holly jollies


Let me start off this otherwise lighthearted holiday post by saying that I hope we can bring our baby boy (due Dec 26) up a country with less access to guns and more access to help for mental health. The news out of CT is gut-wrenching and my heart goes out to all those affected.


While we have been spending a lot of time in the last month decorating the nursery (you know there will eventually be a post on that) and trying to proactively earn a PhD in the finer points of baby swaddling, we have also squeezed in a little bit of Christmas. Okay, more than a bit. Here are some favorite holiday baubles we have around the nest, both old and new.

Like the arrangement above, which I call the “vignette.” We love this silver leaf floating shelf left behind by the previous owners. It seems a perfect spot for my first white poinsettia. I’m digging how this flower (plant?) goes with our 1932 New Yorker cover featuring none other than Santa (thank you Martina), and the “Hans Brinkner and his Sister” skating on a canal print I snaked (with permission) from my mom’s house last year. I suppose some day I’ll get around to framing those. That tall, flute-ish, flute-wielding angel is from Marshalls circa 2010. And the little slate Xmas tree to the left? I’ve been schlepping that little guy around for years – he was one of my first Christmas decorations.

We are also enjoying this macrame Santa made by my mother-in-law Sandy and given to us last year:

Macrame Santa

She made him for Christmas in 1976. I know my mom was also into macrame around this time and we had a few homemade hanging planters in our house back in Wisconsin, but I don’t personally know anything about it. Sandy told me she went to classes at a woman’s house in the neighborhood where they lived in Columbus, OH. She also learned how to make a Christmas tree that was so easy that she volunteered to teach some 4th and 5th graders how to make it. She remembers that there was a special project board she sat on her lap to help line up the knots and she had to pull the cords apart and brush the beard to make it look fluffy. (Cute.) She hung this in her Cape Cod-themed kitchen around the holidays for years. We are honored to have him in our kitchen now! (Don’t you think he’s a little bit gnome-ish?)

It’s difficult to express how happy this ornament makes me. My friend Martina gave it to me a few weeks ago:

smurf ornament

It should probably also be difficult to admit that The Smurfs were my favorite cartoon when I was a kid. But, in fact, it’s not: the Smurfs lived in MUSHROOM cottages, people! I shouldn’t have to justify myself further.

I’ve already shared the jaundice and replacement of our actual Christmas tree, but here’s our little disco tree:

disco tree

This was purchased by Rob four years ago – he used it to decorate his apartment in a super-magical way the night we got engaged at Rockefeller Center rink. I would be remiss to not mention here the Queen of Disco Christmas, Victoria Elizabeth Barnes – check out this blog – can you say sparkly?

I can’t claim to fashion anything near as elaborate as Victoria, but this year I did feel a bit clever when I hung some white star ornaments (Tarjay) from our dining room chandelier:

Star ornaments

I like how they look with the red berry twig things I try to get every year:

star ornaments red berries

And just because I’m not drinking wine at present doesn’t mean I can’t accessorize it, right? (I got these from the Sundance catalogue a few years ago.):

wine hat and scarf

Many of you know that for a while there, I made punctuation-themed ornaments for my friends and family. Then they stopped making/selling these exact frosted bulbs (or I couldn’t find them, anyway) so I discontinued. But here is the one that is displayed most prominently on our tree this year, as if to ask: When will our Christmas baby arrive? How will it all play out? What will he be like?

question mark ornament

This old-fashioned, polka dot skate from my friend Ann-Marie snazzes up our front entrance:

old fashioned skate

Speaking of our front entrance, I know I featured this last year, but I have to give a shout out to Rob Strati and his outdoor LED lighting installation fashioned around our pergola and culminating in a chandelier-ish centerpiece:

ornament chandelierornament chandelier pergola

Rob prefers that I do not refer to this “piece” as art, and I am trying to respect that. What I will do instead is brag that he has a fantastic solo art show in Brooklyn RIGHT NOW at Robert Henry Contemporary at 56 Bogart in Bushwick:

outlines Robert Strati

It is featuring his digital prints, wire sculptures (i.e. above) and a wonderful balloon installation. Check it out, or check out this link, anyway! He also has another show coming up in LA at Arena 1 in the Santa Monica Studios next month.

And finally, I leave you with an image of the very LAST pizzelle in the box:


These crisp, light, anise-flavored waffle cookies have fueled all of the above and have become a bit of a joke around our house because the word is so fun to say. Most obviously, this word nicely combines one part pizza and one part gazelle, but if you draw out that second syllable in an extremely breathy, theatrical fashion, as in pizzellllllllllllllllle, I promise it’ll feel good.

Hope you are enjoying your holidays…Will keep you “posted”!

Here are some other holiday decorations I have been admiring from fellow bloggers…check them out:

Aluminum tree and chalkboard tree from A Goode House: here.

Up-cycled star wreath at Northstory: here.

Pear and Cherry Christmas Root at Scrap and Salvage: here.

25 replies

  1. I swooned at your little disco tree. I need one of those! Preferably life-sized. (Thanks for the shout-out!) Also? I’m kind of in awe that you married a guy awesome enough to appreciate the magic of such a thing… And? His led chandelier? I’d go with art.

    My grandmother had nearly that identical doorknob Santa. Your picture literally made me say—HEY! Total Christmas-nostalgia… now I’m kind of craving the disgusting jelly-filled candy she kept in a dish on the coffee table.

    p.s.- You’re getting AND giving quite the Christmas present this year, eh?

    p.p.s.- on a more serious note, I SO thoroughly echo your hope for a reconsideration of how our country handles both mental health, AND access to assault weapons. So, so, so terrible to think of the parents and families…

    • Ha! You would totally appreciate how crazy he decorated his apartment the night we got engaged – all kinds of sparklies in honor of diamonds 🙂 And home-made xmas trees made out of wire.

      Fun that your grandma had a similar santa…love that old-school stuff 🙂 AND that there is a taste associated with that image. The mind and the senses are fascinating indeed.

  2. what a merry house you have!! i’m impressed, considering how close your new arrival is! everything looks lovely. i am in love with the lighting outside and that pinot looks well comforted until it can be had (in just a few days!!!). plus i love pizzelles (lovely word)!!! and that one is without a chip! 😀
    thanks for the shout out/compliment. i could learn a thing or two from your beautiful white tree!
    happy holidays to you and your family. can’t wait for the introduction in the new year!!! XO

    • Thank you! Yes, we debated whether or not to “do it up” all holiday-style this year in light of the “new arrival” but I am so glad we did. I had my last day of work on Saturday – so if I am going to be home more than I am used to, I might as well enjoy it!

      Yes, the pizellllles have been great – just bought a new box today….but we gotta get some more chipless wonders in this pantry, too! 🙂

  3. So festive! Love it all! When you told me you did punctuation themed ornaments I was immediately in love with the idea. Seeing it here makes me want to to it myself! SO GREAT.

    The Christmas decorations are wonderful but Rob’s art still blows me away. Love seeing it. It’s really great he’s getting to show it off. That sweet little boy of yours has no idea how lucky he is to get you guys for parents.

    Merry Christmas and lots of heee heee hee, ho ho ho. (baby birthing around Christmas is so appropriate… the breathing is even festive!)

  4. You make an excellent point – maybe Santa WAS the original Lamaze breathing teacher, ho ho ho. Ha! I am totally going to be thinking about that esp if it ends up being Christmas day. I am really hoping that I can get Rob to wear a Santa suit… 🙂

    Thanks for your kind words about Rob’s art – he is having a really great time with it – enjoying this wave of creativity and recognition. So happy for him!

    The punctuation ornaments of course started bc of my love of reading and writing, but it became quickly obvious that I also loved them bc of the dots – ellipses, colon, question mark, exclamation – they all have a polka dot (and this was my obsession before mushrooms and gnomes)… I still want to do the semi-colon and the period (and of course would have liked that to be the last in the series)… we’ll see if I can accept that they would be on a slightly different kind of bulb…

    Happy Holidays! All my best!

  5. A very merry Christmas to you and Rob and to your little boy when he arrives! Best wishes for his safe arrival (BEST Christmas present ever). 🙂

    I’m afraid what caught my eye in this post is not at all holiday related, but I must say that I *love* your dining room chandelier!

  6. Thank you so much Leslie!

    Yes, we were shocked that the previous owners left that light fixture behind – we thought for sure they would have taken it with them and switched in something more standard. We don’t know anything about it and there are no markings. We wonder if it is original to the house…? Someday I hope to do some research… 🙂

    Happy Holidays!

  7. Love love it…the outside lights and all. Annabel and I were just skating at Rockerfeller Sat, what crazy fun:-)) Ballet at NYTB too. woohoo. Thaks for the smurf shosut out and glad you likey likey. Can not wait to meet the little charmer.

  8. That Santa is darling!! And if those Christmas trees are so easy, you should have your mother-in-law teach you how to make them so that you can do a post about it and teach all of us! By the way, your house looks amazing and all ready for Christmas. Mine is far from it, I’ve pulled out the ugly red and green containers, but the contents of said containers are still waiting for their annual debut.

    • I agree – I think macrame would be fun!

      Hey, you better empty out those containers, time’s a wasting…not to stress you out, but have you looked at the calendar lately? I have a feeling there’s a lot of cool stuff that deserves to be displayed (and blogged about)…so chop chop! 🙂

      • EEEK!! I know, the time has gotten away from me. I don’t know about a lot of cool things to be blogged about, but I do have a lot of sentimental things that are going up this year. Think cheese, MAJOR cheesiness. But it all has meaning to me.

  9. One of my favorite parts of the holidays is pulling out all those treasured decorations that are like old friends… such meaningful history. Thanks for sharing some of yours. Good luck with on the upcoming arrival of your little man!

  10. Cool lighting installation. Best I could do was to wrap a short pine in the front yard with a couple strings of lights – which I seem to keep forgetting to turn on.

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