planning out this upcoming week: meals, who to get at the airport when, etc., so that things run as smoothly as possible!!

          5. Wow, you are so much more organised than I am. Eldest daughter flies in on Tuesday, another tennis tournament Thursday, Christmas dinner with our neighbour’s at their house exchanging gifts on Friday, it’s a lovely tradition we have, they are French so we have a sort of Anglo/French joint Christmas on the 23rd, then they celebrate on the 24th and we celebrate on the 25th. I haven’t even thought about planning food yet, tomorrow I shall get organised!!

          6. I have to work on Tuesday and Thursday, have music practice for the Christmas service on Thursday night, and a Christmas present on Wednesday that requires our younger daughter and me to take the train into Chicago (so all afternoon), which leaves me tomorrow to get most things done (beds made, etc., etc.). So I have to be organized so as not to be completely fried. 🙂 Now back to making applesauce.

          7. But it sounds like a super fun type of busy and have fun going into Chicago with your youngest daughter. Which reminds me I have to make beds tomorrow too, the problem with living in France is everyone is so laid back about Christmas that it tends to rub off on me!!

  12. For some reason when I go to read your post it says “page not found.” I’ve never had this problem before. Any suggestions???

    Edie from cold Missouri

    Sent from my iPad


    1. Hi Edie, thank you for alerting me. There was a problem with WordPress this morning, followed by a problem with the Internet in our little corner of France. All of this combined with the fact that I posted and literally ran out the door and only returned late this evening did not help. I will repost a link tomorrow, but the other thing you can do is go directly to the website rather than clicking the link in the email, it works perfectly there. I am so so sorry you have had these problems. Merry Christmas xx

    1. Thanks so much Joanne, we bought it about ten years ago now, as I say we found it in Provence and then stood and hand picked each of the figures individually. The children always love arranging the santons in their positions, it tells the perfect Christmas story. Xx

        1. We had one at home I remember when I was a child, my father had made it when he and my mother first married. It was a simple wooden crate turned on it’s side, filled with fresh straw from the farm, with stunning little figures. Do you know I haven’t thought about that crib for years, I wonder what happened to it, it used to sit in the main hall. Thank you for reminding me of another beautiful memory. Xx

  13. The “organized chaos” of familiar holiday traditions are the sweetest forever memories. I loved reading about the tradition of placing stockings at the foot of the beds.

    1. Thanks so much, these do all make the best memories and we remember the laughter and the things that went wrong and laugh all over again! I remember like it was only yesterday feeling the stocking at the end of my bed and taking a sneaky peak! Have a very Merry Christmas xx

    1. Hi Penny, the noise! I know that feeling well, we have been awoken to so many toys and games being played, but it is a good way to be woken even if it is early! Hope you have a lovely lead up to Christmas xx

  14. things happen when they must happen….also our baubles survived the move over the ocean (and this aready the
    2nd time). Though they have a special meaning for me. It might not be the perfect one…you are right …but decorated with lots of memories by your children with sparkling eyes. Wish you a wonderful 4th advent with red wine in front of
    the fireplace.

    1. Thanks so very much. Our decorations have travelled around the world too, they have been placed on trees in both the northern and Southern Hemispheres and they are still here now, I think this is what makes decorating the tree so special, so many memories. Wishing you a very Happy and Peaceful Christmas. Xx

  15. I totally loved your family decorations much more than some of the other fussy scenes out there. Yours makes you feel like your there with you & your family! Job well done! So pretty!

    1. Thank you so much Deborah, this is indeed just our family home, and one that has been decorated by all of us, from the youngest at 10 to the adults, we’ve all done our bit and enjoyed every second of it. Hope you have a lovely run up to Christmas xx

  16. You have made such a welcome family home, I would love to spend my Christmas with you and your beautiful entourage

  17. Organic decorations are my favorite, all the natural greenery without any bling is perfect. But I will admit your tree is rather special too!

    1. Thank you so much Ashley, I have to admit I do love the simple greenery with nothing added, but I also like to add some twinkling lights and a bit of bling because of the memories these decorations have for us. I love the combination of the two. Have a very Merry Christmas xx

  18. J’adore the tree and the lights and that gilt mirror is gorgeous. Your kitchen is perfect, I can already imagine you all sitting around the table eating perfectly cooked food. Merry Christmas to you all

    1. Thanks so much Nanette, the mirror is also a favourite of mine and it looks rather fun I thought with the bling, as it was made long before electric lights were even thought of the mixture is quite interesting! It’s a noisy, cheerful and festive Chritmas table and one where we also take the time to remember so many friends and family who are absent. Have a very Happy Christmas xx

  19. Organic decorations are always the best in my opinion with lots of greenery and no bling. I love your hall and wreath and those three simple trees are divine. But I will concede your tree looks pretty good!

  20. Absolutely adored this week’s posting and photos especially the old English phone box – happy memories. I disagree about your decorating style though – I think it’s very classy, the wreath and ‘white kitchen’- absolutely beautiful. A very merry and peaceful Christmas to your family from mine. Joan in Mexico

    1. Thanks so much Joan, I love the phone box, I remember standing in so many of those as a teenager, happy memories indeed, my children don’t even know what a phone box is, how times have changed, they laughed at the memory, of course they just pick up their mobile phones! A very happy and peaceful Christmas to you in Mexico and big hugs from France xx

    1. Don’t worry it wasn’t in the least bit rude Ashley, I think it’s good that we all have our own opinions and wouldn’t it be boring if we all liked exactly the same things. I like a good mixture of organic and natural greenery with some twinkling white lights and our treasured old decorations xx

  21. Just found your blog in Living. Been in France for five years now and always like Christmas here, nice and quiet.

    1. Thanks Harry, so happy you have found the blog and do keep reading Living, it is such a fantastic magazine. Chritmas is quiet here but with just the right amount of festivity in my opinion here. Hope you have a lovely Christmas xx

  22. Oh Susan, what a beautifully decorated home. Everything looks so gorgeous and you all obviously had so much fun. Thank you so much for sharing this special family time with us. Lisa x

    1. Thank you so much Lisa, we did indeed have lots of fun, it’s such a great family tradition and now it is wonderful to sit back and look at all the twinkling lights. Hope you have a lovely Christmas xx

  23. I have been behind on reading blogs so had a nice time this morning catching up with blogger holiday decorations from around the world. Yours are lovely and that wreath … gorgeous. Enjoy every bit of your holiday!

    1. Thanks so much Brenda, I absolutely love reading about so many people’s decorations around the world, and so many are so stunning, we are lucky to live in this technological age. Hope you have a wonderful happy Christmas xx

  24. I had such fun reading through this, have been looking forward to it all weekend. Particularly love the golden apples in the silver bowl, what a fabulous idea, do you mind if I steal it? What greenery did you use for these?

    1. Thanks so much Susan, it is great fun to have the house finally decorated and to be able to sit back and enjoy all the gorgeous twinkling lights. For the greenery I used more cuttings of Juniper, it smells divine. By all means go ahead and use the idea, it is terribly simple but quite effective. Have a very Happy Christmas xx

  25. Just beautiful. Decorated with love, which is much better than perfection. And those glass ornaments, ::sigh::
    I found in the local Ace hardware a string of tiny LED lights that runs on a battery pack, for use where you don’t have a plug. Hooray for technology. Passing it on in case others can use one.
    Will you plant the little conifers outside after the holidays?

    1. Thanks Emm, all those glass ornaments indeed, but it’s always a little nerve wracking with lots of people and dogs in the equation too, they tend not to bounce too well on tiled floors!! Fingers crossed so far this year we have escaped any damages, I hope I haven’t just jinxed this! There are battery run LED lights on sale here too, what a fabulous idea, I wonder how long they last before the batteries need changing, I was tempted to buy some but didn’t! Yes we will plant the conifers out in the garden after the New Year but we just thought they would look lovely in the hall for the holidays. Xx

  26. Wonderful post! I am madly trying to get something…anything…up on the blog about our Christmas! We don’t decorate much these days, and this year we won’t have a tree, so it slim pickins’ here! Our daughter won’t be here this year, until Dec. 29, so it will be quiet! But we have been entertaining quite a bit so I’ll try to get something going there for everyone to see! Yours looks so festive and fun; these traditions are so important, aren’t they?

    1. They are so important and they are also just the best, I am quite a traditional girl at heart! It sounds as if you have been having lots of fun entertaining. Will you have a secon Christmas on the 29th when your daughter arrives? Have a wonderful holidays xx

  27. Your Xmas has a warm special meaning for me, now that I’ve met you all minus 1. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.


    1. Thanks so much Bob, of course I am totally jealous of your snow, is it still there or has it all melted? So. Happy we met this year too, until next year – and a very Merry Christmas to you both too xxx

  28. Love your carefully selected crèche. I have a collection of a few different ones gathered from different sources. Hope I get them all out this year. Jo @ Let’s Face the Music

    1. Hi Jo, I love how people have collected different Christmas cribs, they are so beautiful, I can imagine you must display yours with such pride and enjoy getting them out each year and remembering where they came from. Have a very Merry Christmas xx

  29. Thanks for sharing Susan. Beautiful as always! I, too, read those little pieces of paper when placing DJ’s and Josh’s on the tree. It is wonderful being able to have a story for each ornament. Have a beautiful and blessed Christmas with the family and give them all hugs from me.

    1. Thanks so much Debra, I love those decorations so much, I think Josh and DJ both had Mrs T as well, hence they all did the same things, each year they make me cry, they are so gorgeous! Hope your Christmas tree is as perfect as ever, ours pails into insignificance! Have a very Happy Christmas all of you and lots of hugs from us too xxx

  30. Your house is beautiful and I love your wreath. Our stockings were always at the foot of the bed, too. They were the first bit of Christmas every year. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    1. They were the first bit of our Christmas I agree, such fond memories or waking during the night and that fantastic feeling, “he’s” been, I know my children feel exactly the same way. Of course they are all so excited, it’s quite infectious! Hope you have a lovely Christmas xx

  31. Ah Susan, of course the beautiful poem will bring sudden tears into one’s eyes; as much as we absolutely adore our children in their present forms and stages, I am also at the same time always a mother in mourning for the little people that are forever gone…! Such a poem is a sure trigger …<3

    1. I totally agree, I love every stage the children go through and every age, but sometimes one remembers those years from the past and somehow it still brings tears to my eyes. Hope you have a wonderful peaceful and happy Christmas xx

  32. C’ est magnifique Susan ! Vraiment une très jolie décoration de Noël dans votre belle maison. J’ adore votre miroir illuminé , au-dessus de la cheminée, orné de branches de sapin avec ces 2 candélabres en verre : on se croirait dans un château de la Renaissance ! Votre sapin de Noël est splendide avec tous ces ornements, pleins de couleurs et de mémoires, brillants sous les lumignons électriques. J’ aime beaucoup également votre crêche de Provence avec ces santons faits à la main qui représentent le véritable esprit de la célébration de Noël. Comme vous j’ ai une crêche avec des santons qu’ il faut placer stratégiquement et j’ ai ajouté une lampe au-dessus du berceau qui ne sera allumée que le 25 décembre à 00 h 00. Ce n’ est pas très fidèle à l’ histoire mais c’ est très joli à regarder ! Bravo et merci de nous faire partager vos traditions de Noël qui rendent votre maison familiale si chaleureuse à voir. // It is magnificent Susan! Really a very beautiful Christmas decoration in your pretty house. I love your illuminated mirror, above the fireplace,decorated with branches of fir tree and 2 beautiful glass candelabras : it’ s like a castle of the Renaissance! Your Christmas Tree is gorgeous with all its ornaments, full of colors and memories, shining under the electric small lights.I love very much your crêche de Provence with its Christmas crib figures hand made which represent the real spirit of Christmas.Like you I have a small crêche ( not from Provence ) with some santons which need to be placed strategically and in which I added a Led light over the crib which which will not be lit before midnight on december the 25th. It is not very faithful to the History but it’ s very nice to look. Bravo and thank you for sharing with us your Christmas traditions which make your family house so warm to look at.Joyeux Noël / Merry Christmas.

    1. I love the idea of the light over the crib Philippe, I have seen lots of little battery powered LED lights for sale recently, do you mind if I copy your idea, the children would just love it, I can imagine it would become a tradition to turn it on on the night of the 24th. Wishing you a very happy Christmas. Joyeux Noël xx

      1. Je suis content que l’ idée vous plaise et s’ ajoute à vos traditions de Noël.De mon côté j’ ai retenu les cadeaux dans une chaussette aux pieds du lit ! // I’ m very happy that this idea pleases you and add to yours Christmas traditions. On my side I’ ve picked the idea of presents in stocking at the bed end! Have a good day.

        1. I told the children this morning and they thought it was a great idea, I’m off to buy the LED light today, so we will think of you on the 24th. So glad you like the stockings at the foot of the bed. Our French neighbour’s children have decided it is a fun way to do things too and this year they are copying our English tradition! Xx

  33. I not only ‘like’ this post, I LOVE it – and again it hasn’t turned up at all in my postings-inbox…. Luckily I found it when a reader mentionned it on another post I follow up – see, every silverlining has a cloud hidden inside 🙂
    Your tree looks so similar to ours…. Only this year I kept away the real breakable stuff and went for all these animals and felt-thingies. The overall impression however is the same and your lights also seem blue on the photo when they are really white LEDs, aren’t they?
    The mini-cypress trees have also featured in my decos, already years ago. Those babies have in the meantime grown to such an entend that one is nearly bursting the stone jardinière I planted it in and the two others have long out grown the size where I can suitable tuck them in for some cute decoration…. Sadly, we don’t have a real tree but have invested in a beautiful and quite real looking one with even cones and uneven looking branches. Looks great and I can prepare it in advance as we often are not around on the actual Christmas Day (depending on receiving or going out for visits)…. Your home does look beautifully Christmassy and happy and I only envy you your Santons a tiny little bit. I made – many years ago – a pottered nativity scene with tiny sheep etc but have not taken it out for many moons now because it was something rather for the children & less for us adults who complained about the space the crib & stable with its hay and stuff took up, and which was missing for ‘more important’ stuff…. But every year I look at it and commiserate about Joseph’s broken arm and missing limbs here and there and then put it back with a smile.
    Happy Week dearest to all of you – happy holidays to the children – now you really have the house full…..!!!!! Let’s do some soup cooking and eating too – we find it goes well with a glass of red wine.

    1. Hi Kiki, firstly thank you so much. Secondly, may I suggest you re-subscribe not the blog. Perhaps for some reason it has unsubscribed you. That way you should start receiving emails again? Let me know and I will see if I can help if this doesn’t fix it. Yes the lights are indeed tiny white LED lights, which indeed do look blue in the photo, but I am looking at them now and they are most definitely white! I shall plant the little cypress trees out after the New Year, I shall heed your words and plant them straight into the ground rather than in tubs! I have remembered now thanks to your comment and another person’s comment the crib my parents had when I was growing up. It was made out of an old wooden crate and filled with straw from the farm and all sorts of beautiful figures. It used to come out year in year out and be placed on the hall table. I wonder what happened to that, it was so beautiful. I am sure your tree is perfect and at least you have no needles to vacuum on a daily basis! Enjoy some soup, it was really cold here today, it never got above 3C all afternoon, but no frost, just cold. We went ice skating and it actually felt quite appropriate to be so chilly, we could see our breath in the air! Time for some vin chaud! xx

  34. Oh my! What a fabulously Christmas atmosphere, Susan. Mrs C and I will be enjoying a twosome this year, we had a mad get-together last year, though one daughter and her family will be here on the 29th for a couple of days trudging the shingle! Have a great weekend – I hope all goes well and there are not too many tears! Most important of all, I seem to remember.

    1. Thanks so much Phil, I hope you have a truly lovely Christmas a deux and then have a wonderful second Christmas with your daughter and her family. I gather high winds might be heading your way and storms. Stay dry and warm xx

  35. It all sounds perfectly lovely. I hope it continues that way for years! My youngest put the star on the tree again this year, but he is 20 now. My Christmas tree decorating plans, did not go the way I had anticipated. I’ll be blogging about it eventually.

    1. Thanks Paulita, it doesn’t matter how old or young they are does it? They are still our babies and it’s still wonderful to continue with the traditions. Your decorating plans sound somewhat intriguing, hope all is well now! Have a very Merry Christmas xx

  36. As always, your blog is lovely and so full of family love. A very Merry Christmas and wonderful holidays to you and yours. Hugs, Gwen

    1. Thank you so much Gwen, so happy you managed to find a way to the post and once again thanks for emailing and I am sorry it was something of a hassle. Wishing you a very Merry and peaceful Christmas xx

  37. first time ever, my browser can’t open your story: “page can’t be found” 😦

    Recently discovered your website and immediately subscribed. Love your posts.

    Em Fan in the U.S.

    On Sun, Dec 18, 2016 at 1:08 AM, Our French Oasis wrote:

    > ourfrenchoasis posted: ” We’ve done it, we’ve decorated the house! School > is over at last, and the holidays have begun. Ours is not an immaculately > decorated house and we follow no particular theme, just lots of natural > elements from the garden, plenty of twinkling white ligh” >

    1. Hi Em, so sorry there was such a big problem. There was a lot of problems with WordPress and with our internet and I was in a big rush to leave after I posted. However, if you go direct to the website you will find the post is there and you can click read more and easily view it. Once again my apologies. I hope you have a wonderful happy and peaceful Christmas. Big hugs from France xx

  38. It all looks so wonderfully seasonal and you have gone to a lot of trouble, I too have Christmas decorations that were my Grans and the tree ones we still use but the ceiling ones we dont tend to put up now as we are too old so keep it simple. Merry Christmas to you and your family

    1. Thanks so much, I totally agree with keeping it simple, I plan to each year, but with a large family the amount of decorating just seems to grow! Hope you have a truly be lovely Christmas xx

  39. Clearly the Danes have nothing on your Hygge style of Christmas and life in France! It’s all so beautiful, cozy and inspiring. I swear I could smell the evergreens in your exquisite photos. Fancy a trip to Denver sometime to show me how it’s actually done? ღ
    P.S. LOVED the handmade hand printed ornaments. What a lovely self-made tradition to hang every year. 🎄 Happy Christmas!

    1. Thanks so much Monika, I have never been to Denver, Izzi had a dream for many years to live in Colorado. One day I would love to visit, but I am sure you have a great many more experts there! I love the hand print ornaments, they always bring tears to my eyes, they were such a sweet thing to have made, I remember them being given to me after they had made them with the class. Hope you have a wonderful happy and peaceful Christmas xx

          1. Sounds a bit like my life! Nothing too glamourous here either. It has rained all day which means muddy paws and a kitchen floor that permanently needs washing an dogs paws that permanently need wiping! But we wouldn’t live without them! Xx

  40. i love this! and i am so happy you directed me to your magnolia wreath because it is indeed perfect and reminds me of the american south and all that charm. thanks for sharing your family and traditions with us…truly heartwarming as my own sons are grown and so much of the innocence and wonder has left our holiday. at the same time, we are able to have meaningful grown up discussions, and i can dream of the day the grandchildren will emerge with wide eyes and wonder, believing no one else could ever bake with love like their grandma! xox

    1. Thanks so much Michele, I have to admit I was rather surprised at the end result, it was so much fun to make and I just kept adding bits until it looked good! I so agree with you about children, the wonder may have gone but as you so rightly say, the conversations are so fabulous that have replaced it, we still have some of the wonder with our youngest and the conversations too, so we are lucky. I can only imagine what fun it will be when we get to the grandchildren stage, so much fun to share everything all over again. Hope you have a lovely, happy and peaceful Christmas xx

  41. Finally I have a few moments to reply! We’ve had our two small grandsons since Monday and you know what that is like just before Christmas! They were very good but very bouncy! Took them to see two real reindeer, donkeys and sheep at a local garden centre – more bouncing! There were Christmas scenes and scenes from children’s stories – bounce bounce! And the area that sold Christmas lights – well – what a magical sparkly place that was, with a black ceiling totally covered in twinkling lights! Bounce bounce bounce plus high pitched little voices! Such a joy. I loved your post – yiur tree is very like ours, with each bauble and decoration having a memory from our life’s journey. None of this two- colour designer tree decorating for us! All red gold and green with a memory on every branch! I wish you and Roddy and your lovely family a fabulous Christmas and look forward to reading your blog throught next year. Maybe I’ll even find the courage to start one of my own!!

    1. It sounds as if you have had your hands full, but I am sure you have enjoyed every second of it and what lucky boys they are. Christmas is such a magical time of year for children, I Love watching their faces, their looks of sheer wonder and awe on their faces. I think ours is a very traditional English Christmas tree, it is just as I remember ours as a child and as Roddy remembers his, little has changed! Hope you too have a wonderful happy and peaceful Christmas with your family. An find the courage and go for it! Xx

  42. I for one wouldn’t want the perfectly decorated home for Christmas. I love getting out the ornaments and thinking of where we were when we bought it or who gave it to us. We have little houses and people out, and one of the houses doesn’t match the rest. It’s also the one nearest and dearest to me because it’s the one that sat in the window at my grandparents’ house. Our lights are a mix of white and color, and nothing really matches. I think it’s just perfect!

    1. It sounds just perfect Sarah, traditions and memories, that’s what makes Christmas decorating perfect for me, I love opening the baubles and boxes and remembering where we bought things, where they hung when I was a child or who gave them to us, it’s all so special. Hope you have a very happy and peaceful Christmas xx

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