Deck the Halls

Are you ready? Ten days left. Lights blinking? Stockings hung? Cookies baked? It’s not quite the same this year as we head into a second holiday for two, but it is what we make of it. So, the grocery list is getting longer, and the menu is getting better including artichoke dip, toffee, raspberry brie, Christmas cookies, and turkey. πŸ™‚

This past week I decided to fill some hanging baskets with two kinds of greenery and winterberries. The winterberry bush actually came from Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. We bought it on a trip several years back with our granddaughter. Good memories that come to mind all year long now when I look out my window and see how it has grown.

One out of the three is pretty well proportioned so I get a 33 1/3%. I’m okay with that though because I enjoyed it, and it kept me busy one afternoon.

The big red pickup is hanging on the wall. I also have a lovely new table topper that a friend made me, and I smile every time I look at Snoopy sitting on it. A small tree with matching coasters was given as a gift, and I’m getting ready to work on another tree panel. I must keep busy if I’m going to keep sane. πŸ™‚

Today we’re getting a parking spot ready for the real pickup truck to spend the next three months. Cleaning and moving a truck every time it snows in order to plow the driveway gets really old.

Normally, it sits in the garage while we’re in South Carolina, but not this year. 2020 is going to find us wintering here in New Hampshire so the truck needs to be parked, partially covered, and the battery plugged in. There is snow in the forecast this week so we need to get on this today.

Not much is normal this year and probably won’t be for several months, but the sun will come up, the day will get started, and we have to keep busy mentally and physically because we want to be ready when some normalcy does come our way, right?

Enjoy this last week as we head into Christmas week, and tell us what food item you always have at Christmas. Ours is toffee hands down. πŸ™‚

I’m closing with Darmouth-Hitchcock’s advice – “Stay strong. Masks on.”

About Judy@NewEnglandGardenAndThread

Master Gardener who enjoys gardening, quilting, photography, and traveling.
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80 Responses to Deck the Halls

  1. lorraine blaney says:

    We are lucky here in Queensland Australia. We dont have to wear masks as there have been no Covid cases for many months. Summer rain is very welcome after many dry years, so we can enjoy the garden again. A looked forward to Christmas day treat is fresh cherries and other stone fruit.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I applaud your homeland on it’s handling of the pandemic. We experienced severe drought this summer so I can understand welcoming the rain. I love fresh cherries, and if they were available I’d certainly be enjoying them too. Thanks for stopping by and have a great week in your garden. πŸ™‚

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  2. I love your hanging baskets and your red pickup truck wall hanging. No matter how many times I go to the grocery store I come home and have to immediately start another list. I’ve baked one batch of cookies. Toffee sounds delicious! Our must have treat at Christmas is peanut butter kiss cookies. I’m making some this afternoon.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Kipfels are the Christmas treat along with studels — nut preferably although apricot makes an appearance too. My grandparents emigrated from Austria so when my mom was alive she would make all the fancy Austrian baked goods. Me, not so much although I do make a good kipfel. It’s very similar to rugalach but a little different. Our Christmas is packing so there is the minimum of decorations out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Remember the old Christmas stickers? I haven’t seen them in a while now, but that would have been kind of funny to put them on all your boxes. πŸ™‚ I looked up kipfel, and a childhood friend’s grandmother made those. She called them nut horns, and they would melt in your mouth. Good eating for sure!

      Liked by 1 person

      • They are good. Sadly I won’t make them this year. We don’t see people to share them with and at this point I’m using up supplies I have. Our farmers market sells them but they are not as good as mine. Real European desserts aren’t as sweet as those that Americans make so they are a bit sweet for me with extra sprinkled granular sugar on top but they will do in a pinch.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Murphy's Law says:

    Sure hope wintering the truck turns out to be an easy task. Snow forecast here too. In fact, it’s already arrived!

    Love all your creations, but the red pickup wall hanging is awesome. Hanging baskets look great. So festive.

    Judy, if keeping busy equals being sane, you are the sanest person on earth! πŸ€—

    Christmas treat will be a homemade apple pie. Maybe with ice cream!
    Ginger

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Put me down for a weird Christmas too — not only due to COVID, but also the fact that our living and dining rooms are semi-demolished due to plumbing repairs and bathroom renovations above them. Oh well, it’s not as if we were going to be doing any entertaining or traveling! But it does feel disorienting not to be able to decorate the interior of our house as we usually do, and to have the Christmas tree in a different room. Our traditional Christmas foods aren’t desserts: I always make a red wine “stifado” stew for Christmas Eve, and we often make glogg, a red wine punch, if people are coming over. Both make the whole house smell wonderful! And in recent years, my daughter who bakes has made gingerbread structures from scratch: first a house, then a country church (based on the one in NH next to my in-laws’ former home), and then the piece de resistance: the Globe Theatre!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well, if you put a positive spin on the repairs and renovations, it’s a perfect time because no one is visiting. πŸ™‚ I can imagine those amazing smells coming from your kitchen, and I’d really enjoy seeing your daughter’s gingerbread houses. I was into those when my grandkids were little, and I’ve never lost my interest or amazement at what individuals can do with gingerbread, royal icing, and decorations. I got rid of a lot of books when we moved cross country, but I kept every one of my gingerbread books. You allowed me to smile and take a trip down memory lane with my grands so I send you a special thank you for that. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Robyn Nichols says:

    Christmas baked already:
    Candied almonds and pecans
    Sour cream cookies
    Fudge
    Rolo pretzels
    Candy covered pretzels
    Oreo balls
    Still need to make:
    Peanut brittle
    Mexican wedding cookies
    Linzer cookies

    Hope you have a blessed Merry Christmas from Middle Tn, and I really enjoy your blog! Wish you could share your snow!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Tennessee! I want to come visit and eat, of course. πŸ™‚ That is an amazing list of goodies, and I got some ideas so thank you. I wish I could share some snow, but I’ll at least try to grab some decent pictures and share those. πŸ™‚ Merry Christmas.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Dawn says:

    It’s looking so festive at your house, Judy! I love your hanging baskets. The winter berries are just gorgeous! Your red pickup truck just makes my heart smile. All of your handmade, homegrown decorations will make your Christmas in NH a very special one! I thought of you this morning when they showed the snow heading up the East Coast on GMA.
    Today I’m going to write letters in the last few Christmas cards and wrap a few gifts. Although our Christmas celebration will be very different this year, I’m looking forward to hot spiced cider and Christmas cookies! Stay healthy, my friend!πŸ’—

    Liked by 2 people

    • I sent my cards a week or so ago. It was so strange because I struggled immensely to find anything to say. I thought at least they knew I was thinking of them, and I also smiled when I realized I don’t think I sent a card to anyone under 60. πŸ™‚ Hot spiced cider sounds wonderful, and I can almost smell that delicious fragrance that comes from it. Enjoy your holidays, and you and all the family stay well.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Everything looks very festive at your home. A beautiful way to lift the spirits. Your Christmas menu sounds absolutely scrummy. This year Clif and I will be alone so we decided to splurge on our Christmas dinner and buy Maine scallops. We use an old recipe from Fannie Farmer to make scalloped scallops, basically scallops poached in cream and topped with buttery crumbs. Rich but my oh my so good. As I am sure you have gathered, we are throwing our diets to the wind on Christmas day. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I LOVE your Winterberries!! I wanted to go look for Winterberry sprays at the hobby store to put in my bedroom, but in the end, I didn’t want to deal with parking or people figuring it’s the only store like it town it’s going to be crowded! I put my handmade Ceramic Christmas tree in my bedroom instead.

    For us, it’s Egg nog and Panetone. I’ve been enjoying a splash of Trader Joe’s Cocoa Cream in a cup of coffee in the afternoons. I just discovered that this year.
    I haven’t done any baking this season. I just can’t get motivated to do any. I have the house decorated and He-Man bought new outdoor lights and strung them up.

    Oh, Judy, I wish you could our new tree. I put on some old plastic ornaments that I was going to toss out. They’re the first ornaments I bought when I moved out on my own so they’re over 40 years old, instead, I put the 7 remaining ones on the new tree out front and He-Man put some lights on it. It looks like a taller version of Charlie Brown’s tree. It’s funny but sad. We sure hope this tree makes it and comes back in the Spring!

    I love your wall hanging and your tree and coasters one too. What wonderful gifts! I’m sure they’re going to be treasured for years to come.

    Anyway, we’re trying to keep it festive and as normal as we can. If everyone continues to stay healthy we’ll see the kids and Grandsons at Christmas- so far so good!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I like it – I had to look up some food items I wasn’t familiar with so I learned something. I’m going to be hoping that your Charlie Brown tree is so happy to be decorated that he perks right up in the spring. If he is showing signs of life, I’d suggest contacting your local Cooperative Extension and asking for advice. They normally have a hot line you can email. You would send them a description and include photos. They offer advice for free. I will be hoping you and all your loved ones stay well so you can enjoy those handsome grandsons safely over the holiday. Let’s face it, there is absolutely nothing like watching a Christmas holiday through the eyes of children. Stay well.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Just the two of us this year as well. We got a much smaller tree and put it in the front room to do as our governor suggested to Light the Way. I’ll be making my mom’s Christmas mincemeat cookies to distribute to our kids, nieces and nephews, and my sister, and I’ll make her special coffee cake as well. For dinner, my husband and I have decided on a “seven fishes” stew for Christmas Eve and steamed Maine lobsters for Christmas dinner. We’ll Zoom with our kids later in the day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Light the Way – nice. I never wonder if you and your loved ones will be eating well. That menu sounds delicious. πŸ™‚ I wanted to tell you I went into the grocery store that showed online that they had coconut pudding only to find out they certainly did not have it. I’ll keep looking though. Zoom has really made a lot of getting together at least possible virtually. Stay well.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you so much for looking! That was certainly a kind and thoughtful thing to do. I thought I found an on-line source, but I got a notice that it was backordered indefinitely and they refunded my credit card! I guess I’ll have to just keep playing with the real coconut! We’re planning to talk to our kids via Zoom on Christmas, thank goodness for that at least! You stay well too!!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. You have inspired me to go out and hunt for red berries and greenery. Yours are so very pretty.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Your Christmas decorations are lovely and the hanging plants added to the scene. After several days of telling us that a winter storm was coming. It arrived yesterday and I woke to a white blanket. The is still below freezing and has a negative effect on my plants. Have a fantastic holiday.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. bikerchick57 says:

    It’s hard to believe Christmas is almost here. I haven’t done much with the holiday other than send out a few Christmas cards, decorate a little, and listen to the season’s music. What I always eat at Christmas has changed over the years. When married, it was a champagne/apple jelly ham and cornbread casserole. Then I spent a number of years always making several kinds of Christmas cookies and spending Christmas Eve at a friend’s home, who would have annually themed meals. This year, I’m not sure what it will bring in the way of food. I’m thinking shrimp alfredo and a chocolate dessert, but it is yet to be determined.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Marilyn says:

    Our food at every Christmas is licorice toffee. My family loves licorice. A cousin gave me the recipe years ago and it has become a traditional gift to then sibs. I used to make stollen bread and Bunche de Noel but gotten away from it.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Love your closing advice. My dad had a vintage 1955 Chevy pick-up that every winter he would cover and park all the way back (i.e. first) in the driveway (we had no garage). Some of those Michigan snows would pile up on it really high, and we used to make fun that the covers really weren’t helping all that much. But it was an annual event starting in early December through February. Glad to know that tradition is living on somewhere else. πŸ™‚ – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    • Love your memory! This is the first winter we’ve tried it. We’re normally south and before that I was young enough to run out there every morning after a storm, clean it off, shovel around it, and then do it again if needed that day. Back and wrists can’t take that abuse anymore so I’ll let you know how this works. I’m actually waiting for the first light snow so I can fire up the leaf blower and let it rip. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Dan Antion says:

    You look like you’re really in the Christmas spirit, Judy. That’s so nice to see. Your decorating projects look great.

    I hope finding a way to winter the truck is easy for you. Clearing around a truck is no fun – I did that for years.

    Stay safe!

    Liked by 1 person

    • We got it all set up and now we’ll see how it works. πŸ™‚ Anyone who doesn’t have to clear a vehicle in New England weather might not understand shoveling around it, then clearing, then shoveling the clearing that fell to the ground, and doing it multiple times depending upon the amount of snow. I use to find it challenging, now it is just a lot of work. πŸ™‚ Yes, I know for a fact, I’m showing my age here. Stay well, Dan, and I’m guessing you’ll get a start on Maddie’s snow mountain this week.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. You did a great job with your hanging baskets. They look very pretty and festive. One of our favourite Christmas desserts is pavlova, topped with delicious summer fruit.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Eliza Waters says:

    Beautiful wall hangings and baskets, Judy. Your house must look very festive! Your menu sounds delicious. I’m undecided whether to go with turkey or a smaller chicken…or maybe capons? I made candied orange peel this week (some dipped in dark chocolate), which turned out well. Peppermint bark is next on the list. Have a good week!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Brenda says:

    I love that your winterberry came from Monticello. That’s an historic pedigree. There’s a touch of immortality in sharing plants and spreading them to grow in new places.

    Our Christmas menus have changed over the years. But the one constant is that we always have a taste of Grand Marnier! Not sure what that says about us, but there you go.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think it says you and hubby know how to enjoy the finer things in life. πŸ™‚ I’m guessing you may get some of our forecasted snow so you’ll be able to look out on a white landscape as you spin away and enjoy the holidays. Hope you both have a good one and have an opportunity to see family through technology at least. Raise that glass to a better 2021 Holiday. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I love all the decorations, Judy. They looks fine to me. πŸ™‚ I’m sorry you won’t be able to go to S. Carolina this year, but I hope you have a wonderful Christmas at home. We always have a cornbread topped with maple sausage and caramelized apples for Christmas Day brunch. You cook it with the cornbread on top and then invert it to serve. It looks lovely and tastes even better and you can make part of it the night before. πŸ™‚ I usually make peanut butter fudge as well, a fudge where the peanut butter filling is in the middle. Stop! I’m making myself hungry and it doesn’t help that I have ham and split pea soup on the stove where it’s been smelling delicious for over two hours already.

    janet

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Nancy says:

    Hello Judy! Your winter evergreen planters with winterberry are fabulous! I love them. Your home is festive and ready for Christmas!

    Toffee is delivered by the neighbors every year and ours just arrived! It’s sooooo good. I have been busy decorating the house and the She Shed for Christmas. It’s fun and it keeps me busy. We watch lots of Football here in this house and I joined a Fantasy Football league and have my own team. I made it to the Playoffs! Lol!

    As for Baking… not much this year. Pizzelles, Aunt Helen’s Nut Horns and I am making a new recipe of Fruit Cake. Not a usual fruit cake but one made with dates, raisins, craisans,figs, apricots and nuts. Dinner is a toss up… thinking of roasted pork tenderloin with roasted vegetables. And the new fruit cake for dessert! Warmed with whipped cream.

    And I am always masked up.
    Stay Strong… we are going to do this!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. germac4 says:

    Your wall hangings and table toppers look very festive, and every time I see a red pickup truck (on snowy Xmas cards) I think of you! Reading about all the comments on Christmas food….WOW all sounds delicious. Such a great distraction after a tough year.
    Best wishes to you and your family Judy, stay safe and healthy, ready for another year of blogging!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Oddment says:

    Your post and all the comments are such good therapy! Those hanging baskets are beautiful and exactly right for a gardener: we speak in greens, and those baskets say Keep The Spirit! All your decorations say that, as a matter of fact. Your question about Christmas food got me thinking about how family history is written in Christmas menus. There are health changes, deaths, weddings, new people in the family…it really got me thinking. My mom was a crazed person for weeks before Christmas because of her obsession with Christmas cookies. They were fabulous! I inherited that gene. Although I’ve had to adapt to things like creaking legs and celiac in the family, I still keep Christmas with cookies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If a family has Christmas cookies, that really meets the holiday needs. My daughter sent us some of her specialties, and I immediately put them in the freezer so I could pull them out on Christmas Eve. They can be simple or elaborate, but they set the scene and the mood. I love Christmas cookies. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Alicia says:

    Winterberry is my favorite holly. There’s nothing like a winterberry covered in berries in the winter landscape.

    The red pickup hanging is so cute.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Love the natural greenery. We’ve sort of stopped using it indoors, but I try to add a few sprigs here and there to bring in that wonderful smell and feeling of Christmas. Wishing you and yours a great Christmas . . . masked or not.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Joyce says:

    I love the Christmas-y feel of your home! So nice to enjoy the fruit of your own skill in the baskets and quilted pieces. Our favored, and traditional, food for Christmas is brisket of some sort. Last year I tried an Ina Garten recipe that was a hit, so this time I’ll repeat it and deliver dinner to the locals, then run home to join them all on Zoom!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re like Christmas door dash! What a deal, and I can imagine how much they appreciate it, and it pulls the family together even on Zoom and not in person. I like brisket, looked up that recipe, and it looks delish. You have a marvelous Christmas.

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  27. ladysighs says:

    I don’t have the talent and creativity to make beautiful decorations. How fortunate that I can make a few clicks in WP and enjoy the lovelies without all the bother. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Karen says:

    Your home looks so very festive decorated with your wall hangings and the evergreen planters with winterberry. I used to cut evergreens and berries around our property for the antique iron urns on either side of our front door in New Hampshire. Now I have an artificial swag hanging on our Florida front door. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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