getting ready for christmas – how about you?

by Sharon Santoni

pink and silver christmas tree decorations


There is a methodical nature to getting ready for the holidays that I revel in.      I love that my decorations are retrieved from trunks in the barn, where 11 months ago, they were stashed away, sorted by colour and style.

I love that I have a countdown calendar, which allows me to fit the holiday preparations around my work schedule.

I even love the inevitable struggle with lights  for the tree that work one minute and not the next – does that happen in your house too?!

pink and silver christmas tree decorations

The lead up to the holidays has so many elements, to which each family lends its own particular preferences and style.   Meals to plan;   gifts to wrap; a tree to buy; co-ordination of dates of family members arriving home  to note down; bedrooms to prepare; baking to be done; lights to hang.

Of course as an empty nester the whole holiday season feels a lot more zen than when I had four tiny children around my feet.  There are different pleasures now.    A little more time to plan better and enjoy the process.

pink and silver christmas tree decorations

My husband has got involved with  the Christmas gift shopping that I used to handle alone; we also purchase the tree together – two actually since we put one in the sitting room and one in the dining room.  He even takes care of some of the wrapping for me!

Consequently what used to sometimes feel like an unsurmountable task, has now become part of the fun.  Our shopping trips include a nice lunch; putting up and decorating the tree is taken care of in the evening over a glass of wine;  and gifts are wrapped ahead of time instead of pressuring myself with mammoth wrapping sessions where I felt like I was working against the clock.

I’d love to hear how your holiday preparations are handled in your home.    Do you stick to the same traditions, year in year out, or do you like to change?      As your family and your life evolves, how does that change the way you approach the holidays.   And most of all, what is your favourite moment of this season.

pink and silver christmas tree decorations

Hope you’re all having a great weekend, no matter how the holiday preparations are going!


Robert December 1, 2019 - 12:57 am

The magic is taking the time, energy, and love to prepare your home for family and guests. My favorite time is late at night once the house is decorated and “meets your personal approval”……then you sit down and absorb the beauty.Then, reminisce of Christmas past.
I have always said that Christmas is the time that “you can overdo everything” and it is perfectly acceptable…..there are NO rules
and regulations!!!

Colleen Taylor December 1, 2019 - 12:59 am

How beautiful Sharon! I love your bauble-filled post here. The colors are divine. I may just change to this color scheme next year because my tree is up & decorated already. I usually stay according to tradition but my children are adults so it’s more easy going than when they were little, as you mentioned. There may be a few things I change around but for the most part, I keep it a bit more simple than I used to. If this doesn’t put one in the spirit, nothing will. X

Donna D December 1, 2019 - 1:02 am

I too love the Christmas decorating..
On my annual trip to Paris I always purchased a few decorations to bring back to Australia. As I place the ones chosen by by sons throughout the years I reflect on lovely memories of each of those holidays together. I should have been born in the Northern Hemisphere as I long to experience a white Christmas with all the trimmings….one day!

Ida Duplechin December 1, 2019 - 1:05 am

I do enjoy the sales! I do enjoy the availability of different foods as people shop & prepare their annual feasts. It does seem that many people do attempt to create opportunities to be helpful to their communities. Here in the USA that’s truly needed right now. It’s also the onset of the “Party Season”. I have always enjoyed parties. The weather is generally cooler and pleasant in this location. This year I’m grateful that 2020 is set to be a very good year for me. I welcome the specific holiday of New Year’s because so many people make decisions to reboot their lives and decide to choose healthy adjustments to their lives. (Christmas isn’t one of my holidays.) Your plans and descriptions are gorgeous; wishing you the greatest experience your family could have!

Sharon Ann December 1, 2019 - 2:45 am

Christmas is magical. It’s always been that way for me. Just something about family, decorations, evergreens everywhere, carols, baking, relaxing in from of the fireplace.
It’s a good time of the year to reflect on blessings.

Best wishes to all.

Dianne Stephens January 27, 2020 - 2:07 am

Where may I find the cookie cutters and Christmas ornaments at?
Your home is simply gorgeous.

Susan vincent December 1, 2019 - 1:56 am

I come from a German family and our tree was always the whole holiday celebration. Now my husband and I have four trees,two fresh cut,&two artificial. One in our front parlor has been up for three years!! We don’t use that room during the year only at Christmas time so no need to take down the tree. I love bringing over a chair during the year and gaze at it, move ornaments around, remember which were my grandmother and mothers ornaments, ones made by family and all in between. When company comes I always show them the tree!

Lisa D. December 1, 2019 - 3:35 am

I love your sweet vintage ornaments, Sharon. They have such an innocent charm. The Christmas tree is a huge part of Christmas for me. For as long as I can remember, my mother put up a huge tree, (real, of course), in her huge living room, with a ceiling ten feet tall. I lost my mom about eight years ago, and my dad for years ago, but I’m now living in the same house, and every year, I put up a huge Christmas tree in that same spot in the living room. It just wouldn’t be Christmas without it!

Marilyn Phillips December 1, 2019 - 4:50 am

One of my true pleasures during this season is viewing the Christmas trees in our 2 children’s homes. Their trees are decorated with their childhood ornaments from our house, ornaments we’ve passed-on to them as well as from grandparents; combined with those they’ve added for their children. So any memories—seeing the treasures and traditions passing through the generations.

Sue December 1, 2019 - 4:00 am

I love everything about the Christmas season. My son has always helped to put the tree up and decorate it. I sit and hand him the decorations. This year I mentioned that I might just want to put up the tree and don’t decorate it. No, no, no. We will be decorating the tree this week. I have pared down in the decorating, and I like the tranquility of it. Planning the dinner which is always at our house, but not a lot of planning as we generally have the same food. I like to decide which desserts I will make this year, and I know that I am going to have a hot chocolate, coffee, chai tea and regular tea bar this year. Put out mini marshmallows, candy canes, cinnamon sticks, and whipping cream. I do little gifts for everyone when they leave; aromatic spices from The Silk Road, almond bark, and keto friendly nut mixture. Writing this has put a smile on my face. Relax and enjoy the season.

Ewa December 2, 2019 - 3:57 pm

Małe prezenty właśnie. Urok świat psuje mi szaleństwo prezentów, reklam, wpychania rzeczy niepotrzebnych. Dzieci ogłupione nadmiarem zabawek nie wiedzą co wziąć najpierw. A poza tym musi być tradycyjnie. W Polsce jest przestrzegany post w Wigilię, stąd specjalne dania z płodów ziemi. Niektóre są tylko 1x w roku.
Ale najważniejsza jest choinka. Najlepiej z ozdobami gromadzonymi przez lata. Mam jeszcze bombki szklane z mojego dzieciństwa!
Wesołych Świąt!

Dee December 1, 2019 - 4:05 am

Love your blog Sharon thank you for a lovely year yet again.
Christmas is a very special time for our family. Love the decorations, good food and family gathered together. Our grandchildren are growing up but Christmas time brings out the child in us all.
Blessing and Christmas wish to all.

Julie December 1, 2019 - 4:14 am

I also love Christmas it’s very different here in Australia with scorching weather more often than not it’s a cold lunch ham, pork, turkey lots of seafood swimming and playing outdoors. I am also an empty nester very different from having four tiny children around your feet when preparations where in progress now with nine grandchildren it’s so much more fun love it!!

Lynda December 1, 2019 - 4:29 am

I love everything about this blog along with your beautiful ornaments and cozy room! We are empty nesters also and it is nice to be able to enjoy the season now than when there was so much to do with younger children. And, who hasn’t had lights go out just when you finished your tree! And this year, all our lights outside were done, and when we came home from being out, you guessed it, a whole section went out! This year will be more stressful because we have a lot of business travel in December up to the last few days before Christmas. But, my son and his girlfriend, who live in Berlin, Germany, and my daughter, who lives in Denver, Colorado, will be coming home. Only thing, they want Christmas at our shore home near Cape May, New Jersey, and so that involves schlepping many many things down there! I do agree it is easier as an empty nester, except for this year! But I do so love to decorate and create ambience and coziness of the season!

Penelope December 1, 2019 - 5:00 am

Today is the day that I decorate the Christmas tree. I always decorate the tree on the 1st December every year. After I’ve dragged out all the decorations, I turn the carols on and pour myself a glass of sherry, have a couple of mince pies on standby and start decorating.
I live in Limpopo, South Africa and at the moment it’s very hot, the opposite to the weather you’re probably having.
I love your blog, such interesting stories and pictures.
So I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas wherever you are. xxx

Karen December 1, 2019 - 5:12 am

Sharon, Thank you. I get lost in your photos and in your words. They resonate with me. I love Christmas. I decorate with my old ornaments as well. I have my Nana’s antique crystal angel bowl, and I fill it to overflowing with the ornaments. I think that my decorations are pretty much the same each year. I may change a little here or there, but I find that I am a creature of tradition. I decorate… everything!

I love the sights and smells the best. There are certain cookies that I bake only at Christmas. My Nana taught me how to make her mothers (My GG’s) Lemon Cookies. They are pretty amazing.
The family comes up from the city to spend Christmas Day in the country :). They love it and I spoil them with my antipasto that never ends, along with freshly made lasagna. I have my orders to make my version of Chicken Rollatini as well, otherwise my daughter would be very upset. I cook for days. The family each brings a special dish as well. I love the pastries from the city bakeries.

I love walking out the door to smell the scent of burning wood in the fireplaces. I love the smell in the air just before the snow falls. For us, that will be tomorrow! This is Appalachian Trail country. There are a lot of sights and smells here, even in winter. I love to go out and explore them. The deer are out and about now as well, and it would seem, more than ever. They know me 🙂
I love to see the beautifully decorated homes, all lit up in wonder. And, I love the music.

I sit at the piano, and play my favorite carols. I love the Christmas Eve service at my church. It’s a candlelight service, where at the end, I play Silent Night at the piano as the congregation sings, each one holding a candle…passing the light from one to another until the church becomes bright again….bringing light to the darkness. It’s filled with wonder.

We also get so caught up in finding the perfect gifts! That can be overwhelming at times. But, we do it anyway. I love to make the time to just sit and listen. There is music in everything for me, especially now. I feel like a child at Christmas, and who doesn’t want to feel that way…at least once a year.

Sharon, I am truly grateful to be able to escape into your magazine and blog. You have no idea how much it has blessed me. May your days be filled with the wonders of the season. May your family be blessed. Joyeux Noël!!!

Anneli December 1, 2019 - 11:10 am

What a lovely post

Karen G December 1, 2019 - 7:36 pm

Thank you so much. Sharon inspired me! I look at my post and think, wow, that’s long!!! Haha! There are so many things about Christmas that I love and wanted to share. I couldn’t possibly capture them, not even in the one post. I forgot to write about how my husband helps me with all of that cooking! And now that my daughter has a little place of her own, I’m hoping he will help me with the tree decorating as well! I’m not an island. LOL.

Karen G December 1, 2019 - 7:41 pm

HAHA! I just realized that you were talking about Sharon’s post. It was lovely!

Jane Clark December 1, 2019 - 7:29 am

What I love about living in France is the simplicity of Christmas. The shops are seldom decorated, the goods are simple…mainly chocolate and gifts are sparse. I like that. Lots of French families don’t decorate their houses at Christmas and just have a family meal on the 24th. On the 26th all signs that Christmas every happened are gone. I like that too. My favorite part of Christmas is having two days off work, a walk in the morning, a roast dinner for lunch and the rest of the day is just quiet.

Jeanne Tapp December 1, 2019 - 2:10 pm

Your lovely tree and living room make me smile, Sharon. Christmas is one of my favorite times of year and we typically start decorating the day after Thanksgiving, bringing out all the decorations and the vintage Cuthbertson Christmas china! We decorate our tree with ornaments our children and grandchildren have made over the years and special ornaments we’ve received as gifts or purchased on trips. It’s a special time of memories and celebrations. We started an ‘Eve of the Eve’ Cookies and carols party more than 35 years ago for our children and their families. This year, our oldest son and his family are taking on the tradition in their new home. It’s a special time of ‘passing the torch’ for us.

Noelle Sweeney December 1, 2019 - 6:10 pm

Absolutely gorgeous this post. Thank you for the beautiful blog posts but more importantly your lovely sentiments. You truly know the meaning of Christmas. Joyous Noel

Mariana Greene December 1, 2019 - 5:32 pm

Your tree is beautiful and thick. Do you happen to know what kind of tree it is? Just curious about what the French use. More and more friends have switched to expensive fake trees, for convenience and zero mess. Are they popular in France?

Beverly December 1, 2019 - 5:37 pm

My most favorite thing to do at Christmas is decorating my porch. I decorate my grapevine tree my daughter gave me 20 years ago, in the woodland theme. This year I found an old antique foldable wire tree just for my Shiny Brights, that my Daddy gave me his last Christmas with me. Treasures! I love to reminisce about Christmas pasts, but always looking towards the future. ❤️

Taste of France December 1, 2019 - 7:42 pm

We have a bunch of “filler” balls that go on the inner parts of the branches and that are just there for bling et pour combler les trous.
Otherwise, every decoration holds a story, either about a place visited or, more likely, a person who gave the decoration or, the best of all, made it by hand.
Christmas music plays. We sing along. We work together to decorate the tree and the house. One of the most precious moments of the year.

Gretchen Lott December 2, 2019 - 6:46 pm

Your home is so pretty and inspires me to do little changes in my decorating. Thanks for sharing! I also relish decorating and peace of taking time, recalling when I got each ornament, as I collect them when I travel. Wishing you a peaceful, prayerful and holy Christmas.

Ceew December 2, 2019 - 8:21 pm

I just finished putting up the tree a real beauty this year…and flocked too! I love it! I reached for my brand new lights, plugged in to double check them = looking beautiful! Hummed along to Christmas carols while putting up these new lights, just so! Plugged them in to gaze and admire my own handiwork, and poof! All the lights went out. Sigh. Jiggled what I could, unplugged, replugged, jiggle again. Nothing. Shaking my head – but still smiling!

Susan Red December 4, 2019 - 5:58 pm

I have not received an email about the digital Nov/Dec magazine. I read others had a problem.
Please let me hear from you. This is my third request. Thank you.

I love this post.

Nippon December 10, 2019 - 10:27 am

I read a lot of blog posts!! This is great content work.

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