‘Tis The Season

I love the sights, the sounds, the smells of the Christmas season. So for me, the next week will be spent planning menus, trimming the trees and decorating the house. ‘Tis the season to spend time enjoying all that is wonderful about my favorite holiday.

Instead of shopping and maybe risking life and limb, I’m listening to Christmas music as I unpack beautiful ornaments. I will never be part of the crowds and mayhem of Black Friday and the after Thanksgiving madness at the malls. I will not be participating in Cyber Monday either. I have a hard time understanding that Black Friday and White Christmas are making reference to the same season.

This will be the first time in three years that my husband and I will be home for Christmas. For the past two years, we celebrated Christmas in Germany and Austria. I’m going to enjoy decorating the house again and planning a Christmas party.

As I finish decorating each room, I’ll try to share photos. As I prepare food for my Christmas party, I’ll share recipes. Hopefully you will enjoy sharing my Christmas holidays.

Dining Room Mural

If you are like me and have a formal dining room, it doesn’t get used much. It is a shame that we don’t use ours very often as it is a very pleasant room. Each wall is part of a continuous mural of scenes from our town done in a primitive style that would have been proper in the 1700’s.

I keep my decorating simple in this room. It is limited to my collection of carolers on the Hepplewhite side board in front of the main mural.

Joy To The World

Carolers A Caroling

Gather Round The Tree

Dining Room Table Waiting For The Desserts

For our Christmas party, the dining room chairs will be lined against the walls and the table will hold all the cakes, cookies and candies. With all the Christmas sweets, this will definitely be one of the favorite places in the house on the day of our party.

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About Karen

I travel the back roads of New England and beyond, sharing great food and interesting places.
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87 Responses to ‘Tis The Season

  1. Sue says:

    Utterly perfect for that room. I’m looking forward to seeing more as it gets completed!

  2. Karen Harris says:

    We used to travel home from England every year. When we moved back to the US we swore that we would never travel at the holidays again unless it was an absolute necessity. We have only had to travel a time or two and have loved being at home. You have a beautiful room in which to host your celebration this year. Have a wonderful time.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Karen, Thank you for your comment. Traveling at Christmas can be rewarding if the country celebrates the true spirit of Christmas, which Austria and Germany certainly do…but it is nice to celebrate with friends at home.

  3. megtraveling says:

    It’s absolutely charming! The carolers fit right in with your decor. It sounds like you’ll have a lovely party!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Meg, Thank you! Living in a historical house like ours is fun and we have tried to honor it’s history from restoration through everyday living.

  4. Bonnie says:

    Can’t wait to see how you decorate Karen. I love your mural!!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Bonnie, I thought of you when I was writing this post. We both live in historical homes. The murals were done by an artist from Maine that traveled down every day for over a month to do the walls. I wanted it to be done in the style of Rufus Porter who was a painter in this area during the time our home was built hundreds of years ago.

  5. Your place is so amazing. I love the mural and you’re right to keep the decorating low key in there.

  6. Liz says:

    Love your murals…they give such a nice ambiance to the dining room~

  7. Charles says:

    We’re going to have quite a quiet Christmas this year. Everyone we know(family and friends) is either (or will be at the time) in a different country or otherwise unavailable, as well as the fact that we’re leaving on vacation on the 26th, so I daren’t do a massive meal. We’ll be having a few “pre-parties” though with friends so I’ll be able to prepare!

    Black Friday’s crazy – I’ve been reading about it… There was a woman in Toys’R’Us who pepper sprayed some other shoppers just so she could get some Barbie dolls… I mean seriously?!?! I don’t even think the deals are that good – the merchandise which is most heavily discounted is often low quality stuff it seems – stores certainly aren’t losing money running these sales and it just drives people into a frenzy. It just show-cases the very worst sides of human-nature mixed with consumeristic greed :(

    • Karen says:

      Hi Charles, I have to agree totally about Black Friday. One of the reasons that I love spending Christmas in Europe is that it is still considered a religious holiday. It’s not about have many gifts a person gives or gets. On Christmas it will just be my husband and I so it will be a quiet time for us as well.

  8. Megan says:

    Wow! May I visit for the holidays?

  9. Ann says:

    I’m with you – my sisters and step-mother LOVE the black Friday mayhem, but I don’t! Besides, I’m done with my Christmas shopping and the cards are in the mail! Your dining room is stunning and I LOVE the frescos! I’m also a big fan of Joyce Byers and her dolls! The perfect decoration!

  10. Looking forward to ‘joining in’ with your Christmas preparations…After all those years in retail, I’m finding it hard to regain the excitment and wonder I used to feel at the holidays…but I’m working on it.

  11. I am falling more in love with your house with each new picture that you share! I am extremely excited to be along for the ride of seeing how you prepare for Christmas. Thank you for sharing it all with us. :-) Mandy

  12. We’ve been to Europe for Christmas and while it’s lovely, there’s no place like home is there. Singing carols is a wonderful way to get the spirit and decorate your house at the same time. Happy holidays.
    Sam

  13. Absolutely love your dining room…that mural is amazing. ~~Bliss

  14. I’d love to see more photos of that mural. Christmas is my favorite holiday, too, and I agree with you about Black Friday and Cyber Monday (which I didn’t even know existed until I got an email called “Cyber Monday” this morning.

  15. spicegirlfla says:

    Your home is so special. I love how the carolers look against the mural. Can’t wait to follow along with your holiday planning!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Linda, Thank you for your nice comment. Yes, I think it is a perfect place for the carolers. It looks like they are gathered around the tree in the center of town.

  16. ChgoJohn says:

    Thank you, Karen, for sharing your Christmas preparations with us. Your house is pretty special, as-is. I cannot wait to see it fully decked & hollied.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you John. I have had so many requests to see the house after I did the post that showed the keeping room hearth. I hope you will enjoy the tour.

  17. Sissi says:

    The walls of your dining room are incredible! Thank you for sharing with us your plans for Christmas. I started to feel the Christmas atmosphere while reading your post :-) I hope you will enjoy this year’s Christmas at home.

  18. I agree on the whole Black Friday thing… in fact this year our gift giving will be simple, small and meaningful gifts.. handmade if we can. I love your murals, were they there when you bought the house? Such pretty Christmas decorating you’ve done:)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Smidge, Black Friday just shows how people are really losing the true meaning and spirit of Christmas. I love your idea of simple and meaningful gifts. No the murals were not there originally. As a matter of fact, it is a wonder that my husband didn’t fall through the floor in that room. We spent three years having the whole house restored to its present condition.

  19. Karista says:

    Karen, the most beautiful dining room I’ve ever seen! The bright yellow color with the stunning mural is magnificent! I can’t wait to see the rest of your beautiful Christmas decorations. I too skip all the mayhem of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It seems I mentally put on the brakes this time of year, slowing down to truly savor the season. Happy Christmas!

  20. The murals are absolutely fantastic and when looking at them I feel that I am in another era, where time is more thoughtful and slow. It must be such a joy to sit down to a meal surrounded by the beauty. I know that it makes your meals more delicious than they would be otherwise. Thanks for allowing us to peek inside.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you so much Teresa. Can you imagine all the people that have shared a meal in that room since the early 1700’s. Of course that mural wasn’t part of the room at that time, but it is period appropriate. I’m really so happy that people are enjoying our historic home.

  21. cabinet stew says:

    Fantastic – I love that you have an appreciation for historical preservation and are willing to research it,fund it and be patient for the results. ( I am still working on the patience and funding part of things my own self)
    And of course I LOVE the scale of the carolers and how they just “fit into” the mural. Looking forward to seeing the rest.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Carol, Thank you for you compliment. I have been involved with historic preservation for years. I was president of an organization that raised money to help preserve historic buildings in Florida before we moved to New Hampshire. Everyone thought that our house should be torn down but we have restored it to museum quality. Every board is hand planed and hand made nails used. All the floors were numbered before being removed so that new beams could be put in. There is wonderful history in this house that I am proud that we saved.

      • cabinet stew says:

        All it takes is a person with a vision and “no fear” to bring a house back to its glory. I am also amazed when they number and remove boards (or move houses/barns) and rebuild – that is true talent! I was thinking about those wide plank pine(?) floor boards. Probably milled from trees on the property!

      • Karen says:

        Hi Carol, Not only did they number the boards when they were removed but they bagged the dirt that was under them. Later they sifted through it. We were fortunate to have a man that only works on first period colonial homes do the restoration.

  22. Zoe @ Pantry and Fridge says:

    Very lovely! How exciting… A party!

    I do agree with you about how the holidays have become more about the presents and less about our gifts. I really go against the idea of piles of gifts under the tree, shopping (fighting) for “deals” and the general retail overload that starts at the end of October. I fear that eventually we’ll be seeing holiday sales mid summer! :/

    It’s nice to see others enjoying the spirit of the holiday…

    Looking forward to your upcoming posts :)
    HAPPY HOLIDAYS.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Zoe, Thank you for your comment. It appears that I am not the only one that is concerned about the demise of the Christmas spirit in favor of how much you can get or have under the Christmas tree.

  23. CorkAndSpoon says:

    I absolutely adore the picture of the carolers around the tree. It looks perfect with the mural behind them. Can’t wait to see what you do with the other rooms :-) ~Ruth~

  24. Kristy says:

    We did the same thing on Friday Karen! No stores for us…it’s decorating time all the way! :) Your dining room is just gorgeous – so bright and happy. :) I’m looking forward to your decorating posts. Your home is just so charming. Here’s to a fun holiday season!!!

  25. Your dining room is so beautiful and elegant
    looking forward to all the recipes and pictures

  26. rsmacaalay says:

    Great decorations! I love the atmosphere in that dining area

  27. niasunset says:

    WOW! This is so beautiful dear Karen. I loved your dining room! The wall is amazing. You are very elegant. Although I am not a Christian but I feel like you, “I love the sights, the sounds, the smells of the Christmas season”… maybe because of my childhood days… We were living in Germany when I was a little girl… And still I love to be in Europe during Christmas time… Your carollers are so lovely and what a nice idea you put them there with a beautiful background of the wall… Fascinated me. Thank you dear Karen, I wish you to have a nice Christmas day and night with your family, with my love, nia

  28. Lea Ann says:

    I do believe you’ve just gotten me into the Christmas Spirit. :) I love those Carolers.

  29. Your collection of carolers is wonderful and your dining room couldn’t be more perfect. How nice you will get to spend the holiday at home this year. Just the thought of that must make you happy. I hope you have a good week. Blessings…Mary

  30. Maggie says:

    Hi Karen, I’m a huge fan of Byers Choice Carolers too and am looking forward to displaying them all, once again, at Christmastime. Yours look perfect against the backdrop of the beautiful wall mural in your dining room.
    I’ll be back for more of your Christmas traditions soon.
    Maggie

  31. What a beautiful room! The mural is fantastic! Like you, I do not venture out for Black Friday! My Christmas shopping is finished before Thanksgiving, which gives plenty of time to enjoy the Christmas season!

  32. ceciliag says:

    Your murals are just amazing! And your decorations are looking just wonderful. that is a lovely big dining room table, just right for a fancy dinner. I look forward to your recipes! c

  33. Love the elegant simplicity of your dining room. I have a wide tapestry on a wrought iron rod on one wall. I agree, we should use our “formal” spaces more!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you for your nice comment. I sometimes think we save things for special occasions instead of really enjoying them like we should. I’m sure most of us have a good set of dishes that sit collecting dust.

  34. Eri says:

    Your home is lovely Karen, I cant wait for your next Christmas decorating posts! I’m sure your party will be a huge success!
    Have a nice week!

  35. I absolutely love your dining room. I would certainly put that room to good use :). And I love your collection of carolers. Maybe try to bring in Christmas glittery ornaments for the table, different size candles, and maybe bring some of the outside in to make the table feel more unique. I think you’re gonna have an amazing room when you’re done :)

    • Karen says:

      Thank you for your comment, Babygirl. I leave the dining table simple until right before our Christmas party. It is then turned into the dessert table.

  36. What a beautiful room, Karen! Everything you touch seems to be just gorgeous!

  37. I’m with you – no Black Friday madness. I’d rather stay home and bake cookies. ;) I’m enjoying that my only point of stress is which candies, caramels, etc. to make for homemade gift baskets. :D happy holiday-prepping!

  38. lulu says:

    I bet your home is a joy to behold if it is decorated with all things of the period. I would love to be spending time with you in the kitchen chatting and baking!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lulu, Our home is a mix of period pieces and traditional furnishings. We want it to be interesting but we don’t want to live in a museum. Everyone seems to like what we have done. We could have a great time chatting and baking together.

  39. Your home sounds beautiful! I love Christmas preparations and going to town when the Christmas lights are on and all the shops smell so wonderfully Christmassy. :)

  40. I love the carolers, the way their heads are tilted up as they sing :)

  41. Karen, this is lovely. I wish we could have tea together in your dining room, I’d bring the biscotti or cookies :)

  42. What a lovely mural – it works perfectly with the aesthetic of the room!

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