Category Archives: Home

The Dressmaker’s Legacy: A Poem

IMG_0153The Dressmaker’s Legacy

Grandma Mamie’s hands were always busy
creating beauty where there was none –
from threads, potato sacks, fabric scraps and wool,
she designed, tatted, crocheted, knit and sewed.
She had magic in her hands.

She might have been a famous dress designer
in another time – with other opportunities.
She could envision a garment,
make a pattern from newspaper,
cut the fabric and sew the new creation.

When her twins were two, she made
a white cotton dress with crocheted yoke and sleeves.
her daughters kept the yokes all their lives,
as a loving reminder of their mother.

When her twins were 15, they sketched a dress
with a hem longer on one side than the other.
They said it reminded them of a shirt untucked
on one side, so they named it the “shirt-tail dress.
Grandma designed it and made two.
Classmates at Gauley Bridge High School
wanted one too, so grandma made more, and
started a local fad in West Virginia.
The shirt-tail dress, ahead of its time,
a dress with an asymmetrical hem.

Grandma believed clothes for her twins
should be ready to wear at the same time,
(no favoritism here), so she cut out sleeves for one,
then sleeves for the other, bodice for one,
then bodice for the other, and so on.
Cutting and sewing parts in tandem,
both dresses were ready to wear – at the same time.

She crocheted elegant tablecloths,
intricate feminine collars for dresses and suits,
flat doiles for the arms of her chairs;
fancy ones with starched ruffles for her tables,
and bedspreads of pleasing patterns;
tatted delicate lace for trims;
knitted afghans to cuddle under in winter,
soft booties, hats and small quilts for
new grandchildren and great grandchildren.
She used scraps of leftover material and old clothes
to design and sew beautiful quilts by hand.
She worked magic with those hands.

Grandma’s hands were always busy,
Even when she sat at rest and her sight grew dim,
there was piecework in her lap.
In her 80’s, she was happiest when family visited,
eyes bright with anticipation,
especially when children were coming.
Her wrinkled face with thick glasses greeted us in smiles.
She held both our hands and looked into our eyes when she talked.
I remember staring at her slender hands – with age spots,
blue veins and arthritic joints – tenderly holding mine
and hoping a little of her magic rubbed off on me.

Grandma’s art is in my home now,
fruits of her labor all around.
A favorite quilt pulls at memories
each time I see it, or touch it,
made of fabric swatches from clothes
my mother, sister and I wore in years past.
Sleeping under the warmth of this quilt
brings comfort from the past beyond measure.
I treasure too, my babies quilts,
the kitchen napkins with crocheted edges,
her doiles I have framed, and
the white crocheted bedspread
I drape with care each Summer
on the white bed in the guest room,
as a artist displays a valuable art piece.

Her legacy is greater than treasured items.
Grandma Mamie passed on the value of work,
and the will to create beauty in practical things
that comfort – and make a home.

Sue Marquis Bishop
Copywrite 2013

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Butternut Squash Soup for an October Lunch with Friends

Fall is in the air in the Carolinas and it’s the perfect time for making hearty soups and arranging friendly gatherings.  One of my favorite soups this time of year is butternut squash soup.

My sister-in-law Yvonne is visiting from Kentucky and we invited our friend Barbara to join us for lunch.  The table is set in the breakfast room to enjoy the outside view from the adjacent Carolina Room.

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I love to make hearty soups… seems like magic to add, blend and stir…and  end up with something new and warm to enjoy. I make it differently each time based on what I have available and want to try.  This is the soup for this day.

1 large onion, minced

4 garlic cloves

1 Tablespoon butter and splash of olive oil

Wash and slice one large onion and sauté in a splash of olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter.  (Adding minced pieces of celery is optional.) When the onion is nearly translucent, add 4 garlic cloves, salt and pepper and heat for a few minutes longer..

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In a large pot, whisk together squash, vegetable stock, honey and cornstarch. When well mixed, set pot on heat and bring to a boil, whisking occasionally.

1 can butternut squash

1 large carton vegetable stock (broth) (chicken stock OK too)

1/4 cup honey

1 Tablespoon cornstarch

1 Tablespoon butter

1 cup cooked carrots, sliced  (or one can of carrots with liquid)

1 large white potato, previously baked and cut in bite size chunks

Spices: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, thyme, curry

When squash mixture boils, add cooked onions and garlic, cooked carrots, baked potato, butter and spices. Begin adding spices at 1/4 teaspoon and increase to get the flavor you prefer.  Use a pinch of curry, as a little goes a long way.  (I use curry with 2-3  basil leaves stored in the big curry jar to infuse savory basil flavor… as suggested by my dear Chinese friend Leai).

When the soup returns to a boil, turn heat to medium-low and let it simmer for about 20-30 minutes to blend flavors. The last couple of minutes on the heat, gently whisk in the milk. . Serve soup with a tiny sprinkling of nutmeg to enhance the aroma. Serve with great breads and crackers and a tossed salad with strawberries or other fruit.

The breadbasket for this meal holds raisin bread, pumpkin bread (not the sweet bread) and crackers. (I crocheted an edge on some material I liked for napkins.  I think it adds a nice touch.  I don’t do any fancy crocheting… just the basics.)

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What could  be  better  than  homemade  squash  soup, a sunny Fall day and  good conversation with friends. CIMG2181

Sue Marquis Bishop 2014

Tomato Peach Salsa Takes Talapia, Chicken or Pork Roast to a Starring Role on Your Table

The bounty of luscious and plentiful fruit and vegetables of warm Summer days stimulate creative days in the kitchen.  Today was such a day when I used available foods and spices to make a tomato-peach salsa.  Sooo good with a meat entre for dinner!!

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Our tomatoes are producing generously this year.  We are enjoying our fill of bacon and tomato sandwiches, tomatoes stuffed with tuna salad, sliced tomatoes drizzled with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, as a side dish of breaded tomatoes.  The best is grabbing the salt shaker and eating a freshly picked whole tomato warm from the Summer sun…tomato juice dripping through our fingers, as we hold our heads over the sink..

Today, I noticed two peaches sitting on the kitchen counter beside the basket of tomatoes we had just harvested.  The thought occurred that I might develop a salsa recipe that we could use with the pork roast I had cooking in the crock pot.

The first step was to wash the tomatoes and cover them with boiling water for 30-45 seconds so the peelings will  come off easily. One of the features in our new house that I love is the boiling water faucet in the kitchen (Thanks Peggy, for including it in the kitchen remodel!.).

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And, it really works too.  So much easier than trying to peel the tomato skins off.

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When I am creating a new recipe, it’s a little of this and a pinch or splash of that.  So, I will share the approximate measurements.  You may want to adjust several of the ingredients for your own tastes.

The salsa I made today includes peeled and quartered tomatoes (about 5 cups), two peaches, lemon juice (about 1/4 cup),apple cider vinegar (about 1/4 cup), honey to taste (1/2 cup), 1/2 diced green bell pepper, 1 tablespoon minced basil, 1 tablespoon  minced gingerroot, 1 medium diced onion, black pepper, red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon allspice, 2 tablespoons butter and 1/2 cup raisins.

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Cook at gentle boil until thickened, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

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The tomato-peach salsa was processed in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes to seal canning jars.

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The crock pot pork roast was tender and juicy and ready for dinner when the salsa was done.  The meat-salsa combination was delicious… spicy and sweet-tart.

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We munched on turkey sandwiches on sour dough rolls for lunch the next day.  The tomato-peach salsa made the sandwiches extra special with icy orange-ice tea.  I’m so glad I made enough for another day.

Sue Marquis Bishop   2014

It’s Time to Downsize and I’m Not Ready!

I HAVE BEEN ON HIATUS from the internet for several weeks, fully engaged in navigating a life transition that I thought I was ready for… but found more difficult than I anticipated.
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WE WERE TWO EMPTY NESTERS in a three story house that continued to grow larger by the month. My husband and I agreed it made sense to simplify our life by selling our “family home”. We came to that conclusion one day when we realized we were using cell phones to find one another…it’s not easy to “shout out” when we are two floors away from one another…and we didn’t need 4.5 bathrooms.

For several years, we have enjoyed spending time in our small vacation house in the NC mountains. When I am there, I realize that we don’t need all the “things” we have in our home in Charlotte. Daily choices are fewer: two sets of sheets only for each bed (when clean set goes on, the other set goes into the washer), two tablecloths for each season, three flower vases, fewer dishes and small kitchen appliances. The closets are smaller there, with less clothes, so there are fewer choices of what to wear. An added bonus is the ease in keeping a smaller space clean and tidy…less floor to sweep and mop. Life seems easier somehow. So, we reasoned, although we really loved our family home in Charlotte, we decided we were ready to sell it and move to a smaller house. After all, we didn’t need all that space, did we?

You would think we had come to grips with selling our home, before we put up a “For Sale” sign…and I guess the answer is “yes” and “no”. Yet, we were surprised in December to receive an offer on the house. The buyers wanted possession right away by December 23, but we had the good sense to say no… taking down the Christmas tree two days before Christmas… No Way!
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I WANTED TO HAVE OUR LAST CHRISTMAS with our children in our home of many years. And, we needed at least 60 days to make the move. After all, we weren’t expecting to sell that soon, and we didn’t have a place to move to. We also had over 4,000 square feet of house spread out on three floors, with furniture, accessories and odds and ends accumulated over many years of marriage. A few pieces of furniture were my parents and some were from my husband’s side of the family.

WE CELEBRATED THE CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS as usual, knowing it was the last holiday in this house. The month of January was an extended time of letting go, as we gave away so many things to friends, family, neighbors, and others who had need of specific items.

There was a flurry of activity for weeks with folks coming and going as items were carted away. We watched the treadmill loaded up and taken away (we will just find a place to walk outside), the barbeque grill, outdoor patio furniture (we don’t need it all), sectional sofa in the family room, tables, bookcases and lamps. The pool table stood as a lonely sentinel in the family room waiting for new owners.
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We donated bags of clothes, books and accessories to Goodwill and Veterans groups. I felt an unexpected loss as I watched my white dresser, with nine drawers, moving out of the house. My sister passed it on to me years ago and I had painted it a shabby chic white. It was my dresser for a few years until it was moved to our guest room. I don’t know why it bothered me so to see it go. I distributed a number of house plants, large and small, to delighted friends.

I WATCHED OUR 12 FOOT CHRISTMAS TREE out of sight as it was carried across the street to the neighbors’ garage. That tree presided over so many happy times in our home. I was comforted by the thought that our tree would reappear in its Christmas finery next December, but this time keeping watch over our house from the window across the street.

AFTER THE INITIAL GIVING AWAY, it occurred to me that there was a life cycle of “things” assigned. My dresser went to a young couple in a new home who didn’t have a dresser… the treadmill to a midlife man who wanted to lose some weight and get healthy…grandpa’s mandolin to our daughter who is the musician in the family and would appreciate it most…dishes to our daughter who is a great cook,…some of my husband’s tools to our son…bookcases to new neighbors who moved in boxes of professional books…our freezer and second refrigerator to a young chef who is developing a catering business… a doll to a 5 year old girl who loved it…and so on. There is a cosmic rightness about it all… passing on… recycling treasured items… and seeing them appreciated all over again.
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A COUPLE WITH A YOUNG FAMILY bought our house. It’s comforting to think that another family will be making new memories there. As we left closing, my husband told the young couple who bought our home, “I hope you’ll love living there as much as we did”. I said, “Take care of our house.”

IN JANUARY, we experienced record breaking cold, snow and ice in North Carolina, as we packed and moved in stages. It was a challenge! (But that is another story.)
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AS A FORMER FAMILY THERAPIST, I know it often helps with closing one chapter of life, to take time to say goodbye to spaces and places (as well as people) that have had meaning. In our final visit, my husband and I walked throughout the house and shared some of the memories we had of each room; happy times with our parents when they were still with us, summer cookouts by our Asian rock garden, dinner parties with friends and holiday gatherings with family. Our steps echoed in the empty rooms now filled with the ghosts of remembering…

I WAS REMINDED of the exciting day we bought the house…and I felt a sense of appreciation for this place and pride that we had, in fact, created a home that we loved and that welcomed others. Although we had some sad times over the years, this home had been a happy place…. And then, we walked away.
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WE ARE IN A RENTED 3-BEDROOM TOWNHOME for 6-8 months, to give us time to decide where we want to create a new home. My dining room furniture is incarcerated in storage temporarily. But, we are unpacked and organized here and are developing a routine in a new place.
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WE SPEND OUR LIVES collecting things…ultimately we enter a time of life when acquiring things is no longer a priority. Sorting out treasured items among a myriad of “things” that have become attached to our lives is difficult under the best circumstances… Maybe it ushers in a sense of freedom as well… especially when collections are dispersed with purpose. I will reserve judgment on that until time brings more perspective.

NOW, IN THE MIDST OF our transition in downsizing, we are following new rules of the house:

1. Don’t bring in anything new, unless we get rid of something else.

2. We can do just as well with fewer options (e.g., I don’t really need 25 different flower vases or kitchen gadgets I never use).

3. Unless we need it, really love it, AND have a place for it, don’t bring it home.

I’LL SHARE MY ADVENTURE from time to time, of finding a place to make a new home… and invite your comments about letting go and moving on….

Sue Marquis Bishop 2014

Turkey leftovers? Make Moroccan Turkey Tagine

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Photos on the table are of family from Christmases past

OUR HOME IS DECORATED for the holidays and I have finished grocery shopping. I’m thinking about the turkey we will have for our family meal on December 25th and the dish I will make with turkey leftovers this year – maybe turkey tagine?

IN OUR HOUSE, leftover turkey is enjoyed as much as the roast turkey on Christmas day. So – we make sure to get the largest turkey we can find that will fit in our oven, to be certain we will have plenty of leftovers. Like thousands of others, we look forward to a turkey sandwich on December 26th. I like mine with turkey, cream cheese, greens, cranberry sauce and dressing (stuffing). Sooo good!

OVER THE YEARS I have tried a number of different recipes, trying to create a fabulous meal starring the leftover turkey. There are several dishes that turned out to be a hit at my table – the tagine recipe is one.

THIS AROMATIC RECIPE delivers a warm, exotic dish using leftover turkey. It’s an easy, slow cooker dinner that also is an impressive dish for entertaining – and can serve a large number of family and friends, by adding more to the cooker. It is a wonderful dish to keep warm in the crock pot when you have family arriving at different times to eat.

Moroccan Turkey Tagine

3-4 cups leftover turkey
2 large onions, thinly sliced
4 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped
2 cups chicken or turkey broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons flour
2 cloves minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (freshly ground if possible)
1 teaspoon garam masala
Kosher salt to taste
1/4 cup medium to dry sherry (optional)

Layer turkey, onions, carrots, raisins and apricots in crock pot (slow cooker). In bowl, whisk broth and remaining ingredients (except sherry) together and pour over turkey mixture in cooker. Cook 3-4 hours to blend flavors or until vegetables are done. Cook on high for 30 minutes and then turn down to low for rest of cooking time. Add sherry last 30 minutes.

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My favorite tureen for Christmas soups and stews

SET THE MOOD by serving the tagine in a soup tureen with bright emerald, ruby and purple colors in the tablecloth, napkins and centerpiece. I served the tagine with couscous sprinkled with toasted pine nuts, tandoor naan bread for dipping and a fresh fruit salad. This recipe is adapted from one I found in Family Circle (Jan 2007).

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!

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Sue Marquis Bishop 2013

Top Ten Essentials for Holiday Entertaining at Home

ENTERTAINING DURING THE HOLIDAYS can be stressful, but it need not be so. Entertaining can be as simple, or as complicated, as you want to make it. Let’s have some lunch in my kitchen and then talk about it.

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We hang bells on the outside doors in December so we can enjoy the tinkle of bells as we go in and out. The children love it – and so do I.

THE FOCUS IN OUR HOUSE IS ON CHRISTMAS, as our family’s tradition dictates, but perhaps a few suggestions may be helpful to bloggers who are preparing other holiday celebrations.

I AM NO MARTHA S., nor do I aspire to be an entertaining diva. I have always wanted our home to be a place where family and friends felt welcome, when they visited. I’ve had a number of years for trial and error and have arrived at my own ways to make entertaining more enjoyable for me – and hopefully more memorable for my guests. (One of the many perks of getting older is all that comes with life experience.) If the host is relaxed and having a good time, our guests’ pleasure in being in our homes is multiplied tenfold.

MY TOP TEN ESSENTIALS FOR ENTERTAINING AT HOME:

1. Plan Ahead– Organize-organize-organize (See earlier post on getting organized: click on HOME posts and scroll to Nov 5th: The Holidays are Coming and Its Time to Get Organized)

2. Invite People You Enjoy
Yes, I know that is not always possible. There may be a family member or co-worker that is a challenge for you, but should be included in some traditional event – so onward. We do our best to be gracious and make guests feel welcome in our home. Aside from the have-to-have folks for obligatory events, this is a wonderful time of year to plan special events in your home with people you enjoy to share your decorations, traditions and holiday foods (e.g., lunch, dinner, coffee, tree decorating, cookie exchanges, dessert sampling, wine and cheese by the fire). This is the time for joyful celebrations – large and small.

3. Plan a Menu That Meets Your Stress Test
As a young wife and mother, when I was trying to master so many things at once in managing a home, I set such a challenge for myself for entertaining that I was often exhausted when I met our guests at the door. My sister often kids me about the dinner I fixed that used every pan and dish in the kitchen. I even made a dobosh torte with 8 different fillings. No more! Unless you enjoy many hours in the kitchen, are catering the event, are working on a cookbook, or have good helpers, you may want to plan a gracious and fabulous repast that won’t burn out the chef.

THIS IS MY RECIPE now for entertaining, especially for dinner parties – the 1-2, 3 & 3 method. This Star-Early Bird and Easy Method is based on the notion that not every dish I serve needs to be a candidate for gourmet magazine, a never before seen dish or take 2 days to prepare. Oh. What a relief! I use this method for planning the menu.

1-2 STAR DISHES Star dishes are 1 or 2 complicated show-off gourmet dishes. They can be the entrée, dessert, bread, or some of the sides. There are the stars of the meal.! The other dishes are delicious also, but are supporting players in your meal.

3 EARLY BIRD DISHES These dishes can be prepared a day ahead with minimal preparation the day of the event.

3 EASY DISHES These are prepared just like the name sounds – easy, (e.g., purchasing a unique side dish or bread from a deli or restaurant ready to bake or warm, or a dish you can prepare with few ingredients – or in little time).

4. Decorate the house in early December
WE DECORATE THE CHRISTMAS TREE the day after Thanksgiving and finish the other decorations by the first week of December. So – that is done and ready to enjoy the festive display while we move on to holiday activities. The house is always ready for entertaining, with a just a few things to do to refresh the decorations before each event.

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5. Refresh decorations with fresh flowers and holiday greens
I LOVE HAVING FRESH plants and flowers around all year long. I usually find something to cut from the yard and add to that with fresh flowers picked up at the grocery. This can be an arrangement on the serving table, in the living or family room, or even a small vase with one flower on the table. I always put a fresh flower in a bud vase in the guest room. It says welcome in a special way.

MOST CHRISTMAS TREE LOTS will give away, or charge a small fee, for armloads of pine or frazer fir branches they have cut away from the trees in shaping. I put the branches in a bucket of water and keep outside where it is cool. Weekly, I bring in fresh boughs to add to the mantle and table decorations and toss the old ones. The fresh greens add a Christmasy scent to the room.

6. Light the Candles
CANDLES CREATE a special atmosphere in the evening. I have candles in my kitchen, in the living room and on the dining tables. To simplify my life, I have given away all candle holders that hold the tapers that have to be monitored for fire and for dripping wax. I only use fat candles inside hurricanes and I also have a few battery candles that come on for 5 hours in bedrooms or places where children gather.

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Battery candles near the fireplace turn on automatically for 6 hours after dark.

7. Turn on holiday music that makes you sing
I ENJOY CHRISTMAS MUSIC while I am working on holiday projects or creating something for the holidays in my kitchen. Traditional Christmas pop songs and carols stimulate tons of memories to keep me in the spirit of the season. The memories floating into my kitchen on the strains of the music create a cozy and warm Christmasy feeling as I work. (As I mentioned previously, I’m a sucker for sentiment in December.)

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8. Make Your Kitchen Holly Friendly
I DON’T MEAN TO GO CRAZY in over-the-top decorating. No, I mean to at least put a touch of the holidays in the room you spend a lot of time in – your kitchen. It can be as simple as one Christmas candle, a wreath on the kitchen door or a small kitchen tree hung with cookie cutters. I have a favorite red apron I wear in December and I use a couple of Christmasy pot holders and dish towels.

9. Decorate Dining and Serving Tables
THINK OF IT as creating a stage to present your food as the star. Decorations can be simple, with candles, flowers, pine, or just scattered ornaments or pine cones.

10. Take Time to Rest Before Guests Arrive
WE LEARN THE LESSON early (at least many women do) that we project a more confident and relaxed manner when we wear something we feel comfortable in.. and that we think we look good wearing. So – think about what you are going to wear ahead of time, so it is ready to wear. Plan your time so you can take a leisurely bath or have plenty of time to dress before guests arrive.

Congratulate yourself on your preparations. You deserve it. Greet your guests at the door with a smile. Enjoy your guests and your own holiday party.

Sue Marquis Bishop 2013

How Do You Decorate Your Tree?

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WE ALWAYS HAD A FRESHLY CUT PINE TREE to decorate for Christmas when I was growing up. And since it was a real tree, we couldn’t leave it up for weeks – so we decorated the tree on Christmas Eve and left it up for a week until New Year’s Day. By that time, the needles were drying out from standing in the living room with a fireplace, and it was becoming a fire hazard.
After a few years, Mom bought a tree stand with a well at the base to hold water. I thought it was my job to check the tree stand each fay and refill with water if needed.

I DON’T HAVE A MEMORY OF GOING TO THE CHRISTMAS TREE FARM to cut our own tree, as many folks have, but Dad brought home the biggest tree from a fresh tree lot that would fit in our living room. He would get out his saw, cut two boards for a stand and nail them in the shape of a plus sign to the bottom of the tree. We would cover the boards with a cotton sheet. If the tree was too tall for the room, he would cut off the top to make it reach near the ceiling, leaving room for a plastic white and red star that was lit from within.

FAMILIES DEVELOP THEIR OWN TRADITIONS for decorating the Christmas tree. In our house, it was Dad’s job to put up the tree – then, he arranged the strings of lights, taking care to spread the lights equidistant throughout the tree – as his engineering mind dictated. Decorating the tree with lights was no simple matter in those days, as even one burned out light would prevent the entire string from lighting – and the bad bulb had to be tracked down and replaced.

ONCE THE LIGHTS WERE LIT, the children decorated the tree with the unpacked Christmas ornaments. In addition to store bought ornaments, we had school-crafted paper santas, reindeer and snowmen – and occasionally even red and green construction paper chains – that found their way onto the tree. Mom always made us feel that our art projects were beautiful and added something special.

REMEMBER THE SILVER TINSEL? Dad told us that the tree would be its most beautiful if we took great care to hang each tinsel string separately… no throwing it on the tree. It takes awhile to hang a separate piece of tinsel from each branch, with the tip end hanging on one branch and the dangling silver string reflecting the lights. We all thought the tree trimmed with silver tinsel was a wonderful sight to behold.
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Don’t you agree the tinsel tree is lovely?

GRANDMOTHER MARQUIS always had a huge tree in the big bay window in her living room.. I don’t remember a tree at Grandma Mamie’s. but I do remember the smells of apples and cinnamon in her house.

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That’s me holding tightly to my new books and my sister Nancy beside me with her new purse.

MOTHER loved Christmas. After her children were grown, she decorated her home for the holidays with a little something in every room – including a big Christmas tree in the family room, and small trees in the kitchen and in each of the bedrooms, where her children and grandchildren would be sleeping.

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Mom and Dad in their 80’s

CHRISTMAS IS A SPECIAL TIME of year, and I enjoy all the festivities associated with the holidays. We usually put our tree up the day after Thanksgiving and leave it up until January 2nd. The house seems more festive to bake, write Christmas cards, listen to holiday music, make shopping lists, wrap gifts, entertain friends and just sit by the fire enjoying the tree with family.

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WHEN JANUARY 2ND ARRIVES, I am more than ready to put away the holiday decorations and welcome the new year. The house always looks clean and refreshed somehow with the colorful decorations put away for another year.

FOR THE MONTH OF DECEMBER, HOWEVER,…OUR HOUSE IS A CHRISTMAS HOUSE with its colorful rooms, rich and savory food, family traditions, anticipation, laughter, holiday music and secrets afoot.
Sue Marquis Bishop 2013

I would love to read about some of your traditions for decorating the Christmas tree.