It’s tree-trimming day—when we haul two artificial trees in their “body bags” along with boxes of lights and ornaments up from the basement (my least favourite part). Glenn wrestles the real tree into its stand and lies on the floor, awkwardly prone, as he tightens the bolts (his least favourite part). Then comes the decorating—fluffing out the branches of the faux trees, testing many strings of lights and making sure they’re just so before adding the ornaments. Finally, delicate glass ones go on the real tree in the living room, from which marauding cats can be excluded by closing the French doors. The family room tree has 12 Days of Christmas and bottle brush decorations of woodland animals theme (indestructible).
The final tree is the Teddy Bear tree, the hands-down favourite among the grandgirls. You may recall the Teddy Table from a few years ago, set just before all the bears took their places for the season.
Decorating the Teddy Tree involves a family ritual. The girls select the spot for each bear, and Nana secures it to the designated branch with a sturdy twist tie to foil Diabolial Dundee’s nighttime efforts to “liberate” the bears from their tree bondage. This procedure takes time; we stand back frequently to ensure the bears all look happy. Santa Bear used to go on the top, but he’s about the same size as the other bears and lacked the commanding stature needed for a tree topper. So now we crown the tree with a felt tophat, which looks more proportional.
A few hours later, trees lighted, bears secure, lesser ornaments in place, we congratulate ourselves on a job well done. Glenn pours himself a stiff scotch (to ease the discomfort in his back, he claims). Then, the girls start clamouring for grilled cheese sandwiches and Tomato Dill Soup in the penguin mugs, please, Nana.
We place generously buttered multigrain bread, butter side down, on a stovetop griddle heated to medium-high heat, then add sharp cheddar and another slice of buttered multigrain bread, butter side up. The trick is to heat the sandwiches slowly enough to melt the cheddar without burning the bread; we carefully turn them a few times to ensure even melting and toasting.
Sandwiches accompanied by ramekins of cornichon, hot soup ladled into penguin mugs and topped with shredded cheddar and a few fronds of dill, we are ready for the next stage. Nana carries the tray downstairs so we can all admire the Teddy Tree and watch Charlie Brown’s Christmas, followed by Frosty the Snowman.
The Christmas Season has now officially begun!
Those penguin mugs are darling and I can see why your grands request them. I enjoyed seeing all your trees. Enjoy the season!
Thanks, Joy! I’ll be busy making more Tomato Dill soup this week. We’ve gone through my supplies and I always like having a few containers in the freezer. It reheats so well!
All the best of the season to you and yours. Wishing you a joyful and peaceful Christmas.
Looks like a lot of fun decorating all those trees. I’m sure Glenn’s back didn’t hurt but good excuse for a scotch! Everything looks so beautiful and of course ready for Santa. Have a wonderful Christmas
It was lots of fun, and you are right about Glenn’s Scotch (of course!). Got all the wrapping done in a blitz with Annie and Lauren. It’s some kind of record for us. Now onto the baking.
Ooooo. I remember these mugs from Pengiun Skate plates table that I loved. Scored a used set of 4 salads of skaters. Great for not quite Christmas and plenty of wintertime afterwards! Teddy bear tree 100% adorable, definitely Grandchild heavenly. Gal I know has one tree just for snowmen. Makes gift giving easy. One more always welcome.
Happy Holiday season!
So it begins…..
The Teddy Bear tree was indeed the recipient of many gifts over the years. The core group were a Costco bundle, if I remember rightly.
Happy Holidays to you, also!
The tree and the mugs are so lovely…your grandchildren are lucky to have this tradition to look forward to each year as it holds many happy memories.
Thanks, Alayne. We’re very lucky to have four of the five of the grandgirls so close. They’re literally five minutes away. It makes getting together very easy, and we try to take full advantage of it—childhood passes so very quickly.
Wishing you joyful and smooth holiday prep!
Dear Helen, I love Glenn’s “likely story.” OH swears it settles a heavy dinner also. Top hat brilliant…I’m using two vintage Mark Roberts elves/fairies! Decoration will be a hurried affair once we get home, with 6″ of white stuff on the ground already. Any child would love those penners. What, no Walking in the Air??
I’m not familiar with Walking in the Air, Beatrice, but having looked it up, we must add it to the repertoire. It looks perfect for kids to enjoy in the lead-up to Christmas!
Good luck with your journeys and the snow clearing. So far we’ve only had a dusting, but I know there is a lot more where that came from!
What a lovely and delightful tradition you have with your grandchildren. The Teddy Bear tree is as beautiful as it is whimsical .
My husband was interested in the vegetable tart – he’s the cook, I’m the baker. Looks like we might be having that on Christmas Day!
Wishing you and yours the Happiest of Holidays
You and your husband can get together on that vegetable tart. He can roast the veggies while you prepare the dough. It’s quick and easy, Rachelle. (Lauren is known to reheat it for breakfast—I think it’d make a great brunch all on its own).
The Teddy Tree is surviving its usual Dundee onslaught. How he manages to extract the bears even when firmly tied to the branches is beyond me. So far, they’ve all been rescued without being chewed by Clementine.
All the best to you for a lovely holiday season!