Sunday, December 16, 2007

Holiday Spirit

Karen's Christmas Tree with 1,100 lights and 300 ornaments
Tis the season to be over the top!

New Year's Day cooking of beans and ham is reenacted at the Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center in Townsend, Tennessee. Picture taken by Pet's brother, Peter Belsito visiting from West Hollywood, California


Well Pet, I just finished hanging my three hundred ornaments and I'm exhausted! I must confess I have a thing for Christmas ornaments. Like shoes and handbags, I can never get enough! But this year especially I have a good excuse. Due to a major disaster with my old fake Christmas tree, I lost half of my ornaments. Some of my favorites I've had for years and some antique ones were lost. I was beyond devastated. But this is one of those times I'm thankful to be a transplant because not only was I able to get a fabulous new fake tree, but I was also able to pick up some very nice antique and Victorian looking ornaments. The choices in the city can't be beat. Funny I shopped for them just like I shop for clothes and accessories. Do a ton of searching and window browsing and then finally make a commitment. Lol


Could be not as many, but we do have choices in the country. The local chains and markets are loaded with a vast selection of trees and ornaments. Like you I shop for decorations same as I do for clothes and accessories never buy retail go for the bargains. Being close to the forests, there's an abundance of real trees for sale. We could cut one from the woods out back but I hate to disturb the deer hiding out from the hunters behind the pines. I'll unpack the garage and hang stuff when the weather warms up. Hopefully before Christmas. I'd love to put red bows on the eight Black Angus heifers that live across the road. My little dog hates to be dressed up, but the cows are female so maybe they'd enjoy getting beribboned. The girls are huge now so I don't think I want to wrestle them. I'll settle for tying bows on my stone lions at the end of the driveway.


The only thing I have to tie a big bow around are palm trees. : ) Have to say I do love my white lights. Must have thousands of them all over the house. Have 1, 2000 on the tree alone! Even though they are everywhere I still love the icicle lights. Especially as in Southern California we can't get the real thing. Somehow white lights just make everything look pretty. The other thing I love this time of year are of all the little dinner parties my friends throw. Of course my waistline suffers but that's what elastic is for. Lol


Don't want to be a spoilsport but then comes January and diet extravaganza. You probably work your extra calories off taking down and putting away your thousands of decorations. I keep mine up until Jan. 6 or the twelfth night. Then I can't get them down fast enough. Speaking of eating, I bet one of our traditions never made it in healthy living Southern California. On New Years day, the favorite dish is pork, cook's choice of scrumptious dishes. In the south, black-eyed peas often are served as a side dish. Tradition says pigging out this way brings good luck in the New Year. Icicle lights are my favorite too, but for watching, not hanging, since all those years in the Snow Belt, twenty miles from Canada, surrounded by real icicles, any kind of ice is better forgotten.


LOL Pet!. Somehow you can never forget the snow Back East no how long ago you left. Although I miss the idea of snow. : ) Just got a good reminder when hubby and I took a mini break up to Yosemite. We went up to the high country part of the Park and it was 29 degrees with a wind chill that brought it down closer to 10. That kind of cold I don't miss! So for me electric lights as icicles are just fine. As far as yuletide food we have some traditional Eastern things we like to have at diner, like a Christmas goose. I especially liked the side dishes, pearl onions in a white sauce and oysters cooked in a casserole with a cracker topping. Yummy! You should have seen the look on my face the first time I went to my hubby's parents for Christmas. He's a native Californian. They had chips and salsa with guacamole for appetizer and for dinner to go with the tofurkey they served sides of couscous and artichoke salad. Groovy. : )


To me a tofurkey spells holiday disaster. I remember a real holiday disaster from my childhood. One of my aunts was Mrs. Christmas, kind of like you. Decorations everywhere and a tree so big it sat in the stairwell towering to the second floor. On the big day, we all gathered to ohhh and ahhh the perfect tree. Then along comes six-year-old cousin decked out in his brand new cowboy outfit. Big hat, holster with guns, chaps, spurs on his high-heeled boots. Little Cuz walked somewhat shakily as he learned to navigate on those heels. Wobbling close up to inspect the tree, he grabbed hold of a branch to steady himself. Cuz ended flat on the floor under, evergreens, balls, and lights. Auntie, Uncle and Boys all burst into tears, crying for the tree, not the cuz. Daddy and I extracted the little guy, laughing so hard we choked, heathens that we were.


Cute story Pet. But of course I'm on your Aunt's side. : ) Some of us take our Christmas decorating very seriously. Lol I take so long to put mine up, and my house looks it best all decked out, that I keep mine up most of January. I have a rule. If more than five people comment that I should think about taking my decorations down as Valentines Day is quickly approaching I actually start thinking about it. Luckily most of my friends are too polite to say anything. : )


Don't know why I'm dwelling on disasters this festive holiday season. I can't forget a New Year's Eve when we traveled out of town for big party where we would spend the night with the hosts. Shortly after midnight, Mr. Host comes down the stairs, stark naked, brandishing a nasty looking pistol. Fortunately, we hadn't drunk much and could drive all the way home ducking weaving cars. I'm betting Karen, Southern Cal's answer to Martha Stewart, holds, or attends, awesome New Years Eve parties.


Our neighborhood has a holiday progressive party that is a lot of fun. We move from house to house usually at least four. One of the neighbors has a traveling martini bar is his son's little red wagon. By the time we hit the desert house we always have to check to make sure we have everyone. Last year one of my neighbors trailed far behind and ended up wandering the neighborhood till his wife found him. But this year everyone is going out of town so I'm left to either throw a small party for my other friends or do nothing at all. You can guess what's going to happen. : ) Must show off all my hard work decorating the house somehow. Lol


I'd probably be the one wandering since New Years Eve Parties spell catastrophe for me. My last peaceful holiday season happened the year I turned six. On Christmas Eve, Santa Claus and I had a long conversation. We had no fireplace, so he came through the window. I woke up just as he entered my room. He sat on the windowsill and we talked and talked. I fell asleep again mid chat, but next morning I found ample evidence of his visit. Despite sharing the day with a new baby sister, he'd left plenty presents for me. Childhood dream? To this day, I wonder.

Urban Karen and Rural Pet,

The Transplants wish you all a wonderful holiday season. Whether you live in the country, the city or in between, we hope your days are full of friends, family, and of course presents. : ) And may the new year bring you everything you wished for and more. Happy 2008!


Michelle Lauren said...

Hi Petrina,

I just wanted to say "hi." We're both in CLWOW chapter and we met back at the Chick Lit Wine & Cheese party at Nationals in...(I can't believe I'm going senile this early in life...)It might have been Reno. My sister Minx Malone and I were sitting at a table with you and Lois Winston.

To Karen, who I haven't met: Hi. I didn't want to leave you out of my warm greetings.

Hope everything is going well with you both.

Warm regards,
Michelle Lauren

Fran said...

Now, I am really into the Holiday spirit! I have heard so many of the tree tipping over stories-- a common problem. We learned that a sturdy tree stand is a must.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to those who don't celebrate Christmas!

Wendi said...

What a beautiful tree! Only a few of our ornaments made it out of the boxes this year. But I bought my ham and black-eyed peas today. I hope you both had a Merry Christmas and that the coming year is filled with blessings.