14 December, 2011

The Duchess Celebrates . . .

It's somewhat challenging to get into the Christmas (holiday) spirit when the tree is not festively lighted and trimmed, let alone en casa.  This year, instead of taking the time to visit one of the many local Christmas tree "patches," so to speak, we are chancing it with a fresh Fraser fir (say that three times, and fast) tree shipped directly from the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Not very green, and not something we'll be doing again.  Next year, the Duchess insists that we will invest in one of the fantastic faux Christmas trees that abound, which we shall store and reuse year after year.  Suzanne Kasler designed some gorgeous ones for Ballard Designs.

Soon-to-be our Blue Ridge tree

Divine design from Suzanne Kasler, through Ballard

Of course, when we finally get the damn thing, then we have to decorate it.  The Duchess suffers already from quaking fears of inadequacy:  Her tree will never measure up to the stunning creation of designer Benjamin Bradley, whose tree annually boasts over 2,000 ornaments, many of which are antique.  Visit New York Social Diary to see a complete tour of his apartment, decorated to the absolute hilt for Christmas.  It's inspirational, and makes the Duchess just want to swing by for some cider or glogg. 

Photograph by Jeffrey Hirsch

It's also somewhat challenging to focus on the Christmas tradition of gift giving when there is so much financial inequity confronting us.  It's all fine and good for the Duchess to go gaga over a little Prada clutch every now and again--but let's be honest, as with most "eye candy" there is a lot of look-but-don't-touch going on, for the  Duchess and everyone else.  Times are hard, you're afraid to pay the fee (with apologies to Donald Fagen)--and you don't have to this year.  Focus on friends, family and other loved ones.  Start spring cleaning a few months early, and take your probably very precious cast-offs to your local charity--someone will appreciate them more than you do.  Drop off a meal for delivery at your church, or load up the kids in the car and drop off the meals yourselves.  There are small ways to contribute that take up very little time.  The Duchess is looking for more suggestions! 

Come back soon for posting on affordable, homemade holiday gifts. 

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