We don't make a huge deal of Christmas - for us, it's primarily a time to relax, to remember Jesus' birth in Bethlehem, and to spend time with family and friends. And to eat lots of special home-baked goodies that we don't eat the rest of the year.
But still, we do make a few small festive efforts. My mother is staying for two weeks over Christmas, and at least four friends will be joining us for Christmas Day, when Tim will produce a full turkey roast lunch for us all.
Moreover, we're hosting a lunch on Thursday for Richard's colleagues and their families - I think it will be 19 of us in all. And I do like to air our small collection of Christmas decorations once a year..
This is what we have outside our front door. Not a huge and ornate wreath, just a simple one:
Here's our tree, which we bought about 19 years ago and brought out with us from the UK two years ago. The lights don't show up as I took it in daylight, but they're there. A few pieces of tinsel, a few baubles, and some bits and pieces that we've been given, or have bought, over the years. That cats want to take some of the baubles, of course, but so far they haven't succeeded. They haven't even knocked the tree over, which is good.
No presents around the tree yet, because they're sitting in a cupboard waiting to be wrapped.
Then there are candles. I don't like lots of glitzy chains or garlands, but I do like these tiny candle-holder wreaths, and festive coloured candles, some of which we'll burn at mealtimes, others of which will go back in the box at Epiphany, awaiting next year's outing.
This gold-coloured candle, is placed on our bookcase of Christian books. There's a matching one on our bookcase of non-fiction general books.
This red one, and others like it, are sitting on some of our bookcases of general fiction:
Ah, and Sophia wanted to get in on the photo-shoot, so here she is posing next to another of the red candles:
Oh, and there's this blue candle, too. Someone decorated it, and another like it, and gave them to us a few years back. Someone else gave us this china candle-holder about a year ago. It only occurred to me this year to put them together.
We've now burned the other blue candle, since they were beginning to get a little frayed around the edges. We may use this one on Christmas Day.
We usually get about forty or fifty Christmas cards, many of them sent from the UK. Those that arrive first get hung along the pelmets above our sliding doors and windows, like this:
(If you click on the image to enlarge it, and have a fairly sharp screen, you may spot something unusual about the clock above the row of cards!)
And finally... we were given these rather stylised Nativity characters when we first moved here. We haven't always put them out, as we couldn't find anywhere that looked right. But this year, we were given this beautiful (and huge) poinsettia, and it occurred to me that our little Nativity scene would look quite good right in front of it:
(This post was inspired by Boomama's festive tour of bloggy homes)