Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas decorating, roses and a cookie recipe too


I work in retail and am responsible for the Christmas tree decorating in the store. It's a huge undertaking. This year there are more than 30 themed trees. I touch every single ornament many times over from mid-September when I start sorting them, until I go to the gift market in Atlanta in January at which time, those that are left, are 75% off and I'm pretty sick of them.

Many comment that I won't want to decorate my own home.  It's very different.

I tell them that my tree is simple, doesn't have a theme and is a hodge podge of memories.  Many memories.  Some years it's really hard to get through decorating my tree without a few tears a good old cry.  I cherish the many memories. Like my sister who loved to give ornaments;  my parents, my dad also deceased and my mom so far away and old now. Ornaments from travels in the US and abroad abound. More memories of happy times. There are White House ones with lovely presidential stories given by our late neighbors each year.  There are many bisque angels from my ex-husband and I still put them on the tree because I still love them. Oy, and all those memories.

But the ornaments that separate my tree from the trees at work are the ones my children made and the ones with their little faces on them.  I can't pay money for anything as dear to my heart.

This year, I'll be in Portland for Christmas with Matt, my son, so I don't even need a tree but it's a tradition, something I do every year.  A comfort.  I actually didn't cry this year.  Don't know why.  I have a good reason with my house on the market now and this likely my last December here.  Perhaps I'm reconciled and ready for a simpler Christmas away.


In all other years, by this time I've pruned back my roses and taken out the thorny branches with the leaves.  This year they are tall and lanky, but for two weeks in a row, I've cut lovely bunches to bring into the house. I may not have said how much I love fresh flowers in the house.  {I adore them.}  I've been given roses in December before, but not these quaint old fashioned ones from the garden.

Today I did some more holiday baking for colleagues, friends and neighbors.  A few weeks ago I tasted some ginger snaps at a neighbor's house. She commented that they were made from a mix.  I was amazed, so I looked for a recipe online.  I've tried three recipes and have found a good one this time.  I also quite adore the Martha Stewart bags with a little snowflake box/base.

Easy Ginger Snap Cookies

18 1/4 oz spice cake mix
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground ginger {I used more}
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup molasses
2 tbsps vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheet.
In a large bowl, stir together the cake mix, baking soda and ginger. Make a well in the center and pour in the water, molasses and vanilla. Mix until thoroughly blended. Roll into balls  Flatten slightly. Dip one side in sugar and place them 3 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheet. {I used silver and gold sugar for holiday sparkle.}
Bake for 13 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the tops are cracked and cookies are firm. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.

Here is an example of a tree I decorated at work: the Santa tree. I had the idea to make the boots into a tree topper.  I stuffed a Santa hat into each boot to give it a furry cuff.  Then I stuffed red fabric into the middle of the tree, supposedly for the body {but all the ornaments pretty much hide that now.}  Then a day later I spied the Santa head, and put it upside down.  It's been a humourous tree for many, and bit troublesome for a few children who asked some cute questions.  It's my favourite tree {at work} this year!


  1. Hi Andy, I just gave you the Liebster Award. Check it out on my blog.