Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Year of Bare Branches

It's the day after Christmas. Always a quiet day, it seems. More so this year because our big celebration was all last weekend when the family gathered like a great whirlwind.
When I was a girl we put up the tree a week before Christmas. Visiting began on Christmas Eve and went on through until New Year's day. We saw all of the many aunts and uncles and cousins, and at every home was offered posole and tamales, the traditional New Mexico Christmas feast. It was a week long celebration after which the tree came down and the season was over until the next year.
The lead up is so much longer now. And the finish seems much more final after December 25th. There is a crush and wake of peace and silence. A small eddy in time for rest and reflection before the New Year flits in and takes over. 
This Christmas was the year for bare branches, and softer music, and a slower pace. A lot of our usual traditions were passed by. Ornaments left in boxes. Even still, I am wrapping a few gifts and am reverting to the old way of stretching the yuletide a few days longer. With everyone gone there is time to savor the sights and sounds and smells. There is a healing in the winter cold. Comfort in the wood fires.  
I usually dislike the barren winter season, but am going to embrace it for awhile yet. This Windham Hill CD has the perfect music for it. The Celtic harp and fiddle of unfamiliar tunes lends the mood I'm after.
And this disc by Sting from a year or two ago has struck the right mellow chords this year too. ( I don't know where the case got to...)
Since I bought a few live trees this season even the bare evergreen can stay around for awhile longer. I'm feeling so woodsy this winter!


Yes, a few more gifts to finish up to the glow of candlelight and soft music. The only thing left is for me to show you the best gift wrap I found with my DIL only a few days ago at my corner stationary shop. A delightful whimsical pattern of woodland animals from a UK company that I'm sure I will never use on a package. . . .




None of the scenes are repeated on the full panel. It's a delight just to discover all the different vignettes!

Red on the reverse. The paper is a Roger la Borde design.


Such a surprise. I thought I would be ready to stow it all away. . . .
 But I hope you're still enjoying the season too!
Thanks so much for all the good wishes!
Join me at


  1. Your words are so eloquent and peaceful, dear Jacqueline! Another lovely, lovely post...
    Linda at Beautiful Ideas

  2. Beautiful post! Very elegant and peaceful pictures. Merry Christmas and a very happy new year.
    Hope to see you on my blog:)

  3. your wonderful paper is a gift in itself. Love all the little woodland critters, they need a little story to accompany it!

  4. So lovely, Jacqueline...the wrapping paper is really beautiful! We had our gathering last weekend, too...tonight is quiet...

  5. My MIL said we are all supposed to keep up Christmas stuff until Epiphany, which is when the Wise Men came to find Jesus..........she is so Biblical she actually has the Wise Men from her Nativity slowly go through her home to slowly make their way to the baby in the manger in her Nativity..........and they don't get there till Epiphany. She doesn't understand why the rest of the world doesn't do that.

    It's so cute, really - when we visit before or after Christmas we always ask her where they are now.

    Anyway, you just enjoy the season and its peace it is giving you.

    I LOVE that Celtic Christmas CD - I am a huge fan of the Windham Hill label, been since they came out, gosh, mid 80s maybe? I know I bought their first one and played it forever since. My Mom loved it too. You know I haven't played that one in ages. I need to organize my music and locate it.

    Anyway, I am babbling, sorry.

    Happy New Year! Come visit the blog post today for pics of our wonderful snowfall we got today!

  6. Jacqueline, my greens are all dry and falling all over, but they still smell so good! I will just keep sweeping and leave them for at least another week. I can't imagine using that beautiful paper to wrap anything up, although I suppose there are ones that would. Not smart ones, though!. Hope your Christmas was joyful and you are looking forward to the New Year..Judy

  7. I think the woodland look is lovely. I especially love the paper. It would be lovely in a child's room. x

  8. I am so in love with that paper! and all of your woodsy and lovely touches!

  9. For the first time in a long time, I too am enjoying the winter time--the quiet and stillness. My heart is needing the rest after a long year. The tree came down, but my little one is potted and the others are scattered around--winterizing instead of christmas colors. Adore your paper--what a find! First thing I thought was framing each scene or a wonderful mixed media project. Thankful for finding your blog a few months ago. Wishing you a Happy New Year, Kris

  10. What a beautiful post, Jacqueline. It does feel like the time to embrace the quietness of winter.

  11. I could feel the peace, calm and woodsy warmth in your words...just lovely! And that paper is too beautiful to use!

  12. The days after Christmas can be filled with loneliness. However yesterday I made it "my" day and rested, read and watched some old movies. Quiet peace can be such a good thing.

  13. My childhood Christmases were more like yours. My father's entire family lived nearby so visiting seemed to go on forever. We just have 2 kids, no grands, and no family nearby so we have created our own new traditions.

    I like your idea of an undecorated tree left up for awhile. All my decorations are down, but I think I might go out and find little tree today.

    Thanks for the lovely post.

  14. And a very happy new year to you and your family!

  15. Hi Jacqueline. A lovely post. I think I would frame that gorgeous wrapping paper. It is so sweet! I am still all Christmassed here and probably will be until Jan. 1st. I did put a few things away tonight just for a change and may do a white and woodsy feel once the tree is down. So much work! Oh well. We are getting a terrible blizzard here again tonight and tomorrow. Up to 25 cm. which would be abut another foot! It's winter after all. Blessings for the New Year to you and yours. Pamela

  16. Great photos! I love that paper too and would have a tough time using it too.

    Happy Holidays!

  17. That's wrapping paper!? It's wonderful!!!
    And... oh my gosh, i love the way you can move me with your words, and then with your photography added, the whole scene is complete. I feel like i just stepped away from my computer and was completely in your space for a moment...


  18. Happy New year to you ,Dear Lady.Love your post.

  19. Happy New Year Jacqueline
    I love the presence of your live tree, unadorned.
    Growing up in the West of Ireland we celebrate the 12 days of Christmas which culminates in lighting 12 candles on the Epiphany ,Jan 06. The tradition I have carried with me as I live abroad


  20. Jacqueline,
    This year I throughly "enjoyed" all the preparation for Christmas. That being said, I, too was ready to pack it all away until 2013! I've found since my retirement, that I have "time" to relish my days filled with family, friends, and home! Always my favorite times are early morning by the light of only the Christmas Tree with my devotional, coffee and Christ! Thank you for this moving post. Have a Happy New Year, dear friend!

  21. Such a lovely and serene post. Your taste in music is as impeccable as your taste in home decor! I love them both! Happy New Year!

  22. How lovely to wake up to some snow, even if only a little. I remember some snowy Christmas times when I lived in the UK. In New Zealand we are mid summer almost and hot and humid in Auckland. I guess that may seem strange to you. Instead of hot turkey we have cold and lots of salads.

    Your home is lovely, thank you for sharing.

    Lee :)

  23. I like listening to different than the usual Christmas music too. Your wrapping paper is very cute! Have a fantastic 2013! Thank you for joining Home Sweet Home!

  24. I'm glad to hear you had a lovely time with your family, Jacqueline. I hope you've been enjoying these quieter days after Christmas. That wrapping paper is so sweet.


Adblocker/script blockers addons/extensions installed on your browser will stop your comment code from working. Try Chrome to comment if your comment does not post. You may also comment at Thank you!