Sunday, December 11, 2011


The living room Christmas tree full of crystals

Last night I attended the first to two Christmas parties, my friend, John Baker, hosts every year.  Part of the fun of going to John's house is to be awed at the perfection and the time he puts into decorating his trees.  Yes, I said trees.  This year there were four.  I'm posting three of them and will finish the job next week at his next party.  

One tree is in the living room, and it is a shimmering wonder.  My camera won't do it justice.  There are hundreds of crystal ornaments from Tiffany's, Steuben, Swarovski, and many others in various shapes from snowflakes to round gumdrops with beveled edges.  Some of the crystals are opaque glass and some are colored, but most of them are clear crystal and the effect is dazzling.  

John buys all his trees at a farm, prunes them so they can hold lots of lights and ornaments, and it's a week-long effort.  The branches are carefully wrapped in lights.  He's got their watering down to a science. Some guys have elaborate toy trains with whole towns which they set up every Christmas.  John does trees.  

John's TV room tree laden with wooden ornaments

The TV room shows off John's huge collection of wooden ornaments, many of them hand-carved. He has even travelled to Germany to buy for his collection.  

The breakfast room tree, which is a repository of many different Christmas ornaments John has collected or been given by friends over the years.  More details below. 

I wish my camera could do justice to the details of these brilliant holiday creations. In the upper center of this picture is the tail end of a large, shiny fish with red and orange. 

Here's a large balloon hanging near the bottom of the tree. 

Here's a martini glass with an olive, a reminder of boozier days of Christmases past.

Reading a book in a comfy chair, this little guy appeals to the publishing side of me.

Isn't she lovely?--a rhino in a pink tutu.

This very old ornament goes back to John parents.  The detail is remarkable and it's holding up very well for its age. 

John's buffet table is always beautiful.  He trims his chandelier with beautiful hanging ornaments that look like colored icicles.  And the colored glass ornaments that show off his food enhance the display. 

John knows his way around party food.  There are lots of shrimp, a baked spiral ham with rolls, tiny stuffed potatoes, endive spears with smoked salmon and cream cheese, deviled eggs (anchovy this year), various cheeses, tiny stuffed beets, chicken salad finger sandwiches--all of which soak up alcohol beautifully.

While John knows how to prepare really great party food, he doesn't cook for himself during the week, which is a good thing. Because he clears his kitchen counters off and decorates with his various creches and small houses, all festooned with sprays of pine branches recycled from his tree trimmings.  

I'll take more pictures next week at his second gathering, including his bedroom tree--a first this year.  After that next bash, I expect John will take to his bed and start planning next year's effort.  

In closing, I have the nerve to offer you a photo of my tree. It's fake (as if you couldn't guess), comes already adorned with its own lights. I just keep hanging stuff on it till there's no more room.  Takes about and hour and a half.  

Pathetic, huh?  Happy Holidays!

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