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Our Christmas Decorations 2006

Press here for Thanksgiving 2007

Press here for Christmas 2007

I take pictures of our decorations every year so that the following year I can use the photos to facilitate the decorating process. Having taken these for my own use, I decided to create a page for our friends and family who couldn’t join us this year. After 4 years of ‘practice’ this is the first year I’ve really liked what we’ve done. I hope you like them, too. However, if you see anything we could improve, please let me know!

Although we both love real greenery, we leave the decorations up for such a long time (over a month) that the real stuff dries out and makes an incredible mess so, this year, the only real greenery we had was the tree. The rest was either pre-lit garlands, which we augmented to match our color scheme, or faux greenery from Hobby Lobby and Joann Fabrics combined with glass balls and faux berries.


The tree on the curb is wrapped with red lights and there are white lights in the branches. All the trees in our development are decorated this way which looks wonderful at night. I am still trying to get a picture of that but my camera doesn’t have a time-lapse setting.

The day after we got the outside decorations up, we had our first (and only) snow of the season. We love snow and wish we got more of it.

Birds in the tree the following morning (Look at the one in the center – it’s yawning!):

The retention pond behind the house, seen through the sliding door in the family room:

The view of Naper Blvd:

Goosepoop Pond:

The reason we call it Goosepoop Pond:

The snow was gone in a week and here’s how the house looked for the rest of the season. Notice the Santa hat on the mailbox (we have now painted the mailbox and straightened it up).

There are swags over each bay window, decorated with bows, poinsettias, and berries, a wreath over the garage, miniature trees by the door and bows under each light. All the greenery is lighted but I couldn’t get a good nighttime shot and the lights aren’t visible during the day:

The swags on the windows are visible from the inside and mirror the swags on the side windows.

Next year, we’ll put multicolored lights on the small trees by the front door:


I have a large collection of nutcrackers which make their appearance at this time of year.
Three of them greet visitors immediately inside the front door. I love the way they are so similar yet every one is different!

The majority of the collection is displayed on the stairs in the foyer, in-between the living and dining rooms.

It was really hard to capture them all in one shot so there are several, taken from all different angles.

Standing directly in front of them

I was looking for suggestions on how to wrap the banister with lights without having it look so messy;
Press here to see how the banister looked for Christmas 2007

From the side:

This is the best shot of the bigger ones. From the bottom up, they are red king, nature king, Prussian, Tyrolean, night watchman, Russian, Hussar, musketeer, drummer, hunter, Herr Drosselmeyer, red soldier, nature soldier. The tall skinny ones inside the curled part of the banister are called pencil nutcrackers.

Close-ups of the smaller ones:

Our overall color theme is leopard, turquoise, and red. It’s reflected here in the bows on the railing:

When you enter the house, the living room is to your left. This is where we put the tree, in front of the bay windows so it would be visible from the street.
KC’s train (a gift from his father) is around the base of the tree. It goes forwards, backwards, whistles, and blows smoke!

The view of the living room from the foyer:

Depending on the room, gold, silver or copper is used in addition to the turquoise and red.
In the living room, I used gold/brass.

This year we got a concolar fir which has longish leaves and a wonderful orange scent. KC hated that tree, he thought the branches were too “wimpy” and said it oozed sap (I didn’t see any difference in the strength of the branches and had no sap on ME). When we took the tree down, however, and he realized that even after a month it STILL had all its needles and there was no sap on the ornaments, he agreed that it WAS a pretty cool tree! The shape was perfect, too – tall and thin – so we will be getting a concolar fir next year as well.
Excluding the turquoise and red glass balls, every ornament on the tree is different, the result of 20+ years of collecting. We try to get an ornament wherever we go.

Although it doesn’t show in the photo, the tree is loaded with ornaments.
Here are some of my favorites:

This one is hand made and only 1.5 inches high!

The tree skirt is handmade one-of-a-kind with extensive embroidery, 3-D ribonwork, and beading.

The windows on either side of the tree are hung with gold lame swags:

On either side of the tree are the speakers for the stereo. Next to these, on the right, are the stereo components. On top of these are two more nutcrackers (a drummer and the composer Richard Wagner) and a small bug orchestra I picked up in Germany.

The lights that flank the sofa are decorated with bows and a pair of skier ornaments:

On the coffee table is a sleigh filled with tiny presents and pulled by a hand carved moose we picked up at the Christkindle Markt they hold in downtown Chicago every year:

He has the funniest expression on his face!

On the small table next to the sofa is an arrangement of rose candles, magnolia leaves, feathers, and glass balls:

On the wall flanking the French doors which lead to the family room is another collection, part of our 1500+ music CDs, everything from opera to hard rock. We also have music from every country whose food we serve and try and buy a CD in every country we visit:

More nutcrackers, the clowns:

A Radco nutcracker candle (which will never be burned!):

The bow on this side of the swag over the French doors leading to the family room:

The family room:

In this room, the leopard print was replaced with giraffe.
The photos were taken on two different days, one of which was very sunny, and you can see what a difference the weather makes on the ambiance in the room.

The musicians on the mantle:

The nutcracker cloth on the coffee table:

The chimney sweep nutcrackers that flank the fireplace:

The book cases on either side of the fireplace with more nutcrackers:

The view from the kitchen:

And the swag over the sliding glass doors leading to the patio.

The bow on this swag is made from ribbon that says Merry Christmas in several languages:

The movie tree, with Hallmark ornaments from the Star Wars, Star Trek, and LOTR movies:

The view from the window/sliding glass door:

Close up view of our collection of masks.

The American Indian nutcracker:

Close-ups of the decorations on either side of the chest:

The view of the wall behind the sofas:

On this wall is another collection, our colored cocktail glasses, and two more nutcrackers, a Viking and a Russian nesting set:

Balthazar (nutcracker):

The latest additions to our glass collection, KC’s xmas gift from his mother (the four glasses in the front; the ones at the back we’ve had for a while):

Our favorite snack, pistachios:

A partridge in a “pear” tree:

If this page is too long for your computer and you cannot see the rest of the pictures
Press here to go Part 2 of 2006

On the other side of the foyer is the dining room.
This room is decorated mostly in copper and turquoise:

From L to R: KC and I on his 40th birthday, KC’s graduation, my father (RAF spitfire pilot)

From L to R: KC and his sister, my mother

A view of the dining room and foyer from the kitchen.
In this shot you can see the outside swag visible through the center window and the ones on either side of it, inside:

The basket on the table is made from a huge burl! I found it at the local pow-wow.
The bow on the basket is the same red and gold ribbon used on all the outside decorations. The basket is filled with copper and turquoise balls which reflect the spotlight from the fixture above them.
Press here to see the new light fixture in the dining room

Notice the balls nested in the Spanish moss?

A Santa Fairy with 3 French Hens:

The windows in the dining room also have gold swags over them:

On the wall next to the stairs are some more nutcrackers, a musketeer and a woodchopper:

The next group of pictures shows how the house looked when all the Christmas lights were on.
The effect of so many tiny lights was magical, like a house full of candles!

The kitchen in this house needs to be redone but we can’t afford it yet so we’re making do with what’s there. The colors – mint-green walls and mauve counters – meant we couldn’t carry the red/turquoise theme in there so we went with burgundy, gold, and ivory.
We didn’t have any Christmas lights in the kitchen, so the pictures will seem harsh by comparison.

The window over the sink:

One of our collection of funny hats:

In this shot you see some of my cookbook collection:

Here are some more of them:

And more… (this is not all – I don’t have pix of the rest):

In the shot above, there are some more nutcrackers (the cooks), and part of another collection, my tableware.
Here are close-ups of the nutcrackers:

Here are some more shots of the tableware collection. The rack is from a restaurant-supply store, steel that can hold 500 pounds per shelf. Everything is stored in plastic to protect it from dust as there was nowhere inside the house to put this monster.

I’ve been cooking since I was 12 and collecting dishes since I was 16….I’ll be 50 next month so this is over 30 years worth of collecting!

We have a large picnic table in the kitchen so that the inevitable crowd that gathers in there will have a place to sit, out of the cook’s way. Although it’s a bit too red, this tablecloth did bring the leopard theme into the room!

The light fixture over this table (and a very dry ‘real’ wreath on the door):

Another collection, my spices. Each basket has three rows – two in the back and one in front.

On the door to the basement (off the kitchen) is a grapevine wreath with burgundy grape clusters:

Off the kitchen is the powder room, also green and mauve, so we continued the burgundy theme in there.

A nutcracker hand towel!

All the bathrooms had a stocking on the door to help our guests find them.
Here is the one on the powder room door:

At the top of the stairs is another bathroom that is frequently used by guests. It, too, is mauve but with yellow walls (also waiting to be redone).

Leah Bathroom:

The upstairs landing:

One more nutcracker:

Another room in need of a paintjob, the Master Suite. It, and the attached bath, will soon be antique white and the pictures will be purposefully hung (at the moment, they’re on the nails that were already there). I ran out of time and didn’t get the red bows onto the bed posts so imagine that they’re there:

A close up of the lights on the plant and KC’s graduation portrait. My girlfriend thinks his uniform looks like the typical nutcracker…I wonder if that’s why I like them so much. Unfortunately, I don’t have one with a blue jacket, or I’d display it under this portrait.

A close-up of the one I did display there. At least the sword and hat are accurate….

On the wall on the other side of the bed are some more nutcrackers, the knights.

Here is a shot of the wall opposite the foot of the bed with a glimpse of the master bath:

In this picture you can see the stocking on the door to the commode.

And here is the only decorating I did in the master bath, in-between the two sinks:

Press here to see the newly decorated master suite!

Here are some quick shots of the nutcrackers in the basement:

These two are hand carved:

Some of the HB (hoffbrau) nutcrackers in the bar.
The one of the left is hand carved:

My biggest one – he’s almost as tall as the TV table next to him!:

On either side of the guestroom bed:

And the two bathrooms in the basement:

Not exactly a great note to end on, the WC. But, that’s all I have photos of at the moment. There are a few more nutcrackers in KC’s office and several that I didn’t display this year. If I can get shots of them before I put all the decorations away, I’ll add them.

One more look at my favorite room in the house:

The menu for candlelight dinner
December 22, 2006

Pomegranate martinis
(locally brewed) North Shore Vodka

Jicama and radish with 4 gourmet salt dips (pink, red, brown, black)
Shrimp with basil-lime marinade on cucumber with alalea salt garnish
Chocolate toasts with walnut oil and smoked salt garnish
Steak tartare with pickled papaya
2001 Palliser Estate Sauvignon Blanc
2002 Kurt Hain Piesporter Goldtropfchen
2002 Domaine Parent Pinot Noir

Cream of walnut soup

Quail egg ravioli with mixed greens

Coddled pork shoulder
Tuscan beans
Sautéed arugula with garlic and pancetta
Potato galette with wild mushrooms
1995 Cigluiti Seraboella Barbera d’Alba

Grapefruit sorbet
Buche de noel with meringue mushrooms
Coffee mit schlag

The menu for Halley-Jen Christmas Eve dinner
December 24, 2006

Pomegranate margaritas

Marinated olives and mixed nuts

Boiled shrimp on ice
Lemon-habanero mayonnaise
Kunz ketjap

Tomato bisque

Sweet potato ravioli with sage cream sauce

Coriander and garlic pork tenderloins
Risotto with canellini beans and tomatoes
Buttered peas

Buche de noel with meringue mushrooms
Chocolate fountain
with persimmon, kiwi, apple, marshmallow and cream cheese cake dippers
Coffee mit schlag


Thanks for looking! I’ll be adding links to the recipes later.

Thanksgiving 2007

Christmas 2007

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OOAKFolk, Inc., and artist Barbara Healy are not affiliated in any way with the original manufacturers of the dolls pictured in this site. No photograph, text or graphic on this site may be copied without written permission from Barbara Healy. Copyright © 2004 OOAKFolk, Inc.

Last Revised: Jan 11, 2008
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