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Christmas, Happily, To Within An Inch Of Its Life

This year, as I predicted here, I went all out for Christmas. Or, as I say in the High WASP sardonic dialect we use around sentiment, to within an inch of its life. Having poked all manner of craft items into my front door cyclamen, I lit them. Burlap bow rimmed with gold; the same ribbon rumpled in the pot.

Having purchased not one, not two, but three gaudy fake, um, I think, poinsettia garlands (oh, wait, Pier One tells me they are fake amaryllis, not remotely the same), I hung them.

Next to two very cute and cold small children, courtesy my stepmother, 1992-ish.

Up close. Any time I get too close to anything I see myself.

Having at the end of last year’s Christmas (when I felt I had somehow Not Done Enough), purchased a flying Moomintroll candle thingie, I’ve put it on my dining room table next to a Hong Kong bowl full of metallic Christmas ornaments and an ironic silver spoon. Also a menorah I plan to fill with gold Hanukkah candles. All out, I tell you, all out for Christmas Eve’s Kwissmukkah.

But, having lived 60 years a High WASP, I have not greatly changed the tree. Traditions evolve but stay. My new pine cone lights are beautiful, albeit battery-operated? Huh? Ah well, the battery holders are small and translucent; they accede to invisibility.

And in a final stroke of good fortune, the Isle of Skye sent me a ruffled cashmere cardigan, in red. I’ve wanted a Christmas sweater since I don’t know when. Welcome! I am holding something behind my back, but I’m coming out in a minute to show you what it is, along with our gaudy glittered pre-lit Christmas cone tree.

First the back story on Isle of Skye. In 2012 I published a cashmere review post. At the time, I gave Isle of Skye a thumbs down. So, nice Rita, the owner of the company, got in touch with me a month or so ago to ask if she could replace the offending twin set with a new piece and see if I changed my mind.

Well, I did.

Lo and behold this ruffled cardigan! Sturdy Gals don’t do ruffles, usually, but these are so well-behaved. Besides, the Grand Dame Grandmama would have approved, and Artsy Cousins are remarkably tolerant during Christmastime.

It’s cold outside, no?


Oh yes, the cone tree. Still picking holographic glitter out of our rug.

I highly recommend a similar black pants, smoking slippers, red cardigan, bright jewelry ensemble for festivities. I expect this one to last a long time, although I may have to replace the shoes since my feet keep growing. Throw me in the briar patch. I’m wearing gold, and a cherry red, but of course you might like warmer or cooler shades. You might also want to dilute the Sturdy with more Artsy details in the components.

Alexander McQueen always says, “OK then!” to Artsy.

And now off to count stocking presents. Everyone gets seven this year.

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate, peace and quiet to those who do not. We’ll see you in the Chinese restaurant on Christmas Day, in a festive cross-cultural banquet.

You are all quite dear to me.

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45 Responses

  1. “Anytime I get too close to anything I see myself” – love it. And love to you, and Happy Holidays! Thank you for another year of sharing your wit and wisdom and creativity with all of us.

    1. @Dalit Fresco, Thank you! And, because our Menorah is small, I used gold birthday candles! But you can find others on Amazon really easily. Happy Holidays and a New Year to you!

  2. What a fun and festive Christmastime post Lisa! For some reason it made me a bit teary eyed—like most everything does at the moment! Your tree is gorgeous. I may have to look into pine cone lights.

    Wishing you every good wish for the coming year.

    Susan D.

  3. I noticed the spoon right away, and it made me smile! So the holiday cheer is spreading already.

    A very merry Christmas/Chanukah/Holiday Season to you and your family.

  4. Perfection, every bit of it! I’m smitten by that red cashmere — ruffles even/especially..

    Merry Christmas to you and yours, and I look forward to getting together in 2017 (it’s going to happen, right?! ;-) xoxo

  5. Merry Christmas! Your new items look great with your traditional decorations. Thank you for sharing. Your blog is one of my daily (biweekly?) highlights. MERCI-Suz from Vancouver

  6. Merry, Merry Everything to you and yours!

    Red is your color – wowza!

    See you in the New Year. XO

  7. Love the look of all and love you in the look. Brilliantly classic and elegant with dashes of new sparkle which seems to suit you rather well. Merriest of Christmases to you and yours!

  8. Merry Christmas Lisa! You are looking gorgeous in that red ruffled sweater, I love the whole outfit. Well done on the decorating too, this post could not be more festive.
    Happy New Year to you and your family xx

  9. OK, I’m not into red or ruffles but that sweater looks fab! Excellently chosen. And you are very in the spirit (at least if accessories tell the tale). I’m amazed that my house has anything Xmassy going on because I haven’t wrapped a gift or hung an ornament. And yet, somehow, it’s happening. Very good lesson for me… I think less is more – esp. if the kid and husband pick up the slack :-)

  10. I love it all – I’m glad it was so much fun for you!

    Your table reminds me of my son’s and daughter-in-law’s table last year, with its menorah and its vintage Wise Men. (His birthday is Jan. 6, and he has always loved the association with the Magi even though he is not in the least churchy now.) Both items were sourced from their grandparents.

  11. Lisa – You look pretty and happy and ready to sparkle for the holidays – with just the right touch of Christmas-red ruffles!

    And I love love love the (ironic) silver spoon in your china bowl of silver ornaments – I’ve done that with red and green Hershey’s Kisses in a silver bowl, but that was just to let guests know they could serve themselves. (Of course, I had to keep replenishing the bowl …)

    Have a wonderful end-of-the-year, and as others have already said, thank you for giving us the chance to share a little of your life, and a little of our own, in this special space created by your blog. It is a real (non-ironic) privilege!

  12. I don’t think it’s one bit gaudy, beautiful and festive. And you look absolutely gorgeous in that red sweater! Did you know red was a good color for you?
    Have a wonderfully festive, and peaceful holiday and a very Happy New Year.

  13. The sweater is such a beautiful red – it looks great on you! Merry Christmaskah and enjoy your year-end respite. I’ll miss your posts, but look forward to more in the new

  14. Merry Christmas,Lisa and have happy holidays in your beautiful decorated home!
    P. S. I am so happy that,after a long search, I did find battery operated outdoors lights :-) last year!

  15. Red is one of your colours. Truly looks good. Love how you have decorated for Christmas. Wanted to send you a photo of your Sydney doppelg√§nger but alas she was not at summer sport any Friday night unlike this time last summer.(don’t blame her actually). Den xx

  16. Red is lovely on you! Enjoy your holiday and your break. Look forward to more of your wonderful posts next year. XOX

  17. Oh you look so festive in that ruffled red cashmere sweater…and I love those flats.

    Your home looks pretty all decked out for the holidays…I can almost hear those Sturdy Gals nodding their heads in approval…

    Wishing you a season of Joy and Peace and all the best for the New Year.

  18. I love the shot of you at the front door – as if you are welcoming us in . It’s nice to see a proper , traditionally decorated tree too . All as it should be , your family will love it ,

  19. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! …Enjoy the Chinese feast and spending time in your lovely decorations…Peace and love to all of us…

  20. I’ve always adored bowls filled with shiny glass balls, without which it doesn’t feel like a Christmas house. You look happy. Hope you have a holiday filled with joy and family.

  21. We will be at the Chinese restaurant for Christmas Eve/1st night of Hanukkah. I love the sweater! Merry Kwissmukkah and a Happy New Year to you and yours!

  22. Love the red sweater on you! I usually seek out green for my Christmas outfit. Still trying to decide the tree issue. I love a real, fresh cut tree, but am beginning to realize it may need to be fake or no tree at all. Finally got the rest of the decorations done the past couple of days. Merry Christmas and enjoy your family this holiday weekend.

  23. Dear Lisa, your joy is infectious! I’m not one for red or ruffles but that sweater and slacks outfit suits you. You wear it well! I love that you are having Chinese food on Christmas day. We always have take-out dim sum for Christmas brunch. Wishing you a merry Christmas and a happy new year!!! I look forward to your posts in 2017.

  24. Merry Christmas dear Lisa! I enjoy your blog so much and have learned so much about a culture I look in on. Or is it about on which I look? still learning. No matter, I wish you a blessed holiday and a peaceful healthy new year. Strength to your sword arm! Thinking of you always as you deal with changes in your family and taking care of your mother. love from here (Atlanta) to there…

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