The Idyll–Christmas

A post about The Idyll at Christmas…and for the holiday season.

On Thanksgiving–we shall gather together all and sundry–the alone, the lonely, the poor, the ones needing family and have them for a meal in a home. That way I can justify a big turkey, pies, cake, table settings, multiple stuffings, a vegan entree, red hot jello, multiple cranberry sauces, sweet potatoes, cranberry bread, dozens of wonderful rolls, cornbread, biscuits, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, fruit fluff. We  remember and share the bounty we enjoy, the harvest, the things for which we give thanks, the things which we must share.

After Joseph’s birthday or Thanksgiving–whichever comes later–the decorating commences. The Flamingo House Idyll has a beautiful tall green tree in the curved window nook made just for the observation of the tree in the front sitting room. (ok–the rest of the year there will be a curved window seat) It is be decorated with all the sundry family ornaments. All those ones that mean something to each of us. Every childhood project, every vacation souvenir ornament, every gifted ornament–all of them. The tree slowly rotates so all can shine. There will be room underneath for a child to crawl under and gaze up through the tree lights at all the magic. Multi-color lights, some bubble lights, the angel with the feathered wings at the top. The front sitting room has, of course,  a fireplace for Santa. There stockings hang by the chimney with care.

A candle on a timer (or magically turns on at sundown) will shine from each window of the house. Large green wreaths with red ribbons festoon the front doors. Garland on the banisters and on the mantles.  In the dining room–Elizabeth and my nativity will hold court–though I am tempted to have a special table made for it and for it to go in the foyer or sitting room.

In the music room, a train runs around the tree there. (though maybe the train runs around the family room tree–decorated with wishes and kind words for each and every one in our lives) The Nutcrackers will march down the halls.

In the community center/recreation center–there is an aluminum tree with a spinning spotlight and retro space age Christmas decor throughout.

In the family room, the forest of all the different colored trees decorated by Denise. I suspect the mouse advent calendar hangs on the wall here.

There will be a holiday brunch. It will be my Mama’s classic holiday brunch–open house like. There will be Crock-pot eggs Benedict and seafood Newburg. Shrimp Noodley Stuff, Toast points. Fresh baked goods. Curried fruit. Ambrosia. Christmas Cookies.  Fruitcake and rum balls. Champagne Punch, Coffee, Eggnog (both dry and liquored.), a punch for the children.

There is a fancy holiday ball in the ball room. Fabulous evening wear, caterers passing delicious treats and drinks. A buffet full of beautiful foods–enough for dinner or light snack between dances. Punch. Egg Nog. Coffee.  Candlelight, chandeliers, a bit of mistletoe. A balcony to step out on for some fresh air. Some lovely seats to rest in or chat with others. There will be a band–but not so loud that one can’t converse. Dancing–reels, waltzes, lovely things.

Outside there is a nativity–I am unsure if the figures are ceramic, cement, or wood. Some of the farm animals will join them in the stable.

One magical evening there will be snow–confined to a sledding hill and an area to build a snow man. Twinkle lights through the woods, perhaps a bonfire and hot cocoa nearby. An ice skating rink? Horses drawn carriage rides through the woods.

The dance barn will have a more country Christmas decor. Strings of cranberries and popcorn. Burlap decorations. A tree for the birds. Each outbuilding will call its own decor or not. The buildings tell the occupants how to dress them for the days of darkness to which we bring light.

After Christmas Eve service in the chapel–a simple service with the birth story of all birth stories and much caroling, the family will gather in the sitting room and open their Christmas Eve pajamas from me. Then we will double check that Santa has a Coke and cookie waiting. There will be a locking and if the kids would like–booby trapping of the doors to the sitting room.

The next morning we will gather on the stairs outside the sitting room. Pictures of the children in their pjs. Pictures of the grandchildren in their pajamas. Pictures of all of the above and whoever else is spending the night as part of the Flamingo House Family Christmas in their Christmas nightwear on the stairs.

Outside the sitting room door, there will be a table with a carafe of coffee and a carafe of hot cocoa. I suppose perhaps some hot water if we’ve tea drinkers that year. There will be mugs for each person.

Then the doors will be checked for tampering. Then unlocked. Did Santa come? Yes! But how? Down the chimney of course. Magic. Don’t think too much of the secrets of the Idyll. A bit of glitter. A bit of magic.

I light the fire laid the night before…with the magic salts that change the colors of the flames. Then the stockings will be tackled. The Santa bags gathered from the hearth. They sit there unmolested since no pet can disturb them overnight. The unveiling of the Santa gifts. Then opening each of the other gifts. Homemade gifts from one to another–carefully thought out and decided upon. Meaningful. The quirky gifts. A game. A puzzle. A book for each.

To be continued…


  1. This sounds so amazing. I love that you are documenting this! It seems to be the best sort of Christmas wish.

  2. Oh, wow! I want to spend Christmas at the Idyll! Pick me! Pick me! This: “They sit there unmolested since no pet can disturb them overnight.” This cracks me up!

  3. Of course you can!

  4. I’m reading this while standing in line at the post office and it is making me grin like a loon. 🙂

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