Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Welcome to the Christmas Tour

I thought I'd give you tour of the house by way of sharing a few pictures that I took whilst moseying about, getting ready for the holidays. As I mentioned, we got our first snowfall the other day. We only got a few inches just enough to make for a picturesque winter setting. This is the view from the upstairs' window looking out over the backyard.

Our First Snowfall of the Season
While I was in the great room, I snapped a few photos of my favorite ornaments. My camera is acting a little fluky (or perhaps it's the operator); it doesn't take close-ups very well. Here a couple that came out okay.  The first picture is of an ornament we got this past summer while up in Maine.  We had our names written on it.  We thought it would be cute with Bandit as the little kid in the middle.  There's us sitting by the sound looking at Mount Desert. Do you like it?

My New Favorite Ornament
I'm a sucker for Peanuts' collectibles. I have a couple Snoopy and Charlie Brown ornaments. This picture came out decent and happens to be one of my favorites (besides it's Lenox, another thing I'm a sucker for).

Love Peanuts Stuff
I got this candy tray a few years ago. It was an after holiday sale so it went right into the attic where I actually forgot about it until pulling out the Christmas stuff the following year. (It's also Lenox. Surprised?)

The Snoopy and Charlie Brown Candy Dish
I get a little fanatical (where the old OCD kicks in) when it comes to wrapping. I used to be really bad. In my distant past I wouln't use tape; I didn't like the way it showed through on the package, even the so called magic-clear type. Instead I used a glue stick. (Yes, I kid you not.) I also used to use a ruler so that I could perfectly align said package in the middle of the paper. I only bought things that fit into boxes; asymmetrical edges drove me crazy. Now I'm not as bad. I drop things into gift bags, use tape even the shiny type, no ruler is used to measure and cutting doesn't have to be perfectly straight. With all that forgone I think I still do a decent job.  Hospital corners are critical.

Wrapped Presents sans Glue Stick
Here's where all the magic happens. I use the spare bedroom to wrap up all the gifts. Bandit's presents are hidden in the closet. (Which reminds me I Santa haven't hasn't done the wrapping of those yet.)  Notice the box on the floor.  That's so that I can get a good edge on the paper; wrapping on a rug doesn't allow for crisp, clean hospital corners.

Rick's Santa's Workshop
Okay now moving downstairs, I can tell the economy is tight by the amount of Christmas cards we get (or rather don't get). Usually I have to fill up two posts. This year we barely filled up one. (Perhaps your card is in the mail?) I have to admit my favorite and the most unique is from a friend in Amsterdam. It was also the first card of the season. It's the black one with the windmill.

The Economy's Impact on Christmas Cards 
Here's Bandit sleeping on the job. Normally he's perched up on the arm of the chair or on the hassock peering out the window, searching for intruders. He must have felt comfortable that I had everything under control and could afford a few minutes of shut eye.

Bandit Sleeping on the Job
While we're here in the foyer, this is Chris' collection of villages.  It's a hodgepodge of makes.  I tried to get him to lean toward one particularly brand (Dept. 56 or something) but he just grabs what he likes which is fine.  He adds a new piece every year.

The Hodgepodge Village
Okay, now let's head back upstairs for the pièce de résistance, the Christmas tree. The first year we moved here we put the tree right where I just showed you, downstairs where Bandit's chair is currently located. I didn't like it there. First off the ceilings downstairs aren't high enough so we couldn't get a really tall tree and secondly it was too tight. So the last couple of years we settled on having the tree in the great room which I find perfect. (Watch your step as we head back up.) The cathedral ceiling allows us to have a decent size tree, plus there's the fireplace which offers great ambiance.

Stockings Hung by the...
No, this isn't the tree.  This is actually the tree I had in New York City.  My Mom shipped it to me and I've had it ever since.  Chris likes to futz with the itsy-bitsy ornaments while I curse the lights of the mother tree.

The NYU Itsty-Bitsy Tree
And now here's said Mother. Ta-da! (Note the penguin gift bag, that was for stuff that didn't make good hospital corners.) I took this photo with the flash so you can see more of the detail but then you can't really tell the lights are on.

Mother Tree with Flash
Here's the picture without the flash. Trust me the picture looks better smaller if you click to enlarge (please don't) you'll see it's really a rather shitty picture, all fuzzy and out of focus. Damn camera (okay, well maybe it's the operator).

Mother Tree without the Flash
Alright, that's enough. You should probably get going to finish up your shopping. I hope you enjoyed your little tour. I had fun showing you around. Bye, bye (hugs...peck on the check). Remember that front porch is slippery.  Be careful.

"Be careful on your way out...the porch is slippery."


Peter said...

Thanks for showing me your home. Why has Santa's workshop no temporary table so the wrapping goes easier? Especially since Santa's back can snap sop easely. ;)

Jason, as himself said...

So nice! I'd love to come and spend the day in your beautiful home!

(Did I just invite myself?)

Rick said...

@Peter - funny I've been wrapping presents on the floor for my entire life - never thought of bringing in a table. Maybe next year.

@Jason - consider yourself invited.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I thought our place was the pinnacle of Christmas bliss, you have knocked us out of the park!

Your place looks beautiful. The cards hung on the wall, like we did when I was kid - sigh! Those were the days.

Funny you mentioned how you got that Christmas ornament in Maine from your trip there last summer. There's a Christmas shop in Bar Harbor that I went to once - I wonder if it was the same place. And why is there always a Christmas shop in every resort town? I guess they know, don't they.

A Happy Christmas to you and yours!

Ur-spo said...

absoluely marvelous !
so christmasy too.
I am envious.

Rick said...

@Corey - we got our ornament at this place in downtown right on Main St near the water - probably the same one.

@Spo - no envy allowed...Merry Christmas!

Lemuel said...

I enjoyed your tour very much! Your home and your decorations are beautiful!
Now, about that OCD... :-D

Stan in NH said...

Very nice and festive. Hope all three of you have a wonderful holiday. Merry Christmas. :)

Greg said...

Great tree! I love all the white lights in the non-flash picture. And how festive your house looks!!

Rick said...

@Lemuel - yeah, the OCD thing, perhaps I should talk to Spo.

@Stan - thank you...same to you and yours!

@Greg - thanks...I like that picture the best too, despite it being a shitty one.

sophie...^5 said...

Happy Holidays Bandit..spread the love!

Charles said...

Thanks for the tour! I suck at wrapping gifts, even the teacher agrees with me.

Brahm (alfred lives here) said...

Looks great, very very Christmas-y.

Love the Peanuts collectibles... when's the open house?

Rick said...

@Sophie - thank you...woof...woof!

@Charles - it truly is the thought that counts.

@Alfred - you didn't get the invite?

BosGuy said...

Merry Christmas to you - I hope the holiday was a relaxing one.

the cajun said...

Well, Hrummph! No after-tour eggnog or cookies? ;-)

Lovely, really.