Okay-I will admit it. I have a lot of Santas and again,the collection began while living in Zurich and driving up to the Black Forest with all of my American friends. They are so dear to me that the architects actually built the mantle in the Family Room to fit all of them at Christmastime.
The family tree is very special to me. All of the ornaments have a story behind them. Interests the kids had-hiking boots for Kate’s days at Dartmouth,scrubs for Phil in Med School,Bud Light can for Peter’s favorite,computer screen for Chip,horses for Susan. We also have an ornament made by my Mom for when we got engaged-complete with the teddy bear with a ring around his neck as Bill did. I also have many handmade ornaments by me and by many members of our family.
The brass reindeer I purchased this fall from Gerard’s in Lincoln MA-love them! Judy surrounded them with beautiful balls of moss and boxwood that she created, mixed greens,gold ribbon and magnolia leaves.
These are our pyramids-each of the kids has one and I also have my Mom’s. I bought all of them either in the Black Forest in Germany or at The Christmas Haus,located in New Oxford,PA. I used to go to the Christmas Haus when my two boys were at Gettysburg College.
We aren’t living in the house you-we still need the occupancy permit -but we are having a lot of fun getting all set up. So far all went smoothly due to the incredibly warm weather(in Massachusetts??!) and it is so nice to see our stuff again. Trying to get ready for Christmas all at the same time is proving interesting!
I heard this on the radio and thought it was so interesting-
|Interview with David Hoffman, author of the book Kid Stuff: Great Toys from Our Childhood
So many of the classic toys never started out as toys.
| When people walking by saw the display, they didn’t want the toy it was advertising, they wanted the train that was carting other toys around.
Play Doh is one of the craziest things; it was formulated as a compound to clean wallpaper. The sister-in-law of the guy who invented it complained that the kids in her nursery school class(she was a teacher) really couldn’t play with clay because it was too firm for their fingers to manipulate. So he said, “I have something, it’s non-toxic, it’s great because if you keep it in a tightly sealed container, it stays soft and if you leave it out, it will harden just like clay does.”
Mr. Potato Head was originally supposed to be just a premium in a breakfast cereal.
It was a bag of plastic face parts that you could stick into really any fruit or vegetable, but particularly a potato. The guy who invented it showed it to Hasbro and they said, “We want this.” It was a good move, because George Lerner, who invented the product, would have made five thousand dollars had he sold it to the breakfast cereal company, instead he became a millionaire.In addition, Mr. Potato Head was the first toy to be advertised on television.
Architect,gardener,scientist,philosopher,mathematician,horticulturist,politician and spoke 5 languages…Jefferson was truly a man of the enlightenment. Beginning with entering the front hallway of Monticello you are told by the tour guide that he specifically made the entrance a “Museum” with relics from the Lewis and Clark expedition,maps, and antlers of animals both rare and native to Virginia.He felt that if anyone was waiting for him, they surely should be learning while waiting.
Also in the entrance hall there is a clock which not only tells the time but tells the day of the week. He ran out of room as the ball descends to Friday afternoon so he merely cut a hole and put Saturday in the basement! He also had extensive notes on the weather each day.
He thought about ease and convenience in many instances. He invented the swivel chair, a double door which when you open on one side, has a pulley system he invented to open the other. He had a dumb waiter that spins around for staff to collect dishes after a meal , a pulley system to the basement where new bottles of wine can be brought up,the empties taken away. His closet above his bed(which to his specification is 6’3″ to be 1/2 inch longer than his 6’2 1/2″ to not waste room) has holes for ventilation but is a clever way to hide his clothes and not take up room. His bed was conveniently positioned between the bedroom and the office so he could leap out to begin his day’s work and study.
Jefferson was very fond of the architect Andrea Palladio. He spent over 40 years altering and working on Monticello-always discovering something new that he saw when he resided in Europe several times. Even now there is much work going on-they are building cabins that would look like the slave quarters seen at Monticello in jefferson’s day.
On this topic,slavery, Jefferson never resolved his own personal feelings. He definitely felt that all men were created equal yet he had over 200 slaves on his property.
Jefferson stated in a letter to a friend “All my wishes end,where I hope my days will end,at Monticello”. He died on July 4,1826-just hours before his friend John Adams in Boston,and 50 years to the day of the enactment of the Declaration of Independence which he penned.
If you have not made it to Monticello which is located near Charlottesville, Virginia- you really need to add it to your list.
It is always good to work with friends who are so incredibly creative and fun to work with.We just had a 60’s party for the Concord Museum and called it” Flower Power”. We had a lot of fun digging out old albums and other memorabilia from the 60’s,buying macrame baskets,pillows and lava lamps and saving wine bottles to put candles in(who doesn’t remember doing that??!). Maryann had the great idea of constructing a VW bus over the doorway that lead to the patio where the bar was and also painted big flowers on each tablecloth in bright yellow,green,pink and orange.We decided to use only daisies for the flowers and my friend Judy constructed(with others helping) these beautiful centerpieces as well as the big peace sign that went over the mantle of our venue. It was a very fun evening with loads of dancing to those old familiar tunes!
I have had my Santa collection for over 20 years and it has been fun to open the box every year and get them all out-each one has a special memory for me; where I got it or who gave it to me over the years. Whether it is Santas, a Christmas Village,small antique trees, nutcrackers, snowmen, “kitchen”, needlepoint, mercury, glass or dog ornaments -make a collection part of your tradition at Christmas.
We have been hammered with snow this past week in Boston so around here it looks pretty ready for Christmas. I started wondering what it looks like where it is warmer and more tropical so I asked my sister-in-law to send me pictures of Santa Barbara. From the palm trees that are decorated,to the creche in front of the Mission, to the lobby at the Biltmore Hotel, to the flags on State Street ,to the trains set up at the library,to even the Buddha ,they look ready for Santa as well!