One of the best things about Christmas here is

setting up everything in late November, then enjoying it till late January-early February. Outdoors, we periodically continue to use the front lights with snowman and the backyard deer lights into February-March.

Inside the house, we leave up the beautifully decorated, olde (3 decades) artificial tree (by our artsy daughter) till the end of January-start of February. We spend many a December and January afternoon tea in the living room along with Christmas or classical music (currently listening to Chopin), and sometimes, after supper, retire, initially to the same room to unwind and look at the lights. For two months of the year we have a colorful, indoor retreat from winter. The psychological and spiritual benefits cannot be undervalued.

(In the background, my parents’ old chair, my mother’s knitted throw, a squirrel pillow from our son, and a portrait of my parents.)

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