Taking down Christmas decorations is like unpacking your bags after a much anticipated trip.There has been so much build-up, so much anticipation, and like a flash both are gone in seconds. They combine a sense of exhaustion with sadness and regret. I am slowly undressing Chifferobe of all her colorful party clothes and trying to fill the void with live plants and Valentines.

Ask Madame Sarah and she will tell you…

I put up Christmas decorations and planted my Amaryllis bulbs immediately after Halloween. I love Christmas and the way the lights brighten winter shops and homes, and I couldn’t wait to get started. One of my favorite Christmas decorations is live flowering plants. Paper Whites take only a short time to grow and flower, but Amaryllis take months. The giant variety that I order from Holland take even longer, and even though I planted early so they would bloom for Christmas, they are just blooming now. I am grateful that their color can fill the void to a certain extent.

One of my gorgeous Amaryllis flowers in bloom right now.

The holidays flew by faster than ever this year. (Is time moving faster, or am I just getting old?) There is so much going on during the holidays that I really wish we could extend them over several months rather than jamming everything into just one month. Winter with its short days and long cold nights stretches out in front of us like penance after the indulgences of the holidays. Why can’t we extend the holidays at least through Valentine’s Day? We could stretch out the celebrations and concerts and let people slow down and enjoy everything more.

More cashmere sweaters in stock. Great for Valentine’s Day

Ever since I first read Dylan Thomas’s A Child’s Christmas in Wales, I have wanted to have a quiet, simple holiday. I carry the image of young Dylan stringing berries in a warm kitchen while his aunts bake fragrant cakes, and every year I vow to slow down and make handmade gifts for my loved ones in my warm kitchen, but alas, the holidays are gone before I can slow down enough to knit in front of the wood stove. 

I saw some primroses the other day at Ingles. I will get some and keep them around to remind me of the quiet pleasures of winter and the arrival of spring in Western North Carolina.  

Large African baskets and new Freeman Clayworks mugs.