Thursday, January 2, 2014

It Was A Wonderful Christmas & It's Not Going Anywhere Yet

I realize that many people take their decorations down the day after Christmas or shortly thereafter.  Although I can understand the reasoning behind this, I personally don't want to end the season early.  What I haven't understood, until this year, are the people who put their trees up on Christmas Eve.  Why so late?  Well, I learned a bit more about the 12 Days of Christmas this year.  I've always known that the 12 Days begin on December 25th & end January 6th.  However, I did not know that people originally celebrated the 12 days by giving gifts on January 6th ... the date when the church celebrates the wise men giving gifts to the Christ child.  That sounds kind of nice, doesn't it   : )   I did a bit of research & discovered that Latin American Christians in particular extended the 12 days to 40 days, ending the celebration of Christmas with Candlemas on February 2nd!  Candlemas is the celebration of Jesus being presented in the temple.  He is celebrated as the Light of the World & thus candle services are held on that day to commemorate this.  People would put up their Christmas decorations on Christmas Eve & leave them up until Candlemas.  I do not know if this practice continues, but I found an interesting poem written sometime in the 17th century by Robert Herrick which refers to it.  The poem is called "Ceremony Upon Candlemas Eve" & begins as follows ...

"Down with the rosemary, & so
Down with the bays & mistletoe;
Down with the holly, ivy, all,
Wherewith ye dress'd the Christmas Hall."

I think that's pretty cool!  Of course I've always enjoyed the history behind things so I enjoy learning stuff like that   : )

Our tree & decorations are still up & will remain up until at least the 6th.  I've been promising to share some photos of our tree so you can see my stitched ornaments, & here they are.

I fear I probably haven't captured all of them, but hopefully you've seen the majority. There are a few ornaments that I stitched last year & the year before which I will be getting rid of before next Christmas.  I just don't like them anymore so why have them on my tree?  I will either give them away or use them for cat toys or something ... I'm not sure yet.  I do plan to stitch many others to take their place though   : )

Speaking of cats, did you spot Sophie in the background in one of the tree photos?  She is across the room right now, sleeping curled up in a decorative vintage chair rather than on the heating vent for some reason.  She looks so cute ... I leaned quietly over the table & took a picture to share with you.
Yesterday Sally & I started our SAL ... Lone Elm Lane's Snow Angel design.  We took a few stitches to start the new year, but our regular day to stitch this design will be Thursday.  I am using the fabric & floss suggested by the designer, but I might replace the fabric.  It's 36-count & she suggests stitching it over 2 with 2 strands of floss.  However, to me this appears to be a bit too much floss for this count of fabric. Then again, maybe not.  I will put in some more stitches today but may end up frogging & ordering a different count ... maybe 32, maybe 40.  Here's my start.  Look closely or you might miss it ... lol!  
If you are also going to stitch this design, there are 2 pattern corrections you need to know about.  I posted about them back in October.  Click here to view that posting.

Wishing you a wonderful second day of 2014!


gracie said...

Thank you for sharing your beautiful tree. I usually leave my trees up until the first week of January, but this year I just needed it to be away early. Sophie looks very comfy on the chair...amazing where a cat will settle!

Vickie said...

Love your tree Shirlee! And sweet, sweet Sophie.♥
Hmm. I thought you stitch with one over two for 36ct? Maybe if the pattern is not densely stitched two strands is better? Not sure.

Stitchy Mc Floss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CalamityJr said...

Or you could keep your fabric and stitch 1 over 2... That should give enough coverage on that count. Try it on the edge with a light and a dark thread and see what you think.

Love your tree and Sophie. Maybe you could offer a giveaway with your unwanted ornaments and let readers choose which one(s) they'd truly like to own.

Have a happy, healthy and blessed year!

Robin said...

What a gorgeous tree you have, Shirlee! I enjoyed browsing your photos of your ornaments. Simply wow!

You could always try using 1 strand of floss over 2 threads on your 36 count fabric.

Hope 2014 is off to a great start for you!

Robin in Virginia

Krista said...

Happy New Year, Shirlee! Your tree looks lovely with all those handmade ornaments. Sophie looks content snoozing away. My Gigi is usually sitting on the radiator when the heat kicks on!

About putting the tree up on Christmas Eve... which I also think is an odd custom, but I have an Aunt that did that and it was because she wanted her children to think that Santa brought it in the night with the presents. Needless to say she was always exhausted on Christmas because she would stay up all night to decorate the tree!

Have a great day!

Merilde said...

Hi - just started reading your blog - I'm enjoying it. I'm so glad that you talked about the actual "12 days of Christmas." It is so irritating to me when everyone assumes the 12 days are before Christmas. In old days, it was considered bad luck to bring in greens to decorate before Christmas eve. In Scandinavian countries, the tree is decorated and hidden until Christmas. When I was a child, Santa brought the tree and gifts. We never saw a tree until Christmas morning! It was magical, but my parents must have been nuts! I'm sure they went to bed 5 minutes before we got up!

Angela P said...

Love, love, love that ornament tree!

Anonymous said...

I love the story/history of Chrismas! Thank you for sharing this as I had no idea. I like the custom and I wished it continued today. There is so much commercializing it drives me crazy! It really takes the true meaning away. Look at the stores and how they are putting out Valentine's stuff before January! I can't take it!

I love your beautiful tree. It is so cute! Give some ornaments away? How about a giveaway or you know pick some names and put them in a hat and surprise someone.

Sophie is so sweet. Unlike my two who like to get into the cupboards. They work together you know. :)

I agree with you sometimes when it comes to certain patterns calling for over 2 with 2 strands. It doesn't look right or feel right. What if you used one strand of floss? Would that not do either? I can't wait to watch you and Sally's progress!

Have a lovely week!

Vicki said...

Your tree is lovely! You have many beautifully stitched ornaments on it. One of these days I want to have a "stitching" tree. I need to get to work on that! Happy New Year!

jennifer768 said...

Good morning Shirlee,it looks like we might get a little snow.Yippee! I love your tree,so many beautiful ornies.It makes me want to start one for myself.Thanks so much for sharing more about the different Christmas traditions,that was fun.Sophie looks so adorable! Blessings,Jen

Sarah in Stitches said...

Beautiful ornament tree! I love the decorations you have around your house in the background too. :D

marly said...


Linda said...

Beautiful ornaments and tree Shirlee.


geeky Heather said...

I am with you on leaving the tree up until Epiphany! I can tell you that the whole "putting the tree up on Christmas Eve" thing is a German tradition. My dad grew up with things working that way. They'd decorate the tree, but Santa would put on the fragile ornaments and the tinsel, so it was a surprise on Christmas morning to see the whole thing in its glory. Now, my mom's birthday is December 10th, and she always wanted the tree up on her birthday, invariably resulting in a fight. My dad's traditions plus his intense frugality usually made us wait as late as possible to put the tree up, because the local tree lot guy would get more and more desperate to sell. However, one year we had to drive 75 miles to get a tree because there were none to be had closer!!!

Carol said...

Love your tree and the ornaments from your friends and the ones you've stitched, Shirlee. Everything looks so warm and inviting :) Our tree came down yesterday--I'm working four days straight from Sat.-Tues. and just knew I didn't want to wait until the following weekend to put things away. I still have my little snowman tree up in the kitchen, though--leave it up all of January :)

Kaisievic said...

Lovely ornaments on your tree, Shirlee. I usually leave mine up until the 6th Jan but this year I took it down on Boxing Day as we had DS2's 21st party on the 28th! Thanks for telling us about Candlemas - I have always wondered what that was.
hugs, Kaye

Miaow to Sophie.

Robin at The Primitive Hutch said...

Lovely tree Shirlee!
Sophie looks so cute all curled up.
Happy stitchin'
Prim Blessings

Simply Victoria said...

Your tree with all its ornaments is lovely. We keep our tree up for almost 2 weeks into January. Everybody here just wants to enjoy it for a good long time : )

Catherine said...

Very lovely seeing all of your ornaments on the tree! Have you tried stitching with one thread over two on the 36? I always use one on that count ~ not a fan myself of stitching with anything but one thread.

Anne said...

Hi! I love your tree and such wonderful ornies! I put my tree up on December 1st which already has lights attached. Then on about the 5th I start decorating. I enjoy it so much along with my windows lit up. Then, due to Aunties birthday on January12th I leave It up until then. Also I love to also celebrate Ukrainian Christmas , this year on Tuesday 7th. :)

Chris said...

Your tree is lovely Shirlee!! So many beautiful stitched ornaments.
Sophie looks quite happy. Thanks for all the info on Christmas. I like leaving my decorations up until after the new year.
Great SAL start!

Mii Stitch said...

An other great tree, we always take ours down on the sixth at Epiphany

La Petite Gallery said...

Happy new year wish I could see a red bird, I have so many but no red birds. Wishing the best for you in 2014. yvonne

Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

Beautiful tree with all your lovely ornaments! I would be happy to save one from being a cat toy!

We have a real tree so it goes up the weekend before Christmas and stays up until 6th January. I love the idea of keeping the greenery up until Candlemas. This is the only time of year we don't have cards on display. Small Boy's Birthday cards stay up along with the Easter and Mother's Day cards until my Birthday, then Large Boy and Hubby's cards stay up until Christmas.

Maggee said...

Great ornament tree! That is one of those skinny trees, right? Your floors are always so shiny! Love that! I kept my tree up until the 6th...that is generally when I take it down--for what I grew up calling "Little Christmas" but also the Epiphany. I looked it up too, and found it is called that and celebrated by Irish folks. That makes sense, since I grew up in that environment in SF! I worked for a German/Austrian family a few years back as the Nanny, and they put up the real tree on Christmas Eve, with foil on the floor to catch the candle drippings because they lit REAL candles on it! Yikes! Many traditions! Hugs!