Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Christmas Decorating – Henniker house style

This is our 10th Christmas at Henniker House and we’re settling into our own style.  Some of you know we bought an operating B&B and its contents.  It took us months to sort through all the stuff, decide what to keep and what to move on.  The guys at the transfer station were our first and best friends in town.

The previous owner had several fake trees up in the attic.  We don’t know if she put them all up or if the collection resulted from the search for a perfect fake.  The tops of two served as outdoor decorations until last year when the elements took their toll.  Phil is currently fashioning planters for two real trees we got at Forster’s ( ) to adorn the front porch.  We hang garlands on the porch rails with purple bows to accent the trim on the house.  And there’s purple in the ski chair.

In addition to the fake trees, we also found boxes of decorations up in the attic.  Some decorations seemed to be color coordinated – perhaps an attempt at something like this.

All this was beyond me.  Trees were a bit of a mystery; real vs. fake, lights, tinsel and ornaments as cat toys – grrr!  For my adult life before innkeeping, I was the visiting Aunt who arrived at my siblings’ houses, bringing presents and getting their children high on sugar and Santa.  Even though I didn't put up a tree, I collected ornaments.  Now I decorate the tree with memories.

My mother was crafty and spoiled her cats.  From the mid 1980’s to the early 2000’s, she fed her cats enough Fancy Feast to redeem labels for the collector’s edition ornaments for her children.  

One year she asked us to save wine corks for a craft project.  She was a bit surprised how many we generated.  Now my cork reindeer is missing an eye but he makes me smile.
missing eye turned toward tree!
Note Bruce the Moose - another of Mom's creations

While working in Europe, I visited a Christmas market in Koln Germany.  When I hang the carved wood ornaments I bought there, I can almost taste the hot cider from that cold evening.  Chicago has a German style market ( where I found a wooden skier to celebrate the real live skier here in New Hampshire.

There are two canoes I hang on the tree.  One is a felt canoe from the year we went to see the Christmas Revels tell the French Canadian story of a flying canoe – wild dancing and kitchen music!  What a wonderful birthday celebration for me.  The other is a little red canoe that makes me think of summers at my grandmother’s cottage in Muskoka Ontario.

There are two porcelain roses from Lucy who manned reception and served as surrogate mother to many. When Lucy passed away the daughter she gave birth to called to let us know, and Lucy’s GE daughters filled a row at church.  I made some good friends at GE and had the pleasure of seeing several this year.

There are a couple of things that go on the tree that others might have put in the trash.  One is a wire basket from a bottle of champagne that my niece Alison bought because she drinks the good stuff.  My niece Jess’ creative gift tags that look like art to me so up they went!  The angel on top was made out of a toilet paper roll, a paper doily and an aluminum foil ball for a head.  Phil’s daughter Jenna was 5 when she made that and I think it has its own special beauty.  

Besides the tree, there are stockings hung on a bookcase (no fireplace mantle here) and the Victorian village set up in the Bear room.  Most of the buildings were up in the attic when we arrived but my sister Jane gave us a house that looks a lot like Henniker House and I found Phil’s Diner at Edmund’s, here in town, to complete the scene.  This year I added Santa and reindeer from Mom’s attic to the village.  We should all have reindeer on the roof.

So there you have it – Christmas decorating Henniker House style. 

You now know a little more about the people who host you here than if we put up something like this

If you too hang memories on your tree, you’ll feel right at home at Henniker House.  Come visit during the holidays or anytime. 

Wishing you a very happy season surrounded by people you love.

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