Tuesday, December 16, 2014

On the Fourth Day of a Feminine Christmas

This mother and son have just selected a Christmas tree for their city apartment.  Perhaps Father is away at war or he is working and Christmas has fallen on feminine hands again.  I love that the little boy is cradling Santa in his arm. 

My grandmother lived all her life in a city apartment, never having owned a house.  And yet, her apartment was a happy sanctuary that she made for herself and my grandfather.  For me, her apartment was a box of curiosities and enchantment, never more so than during the holidays.  She was especially adept at creating lovely Christmases:  always a fresh tree decorated with colorful baubles and lights, a crisp cloth printed with crimson poinsettias on the dining table, and charmingly wrapped packages with red paper ribbons.  There was a crystal pedestal bowl brimming with cashews and raisins sprinkled with sugar.  A smaller crystal dish was home to cascading ribbon candy for small hands to reach at will.  I am so lucky to have quite a few photographs of my grandmother's home at Christmas.  I study them for holiday-inspired domestic details and yet, no matter how hard I try, I can never imitate her nonchalant and naturally airy ambience.  She had a magic wand all her own.

I believe there is redemptive power in adorning a home for the holidays.  The world outside our doors can be abjectly cruel and unpredictable.  So what is better than creating a place of gladness and delight for those we cherish?  I say decorate with abandon if that's your style...if you want a pink aluminum tree like the department store ones of your youth, then have it.  More is as more as you want it to be at Christmastime.  And if you need to clutch a Santa to your heart, so be it...

 My grandmother's city dining room, Christmas circa 1960


  1. oh i would love to see more of your grandmothers apt! i think i will add lights to my tree branch just for my grandaughters delight. you are inspiring me so much this am. much love j

  2. what a charming pix of Nana's Xmas décor! My folks had an aluminum tree Mom decorated in strictly pink and blue balls and tinsel garland. Dad's traditional tree was relegated to the basement rec room. My folks were the original Christmas elves and my love of Xmas comes from them in a direct, sparkling line. Thanks for this lovely post, Donna! Loved it!

  3. I have a couple of wonderful pictures of her sitting in front of her tree or serving dinner if you would like them. Wonderful homage to her.

  4. Another wonderful post from a wonderful lady. This series is perfect! xoxo