Tag Archives: Christmas Tree

A Last Hurrah for the Christmas Tree

By Vladimir Brezina

Christmas tree lit

Yes, we’re late, as usual.

According to Wikipedia,

Both setting up and taking down a Christmas tree are associated with specific dates. Traditionally, Christmas trees were not brought in and decorated until Christmas Eve (24 December) or, in the traditions celebrating Christmas Eve rather than the first day of Christmas, 23 December, and then removed the day after Twelfth Night (5 January); to have a tree up before or after these dates was even considered bad luck.

We did manage to get our Christmas tree decorated in time for Christmas, albeit at the last possible moment. However, we missed the 6th January date for taking it down—but only by a few days, so we hope the bad luck will let us off this year with just a warning. We lit the tree for the last time a couple of days ago—

Click on any photo to start slideshow:

Happy New Year!

By Vladimir Brezina and Johna Till Johnson

Happy New Year!

We wish all the best in 2016 to all our readers!

Farewell Christmas Tree

By Vladimir Brezina
Photos by Daniel Kalman

A couple of days ago, we lit the candles on our Christmas tree for the last time before taking the tree down…

Farewell Christmas tree 1
Farewell Christmas tree 2
Farewell Christmas tree 3

These photos were taken by our friend Dan, who was visiting us for a few days.

Christmas, 2014

By Johna Till Johnson
Photos by Vladimir Brezina and Johna Till Johnson

Our 2014 Christmas treeMaybe it’s because we spent last Christmas on the waters of the Florida Everglades. Or maybe it’s because this year has held more than the usual vicissitudes. For whatever reason, this year we found ourselves focused intently on the traditional trappings and rituals: A live tree, with real candles. A wreath, with ribbons and a bell. Roast goose, mashed potatoes, and cabbage. Christmas carols.

And they were wonderful: As the sun set on Christmas Eve, the apartment filled with the scent of roasting goose (overpowering the fresh fragrance of pine). Dinner that night was magical, with light glittering everywhere, and the sound of Christmas carols on the air.

Johna's favorite ornamentChristmas Day, we slept late, then spent a splendid several hours opening gifts. Okay, more like a few minutes doing the actual opening—but since most of the gifts were books (and most of the remainder was food), we spent a lazy afternoon listening to music, reading, and nibbling cookies. On Boxing Day, we did the official tree-candle lighting (complete with obligatory stand-by bucket of water and fire extinguisher).

All the trappings were there, and the rituals were most satisfactorily observed.  But even more than the trappings and decorations, what resonated most with us was the meaning of Christmas: light in darkness, hope for better times to come.

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Merry Christmas!

By Vladimir Brezina and Johna Till Johnson

Merry Christmas!(Johna enjoying our traditional Christmas Eve dinner of roast goose, red cabbage, and mashed potatoes…)

Merry Christmas to all our readers!!

Christmas Twinkle

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is Twinkle.

And, at this time of the year, there’s no other possible response than this—

Christmas tree lit. 2011Christmas twinkle, 2012Christmas twinkle, 2012

More twinkling photos from Christmas 2011 and Christmas 2012 are here and here.

Christmas dinner 2013 in the Florida Everglades

And, so as not to get bored with twinkling lights year after year, this for a change was Christmas 2013—




We are working on Christmas 2014. Stay tuned!

Travel Theme: Fragrant

By Vladimir Brezina

Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge this week is Fragrant.

It’s not even Thanksgiving, but the first Christmas decorations have already made their appearance in NYC store windows, so it’s not too early for this post…

No plastic Christmas trees for us. We always have a real tree. Plastic trees can look pretty, but lack an essential element of Christmas—the fragrance of a real tree, especially when that fragrance is released by the heat of real candles…

DSC_0018 cropped small

More photos from Christmas 2011 are here, and from Christmas 2012 here. Looking forward to Christmas 2013!