It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas.

Dear friends,

I spent my evenings last week putting up the new Christmas tree in the Den and spreading a little holiday cheer around the house.

The tree is loaded with all our favorite ornaments:


The mantle is festooned:


And the buffet is adorned with my Grandmother’s Santa Mug collection:


I’ve got more than a dozen large totes of Christmas decorations. Given that I limited myself to a single tree, the mantle, and the buffet, I think I showed considerable restraint. (I also sent a tote with Kate so she could decorate her college apartment even though I know I’ll have to haul it home for the summer). Gone are the days when it looks like the Macy’s Christmas Store exploded in every room of my home.

Now all I need to do is buy a handful of additional gifts and get to wrapping. I gave up on the whole holiday card thing years ago. I’m deeply appreciative of those folks who take the time to send them, but in an era of Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and blogging, there’s really not anyone who desires to keep up with us who can’t do so electronically. I don’t know if I’ve succumbed to the forces of modernity or indolence, but I’ve succumbed.

And, finally, I made reservations for our family at our favorite restaurant for Christmas Eve. I’ll cook on Christmas Day, but our family has always celebrated both occasions and last year I decided I didn’t really have to prepare two lavish spreads in less than 12 hours. The impulse to do it all has faded, thank goodness.

So that’s it. My list is checked twice and the stockings are hung with care. It’s starting to look and feel a lot like Christmas.

With gratitude {for a season of maternal maturity when Christmas can feel like relaxed contentment},

Joan, who’d love to tell you all about the cool tradition she decided to start this year but is still keeping it a surprise from Kate and Parker, who are known to read her blog now and then, so she must keep her lip zipped until after Christmas


  1. Your tree is gorgeous, the tote sent to school will likely raise more spirits than you’ll ever know, and I am eager to hear more about the “surprise tradition” (an oxymoron is born!) yet to come. We unveiled a new tree this year which has LED lights but otherwise looks very comforting sporting our favorite folkloric ornaments (our theme this year). I too have come to realize I don’t need to do it all personally – some jobs are best organized to be done by others – and that realization may be about the best gift I ever got (from me to me). Happiest Holidays!

  2. I love that Santa mug collection. Makes me want to start my own!

    I love doing the holiday card thing but since we just sent out 60+ thank you cards from our wedding, we’re postponing another mailing until January. That way we can use one of our wedding photos (that aren’t ready until then anyhow) as the card. Sometimes you have to just say no to things so you can actually have TIME to enjoy the season.

  3. I have a Santa mug from the Rose Bowl flea market that I would be delighted to add to your collection (although I know you are minimizing…..). I remember your holiday letters from days of yore. Must be honest and admit that I miss the old-fashioned, year-end round up.

  4. i never realized how holiday appropriate klimt is. lovely all around joan

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