Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday Reading

I know everyone is crazy busy during this season, but we all need a few minutes here and there to wind down, even if it's not until bedtime.  Do you have a favorite book or short story that you like to read (or re-read) at Christmastime?  I have a few favorites that I never seem to grow tired of reading during the holidays.  Maybe you've read some of them too?

I think I've read almost all of Rosamunde Pilcher's books and short stories, and this is one of my very favorites.  I usually like to start reading it in the early part of December.  It's what I call a cozy read; the kind where you can curl up with a cup of hot tea or hot chocolate at the end of the day.

If you're a Jan Karon fan and you've read the other books in her Mitford series, but somehow managed to miss this one, you really need to read it.  Preferably at Christmastime.  I don't think you'll be disappointed.

One of my very favorites since childhood, Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol".  I like the movie versions with George C. Scott and Patrick Stewart as Scrooge.  I also got to see the play at our local theater years ago performed by the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival -- loved it.  :)

These last two books are a bit of a departure from classic Christmas stories, but if you've managed to read all the classics and are looking for something different to read, here are two murder mysteries that take place at Christmas.  I know -- murder mysteries during the holidays.  But these aren't gruesome, psychotic crime thrillers.  They're actually English murder mysteries (written by an American author) and she does a bang-up job too, I might add.  I would recommend all of her mysteries in the "Inspector Jury" series, but I mention these two because, again, the stories take place at Christmas.

All of her titles are named for English pubs, by the way.  These books have a combination I find hard to resist; the mysteries are hard to figure out, they're full of quick, clever British humor, and just enough melancholy to keep them from being too "light".  If you didn't know better, you'd swear Martha Grimes was British.  She has mastered the accents and idioms of the Brits, and for me, that's a big part of what makes these books entertaining to read.

I'd love to hear about what you like to read during the holidays.  I'm always glad to add new favorites to my collection.

Have a great evening, and thanks for visiting the House at Forest Manor.


Christmas 2011 -- Still Decorating

I've been away (for the most part) from blog land all week.  I appreciate so much your visits and kind comments from last Sunday and Monday!  Please be patient, and I will be returning all your visits. :)  It never takes me this long to get back to people, but we are still trying to finish our shopping and decorating.

I thought I would share some more of our decorations for this Advent and Christmas season.  According to the Advent calendar, Christmas Eve is less than a week away.  Did I mention I'm still shopping and decorating?  Addressing cards and decorating? :)

This is the Nativity set that adorns our foyer every Christmas.  It was a gift from my husband's grandmother.  It just seems like it was made for this spot.

...such a pretty crescent moon pattern on this wise man's robe.

A view from the opposite angle.

This next nativity set was made by my mom in her ceramics class over 30 years ago.  She generously gave it to me when we lived in Greensboro.  Our home had a fireplace with a white mantel, and she said it would show up much better there than on her mantel.  We have a stained mantel in our current home, so I moved the nativity set to the dining room.  This is the first year I've displayed it on the plaid runner, and I love the way it turned out.

I love the way you can see the expressions on their faces so clearly.

Also in the dining room is a small, Old Salem Advent wreath with a Moravian star on top.  You can read about historic Old Salem here and here.

A treasured ornament Mr. Forest Manor bought me for Christmas one year.  I love all the details -- the snow-flecked, bottle-brush Christmas tree on his back, the stars on his tunic, and the soft fur on his robe and hat.

I'm sharing some ornaments from the Christmas tree in our den this evening.  I'll show the tree in the living room later this week.  Like most of you, I have a sentimental attachment to all the ornaments on our trees.  I remember where each and every one of them came from, and they all hold such sweet memories.

I can't resist the German wooden ornaments.  Home Goods had a wonderful selection this year and last at great prices.

Our son's very first Christmas ornaments from both sets of Grandparents.

Precious gifts from our parents' travels...

to Italy,

and Ireland...

...the "Big Apple"

Disney World...

Rock City, Georgia...   :)

...and an angel ornament from my mother-in-law's mission trip to Puerto Rico over 20 years ago.

This tree has most of the ornaments that our son has received from us and from his grandparents over the years.

"Percy" from our Thomas the Tank Engine Years.  :)

The tree also reflects our love of music...

...and birds,

Thanks for visiting the House at Forest Manor and for sharing some Christmas memories with me.  I'm joining Seasonal Sundays, hosted by the Tablescaper.  Please stop by The Tablescaper's blog to see some wonderful Christmas pictures!  I hope you'll come back for some more Christmas posts later this week.


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