Sunday, January 8, 2023

Happy 2023

A new year has begun -- ready or not.  I remember how glad we all were to usher 2020 out the door, and then 2021 was not a whole lot better, as I recall.  Turns out that 2022 was not the best of years, either.  Yet, we're still here, and I'm thankful for that.  
I hope you all had a good Christmas holiday; we did here at Forest Manor.  I'll share a few pictures from our Christmas decorations (for posterity).  😉  I'll try to show a few touches that were different this Christmas, since I mostly decorate the same way every year.  When reviewing Christmas 2022, there were a lot of small things that made me happy, and the small things are sometimes the best.

It made me happy that the Christmas tree was one of our prettiest ever.  The previous Christmas, after bringing the tree inside and removing the baling twine, we discovered that one of the largest branches had broken at the trunk, so we had to do some tree "surgery."  It made for a few stressful moments, but luckily the temporary fix held until after the holidays.  This Christmas, all the branches were perfect.

It made me happy that we had this new heater to help us stay warm when the really cold temperatures hit.  We're not doing wood fires anymore because they were causing some breathing issues for me.  Nothing warms quite as well as those wood fires did, but this new heater does a nice job, and there's no mess to clean up afterward.  Speaking of cold temperatures, it did get cold here for three or four nights in a row.  Even though we live in the south, it can still get mighty cold some years.  It was either Christmas Eve or Christmas day that a bitter cold wind blew all day and night.  Our temperatures got down to 0° with wind chill factor making it feel like 0° to minus 5° during the night.  I realize that many places got much colder than that, but it was cold enough for this North Carolina crew.  😏  

It made me happy to see how our Christmas mantel turned out this year.  I try to change it up every couple of years, so this year was something new.  It ended up with a kind of Williamsburg feel to it, and I'm still enjoying looking at it.  I found the swan at a favorite local gift shop the Christmas after I went to England with Hal.  All the faux fruit and greenery I've bought in recent years.  
I saw some pictures where people used velvet ribbon in their Christmas decor, and I really loved the look.  I ordered some for myself from Amazon, and it was a pleasure to work with.  It was soft, with a pretty drape and rich coloring.  The swan on the mantel is sporting a red velvet ribbon.

I tied a green velvet ribbon on this shiny, red jingle bell.

 This ribbon looks black in the picture, but it's actually navy blue.  The pretty blue Christmas bell came from my mother-in-law.
My mom gifted me with some of her vintage Shiny Brite ornaments after my dad passed away.

This summer I replaced the (very) small candlestick lamp on this secretary desk with a new blue and white lamp.  It was an impulse buy; I saw it in my favorite local lamp store and fell in love with it.  I've never had a teapot lamp before, and the blue and white porcelain fits my decor perfectly.  I have so enjoyed seeing its warm glow at night.
 It made me happy that our son spent Christmas Eve night here.  I'm always glad for him to spend a night with us, so I try to make the guest room extra comfy.
Other small but nice things this Christmas -- our young neighbor across the street put Christmas lights in her yard and on her fence for the first time.  She's still fairly new to the neighborhood.  Looking out the window and seeing those cheerful lights made me happy.  Another sweet and long-time neighbor called to tell me she was thinking of me and to tell me that our lights looked pretty.  That made me feel good.  I actually heard the "Hallelujah Chorus" twice on the radio this year.  I couldn't believe it.  I wondered if someone snuck in off the street while the regular DJ was napping and played this beautiful piece.  It was a wonderful change from "All I Want for Christmas Is You" and "Last Christmas" being sung by every pop artist in the developed world.  😏   
The nicest thing to happen in our family this Christmas was that my sister got engaged to a wonderful man.  He fits in so well with our family.  It will be a second marriage for both of them, and they are so right for each other.  There was a lot of sadness this year; I lost my only uncle (and my mom her only brother) and Hal lost an uncle and an aunt.  Still, we know we are fortunate, and we try not to take any of it for granted.   
If you're still here, thank you for reading this long post.  I'd love to hear about the small (or large) things that made you happy this Christmas.  I'm so glad you visited today, and I wish for all of you a very happy year in 2023!   

All the best,  



  1. Hello Denise,
    Happy New Year to you. Your home looks so warm and cozy with the Christmas decor, and that is one beautiful tree! Love the velvet ribbon and the vignettes on the trays.
    I laughed out loud when I read about those two songs that EVERY pop artist sings. How great to hear the Hallelujah chorus instead.
    Our Christmas was good - lots of family time and good food. I was very tired by Christmas Eve and didn't enjoy it as much as I had hoped, but it was still very lovely. We had at least two events each weekend in December and that was just too much! Next year I'll pace myself better.

    1. Oh, Lorrie, I've had many a Christmas like that myself, especially when our son was growing up. I'm sorry you were so tired but hope that you are catching up on your rest now. Thank you so much for your visit, my friend! Love and hugs to you...

  2. Happy 2023 to you, Denise. Glad to read your Christmas was a good one with lots of small things to enjoy, too. We had a little heater like the one you have that served us very well in our last home. Take care...

  3. What? I missed all this beautiful Christmas post?! What a lovely Christmas home you created with a stunning tree. I always love when a child returns home for Christmas Eve.

    And I sure do appreciate neighbors who go to the added expense of having Christmas lights on. Now I should let them know!



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