Friday, December 01, 2023

Hello December: Full Steam Ahead to Christmas

"May you treasure wisely this jeweled, gilded time
And cherish each day as an extra grace."

Hello December! We've been waiting for you. On this first day of my favourite month of the year, it's full steam ahead to Christmas. My seasonal books are at the ready, cards are waiting to be written, and the decorating is slowly happening.

There's no snow around here yet. Without it, there is nothing to trigger that wintry feeling—it still feels like late autumn. Unseasonably warm, I'm still wearing a light jacket and no gloves. It's lovely getting around, but for sparking the Christmas mood, snow really is a must to make us feel the tingles and excitement. Of course chocolate peppermint tea helps too.

On a different note, I mentioned a couple of posts ago that I have been feeling unwell. November was not a great month. I'm still under doctor's care and starting to find my way out of the dizzy malaise. I think, fingers crossed and prayers whispered along with the start of a new medication, there are definite hints for better days ahead. I'm so glad. Who wants to feel unwell when Christmas is upon us. This weekend I want to put up my pencil tree with its cozy twinkle lights. Little decorations are showing up around the place; candles and fairy lights help make the evenings cozy.

It's been a busy week, so for today I'm posting three for the usual Five on Friday. 

One - Books for the Season

I've already been dipping into a few of my seasonal books. I wasn't going to start my actual Christmas reads until December 1st but they were so tempting sitting there on the shelf. They are perfect, like chocolate truffles, for nibbling on while cozied up with a favourite beverage. I like anthologies and small collections for that reason.
Christmas in the Heart compiled by Joe Wheeler is a small collection of short seasonal stories sure to warm the heart. It's great for dipping in and reading whatever catches your eye.

Rumpole at Christmas by John Mortimer. Seven amusing tales of how Horace and Hilda Rumpole celebrate the holiday season.

An Irish Country Yuletide novella by Patrick Taylor. If you enjoy the Irish Country Doctor series, you will enjoy this new seasonal glimpse of Irish country life in Ballybuckleboo and how the good Doctor Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly, now married to Kitty, celebrates the holidays. 

Christmas Classics from The Modern Library, an old library sale purchase, includes excerpts from novels like Little Women and A Christmas Carol, a few short stories like The Blue Carbuncle, and poetry by well-known poets like Clement Clarke Moore. A lovely selection of songs and carols, along with the old familiar story from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, round out the book.
Star Over Bethlehem, Poems and Holiday Stories
by Agatha Christie
The Christmas Journey (novella set in mid-1800s at Christmas)
by Anne Perry
Murder Most Royal (the Queen solves another mystery)
by SJ Bennett

Also lined up on the book shelf waiting their turn include these books:
A Christmas Memory
by Truman Capote

Christmas Poems
by Wendy Cope

A Mind of Winter, Poems for a Snowy Season
selected by Robert Atwan

Haphazard by Starlight, A poem a day from Advent to Epiphany
by Janet Morley

Winter Solstice (an annual favourite)
by Rosamunde Pilcher

Little Women
by Louise May Alcott

Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good (the story is a lovely run up to Christmas)
by Jan Karon
Shepherds Abiding
by Jan Karon
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
by C.S. Lewis

Once Upon A Wardrobe (a novel related to C.S. Lewis's beloved classic)
by Patti Callahan

The Christmas Chronicles, Notes, stories & 100 essential recipes for midwinter
by Nigel Slater

Christmas from the Heart of the Home (recipes and other seasonal tips and ideas)
by Susan Branch

Home for Christmas (her tiny memoir)
by Susan Branch

Christmas Treasury (a treasure trove of children's stories and wonderful illustrations)
by Jan Brett

One book I ordered for Christmas that I'm waiting to get is the illustrated poem by Robert Frost Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. Shhh, this is for my brother-in-law. As long as I've known him he has enjoyed quoting this old poem, one he memorized as a boy in school. The book, a beautiful keepsake edition, is illustrated by the award-winning P.J. Lynch and celebrates the poem's centennial. It looks gorgeous - you can take a peek HERE.

Two - Christmas Cards

One of my favourite things is writing out Christmas cards and notes at this time of year. I love to go in search for the cards I'll use each year, including the tiny tuck-ins to pop inside the envelopes. I'll be starting those this week.

Three - Christmas Tree Pillow

Nothing ever seems too bad, too hard, or too sad when
you've got a Christmas tree in the living room."

I came around the corner and there sat this cute pillow in a shop I was visiting. I knew I had to get one, no-no, I had to get two. In my mind, I knew my mom, who said she didn't want to decorate a tree this year, would love this. It's already decked out with sweet red cardinals - no assembling required.

Bonus - A Seasonal Quote

"So quiet and subtle is the beauty of December that escapes the
notice of many people their whole lives through. Colour gives
way to form: every branch distinct, in a delicate tracery against
the sky. New vistas, obscured all Summer by leafage, now open up."

Wishing you a merry and beautiful week ahead,

Photo credits:
(Top)Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay
(Middle - books, cards, pillow) Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life
(Bottom) Image by Peggy Choucair from Pixabay


  1. So beautiful again! Brenda, you are a master at finding profound and precious quotes! And your reading list is dreamy<3 Thank-you for your health update. I've been wondering but didn't want to ask! Praying your new meds help!

    1. Thank you, Janet, for your lovely note. Appreciate your concern. I am seeing improvement and most thankful for it.

  2. Welcome to December! I'm so glad you are finding some relief from your health problems. Who wants to feel unwell at Christmas, indeed? Praying that you will continue to improve. I'm pulling my books and beginning to add a few decorations, too - just posted about it on my blog. No snow here, either, but that's not so unusual. I always hope for some.

    1. I meant to start December slowly with some decorating and writing out my cards, but already it's December 6th, almost the first week gone. The tree is up and I hope to start my Christmas cards today. Thank you for your prayers on my behalf - I'm starting to feel better and for that I'm most grateful.

  3. It is like a breath of fresh air to read your blog post! What wonderful reading recommendations! I hope your health will continue to improve. We’re taking it slow with decorating, too, but making good progress anyway. Sending you the very best of wishes for a merry December!

    1. Lovely to hear from you, Nellie, and thanks for your kind comments. We are continuing to feel better as time goes by, and for that I'm most grateful. Hope your December is unfolding merrily for you.

  4. What a lovely post in every way!. Love all the quotes, put several books you mentioned on hold at the library, and the Christmas tree pillows are so beautiful - unlike anything I've seen before. Blessings. . .

    1. Thanks, Vickie, for your lovely comment. I hope you enjoy the books you put on hold at the library. Thank goodness for our public libraries.

  5. Thanks for the list of books! Many of which I already own and can reread! I love that tree pillow. I’ll have to see f I can find one for a dear friend who adores cardinals!

    I’m glad your on the mend!

    1. I found that pillow at a shop called QE Home. They have a website - Perhaps you might find the pillow somewhere. Thanks, Deanna, for stopping by.

  6. Oh sorry that was me, Deanna Rabe in the comment above!

  7. It’s morning here so “Good Morning” dear Brenda! Thank you for your beautiful post!! I agree with Nellie, your postings do ALWAYS feel like a breath of fresh air.” They being such a “quiet joy!” Thank you.
    I am sorry to hear that you are still having to “feel” these medical concerns.😔 Let’s hope that the new meds kick in and help!! I will definitely be lifting you up in prayer! You are SO full of “a Christmas spirit” all year long. I want you to feel better , especially now!!
    Thank you for the book suggestions! It was fun to see many of the authors and books that I appreciate in your collection. Yesterday I read a tiny Christmas book written by former President Jimmy Carter. He described his many Christmases from a young boy to his years as President. Short vingettes that that spoke to “race” as his best little friends were black and lived without much. He also talked about meeting Rosalyn . It was a sweet recollection . I already loaned it to a friend but the title might be something like” In the Early Morning??”😂
    The pillow is BEAUTIFUL! Your Mom will LOVE it and she can enjoy that “she has a tree!” Some things do seem to just SHOUT out and say “I want to be yours!!!!”🤗
    We have our tree up which is early for us and we are doing it in stages this year .~ 1st the picking out and putting in a stand, the next day lights and they all worked!!
    Today we have some friends dropping by prior to a Christmas concert of Bach, bells and children’s choirs and I just might put the box of ornaments out and see if anyone wants to help “dress the tree!”
    Your thoughts, poems and photos do bless our days. I SO look forward to see if you have posted. Please! Take VERY good care of yourself. I SO hope that you will be feeling better, praying that you have very good docs who are guiding you!!
    Love to you Brenda!! ~ Ann( from Ohio)🎄💗🙏

    1. Hello Ann, Your comments always bring smiles to my face. Thank you so much for your encouragement and lovely thoughts. And yes, my mom did like the tree pillow - I think she found the perfect spot in her living room of where to perch it to best effect.

  8. All of those books look interesting and Christmas-cozy. And I've got the Robert Frost picture book on my to-get list now. I LOVE picture books, and I love that poem.

    We haven't sent out Christmas cards for years now ... we seemed to get fewer and fewer every year and so I started thinking people didn't really appreciate them anymore, but what was I thinking? I still love getting cards, why wouldn't others as well?

    That pillow is lovely. And thank you for the Flora Thompson quote, I hadn't seen that one before. It's going straight into my quote book.

    This has been a lovely start to December, thanks so much for the cozy visit.

    1. The Robert Frost book arrived - it really is a lovely book with that delightful old poem. Thanks, Joy, for your lovely note.

  9. i am sorry that your dizziness has lingered. I'm certain that it has worn out its welcome. Just this morning a friend (who has also been under the weather) said this: How much we take for granted when everything in our bodies is working well. I hope that you are soon feeling back to normal . . . in time to enjoy all the joys of the season. I like your little tree pillow and I feel like that could be a cheerful substitute with much less effort!

    1. Thank you, Cheryl, for your good wishes. Definitely hoping for better days ahead. Mom really liked the little tree pillow - and as you say, it's a cheerful substitute with much less effort.

  10. I'm so sorry this dizziness has been a problem, Brenda. I remember my mother struggling with a form of it that called for daily medication. Hers was eventually controlled but I remember how unsettling it was for her daily life until the right treatment began. Your post is beautiful and naturally your Christmas book post called my name especially. I have many of those titles myself. I do have Jan Karon's books and always reread Shepherds Abiding in December but had forgotten that Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good was a Christmas theme but do remember that it was one of my favorite of her books, as is Winter Solstice of Pilcher's. I haven't read Patrick Taylor's Yuletide edition but the main one is a reread every couple of years. This year, with my eyesight worsening some, I'm listening to it on my Libby app, the various voices of the villagers delighting me, and Kitty just beginning to come back into the doctor's life. I'm again making a note to find Murder Most Royal after seeing it here and at Lorrie's blog, sure that I will love it. Your other mentions on this post are ever so lovely too. I enjoyed it all thoroughly but now I must get up and finish cooking breakfast. We've been distracted by local news this morning after tornadoes swept through Nashville last night, us in a corridor between two paths where they touched down, safe and sound but others not so lucky. It seems especially hard for those affected this close to Christmas. My best to you, Brenda.


To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xo