Unusual colours, an odd number of plates—five—snowy scenes and animals wearing spectacles. Ok, not your usual Christmas tableware. But somehow, it all comes together for a joyously zany table.

Please meet Eric (or Eloise). I’m not sure which is which.

As described on The Gilded Thistle website, the Eric and Eloise Framily Dinner Collection was:

Inspired by the folktales of Scandinavia and her own childhood in the forests of Canada, Jessica Hiemstra wrote a little story about an unlikely friendship between a hare and a fox. Eric and Eloise, two unsuspecting friends, relish in the innocence of imagination and the joy of being home again.

So this one must be Eloise (or Eric).

The plates are a hefty size for a salad plate – a good 8″. And weirdly, there are five different animals, not four or six.

At first, I was a little stumped on how to style them. But not one to back down from a design challenge, I settled on highlighting the amethyst and aqua/teal colours. Antique amethyst Venetian glass goblets got us started.

Then a little digging around produced inexpensive baubles to fill the galvanized sleigh and decorate the eucalyptus garland.

After that, it was a simple matter of adding galvanized chargers, snowy white Sophia dinner plates by Ralph Lauren and finding some mercury glass candles for a little more bling.

This professorial deer with his pipe quite won my heart.

The startled…what is that? a sheep? …is priceless.

Finally, we have a walrus. With a Mom tattoo. Of course! He seems to be the only one not requiring optical assistance.

The tablecloth is actually a fabric piece I picked up on Amazon for a song. I’ve discovered that a number of high-quality fabric manufacturers are selling their remnants on Amazon, expanding my tablecloth repertoire. Such fun!

The mercury glass pillar candles are from Save-on-Crafts. They come in a set of three graduated sizes and are very reasonably priced.

The amethyst Venetian glass open salts are part of the same collection as the goblets and came from Elise Abrams’ antiques.

Thank you, Eric + Eloise for helping us kick off the Christmas season.

I waited (somewhat impatiently) until after Remembrance day to begin decorating the house. A spell of unexpectedly warm weather inspired Glenn to get the outside lights up early, though we waited to turn them on until this weekend. The inside faux trees are up and decorated, and yesterday we brought in the real tree, which is gathering itself before we begin to trim it. I’ve found that giving the tree a couple of days to acclimate and rehydrate helps the branches retain their shape before they get weighed down with lights and ornaments.

Santa has made his list and has checked it twice; wrapping began yesterday morning in a glorious confusion of paper and parcels. My daughter-in-law, Annie, and I visit and watch Christmas movies for a day early in the season to get the wrapping done and dusted. A few concentrated hours is a small to pay for peace of mind, knowing that task is off the list. Whew! Now we are free to enjoy the season—baking and taking the grandgirls to the local theatre for live productions of Oliver and A Christmas Carol. Tonight Glenn and I are taking in It’s a Wonderful Life at a local restored movie theatre, which has been part of the community since 1935. After two years of socially-constrained celebration, we are enjoying our freedom immensely.