Nanny’s Gingersnaps–Christmas in a Tin

Before there was Lanier, one of my co-conspirators in Christmas was my dad’s mother, whom I called Nanny. Standing at just under five feet, Nanny was a spunky clothes-loving, perfume-wearing, kitchen floor-scrubbing (every single morning!) British Canadian. My dad was her only child, and, being her sole granddaughter, I was the beneficiary of countless games… Continue Reading Nanny’s Gingersnaps–Christmas in a Tin

The Push Me-Pull You of Christmas

It was a long, happy Thanksgiving weekend of traveling over the river and through the woods (and back). The children were home from school in all their chaotic glory, and out came the first hints of real Christmas–not October’s Costco Christmas. But today I am savoring this quiet morning at home. I put my youngest… Continue Reading The Push Me-Pull You of Christmas

Bringing in the Greens

I just love this weekend—it’s so delightfully tangled with the remnants of Thanksgiving and the beginnings of Advent. Gratitude, tradition, anticipation and longing all have their place in these shifting days wherein pumpkins and Christmas trees meet each other in passing and late autumn dusk gives way to twinkle lights. We celebrated Ivester Thanksgiving on… Continue Reading Bringing in the Greens

An Advent Prayer

Every year on the first Sunday in Advent I pull a tattered scrap of paper from last year’s Christmas folder and tape it between my kitchen windows–the one place in all the house where I know I will see something every single day. Perhaps eventually I’ll get around to having this prayer made into a… Continue Reading An Advent Prayer

In Readiness

We won’t bring our tree home until Sunday–an excursion in which our Australian shepherd, Bonnie, is an invaluable member, and which generally includes the once-a-year fuel-up at Waffle House (followed by a gingerbread latte from Starbucks for me). But that doesn’t mean that the holiday spirit isn’t already stirring in Ruff House. I’ve been bustling… Continue Reading In Readiness

Early Hunting and Gathering

It’s black Friday, which for my family means DO NOT LEAVE THE HOUSE, except for long walks in the woods or to gather winterberries from my mother’s garden. But for all my railing against Christmas commercialism, I have to confess: For the last few weeks, I’ve been quietly adding to my holiday stores, like a… Continue Reading Early Hunting and Gathering

A Cup of Cheer, Craft-Style

Last Christmas, my baby brother, a Kentuckian, started a tradition of contributing craft cocktails to family holiday gatherings. We’re holding him to it–until the end of time. This Thanksgiving, we huddled pre-meal as Brian poured mysterious liquids into my grandparents’ art deco shaker, and Jenni, his wife, carefully curled orange rinds. Concocting a twist on… Continue Reading A Cup of Cheer, Craft-Style

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas (in November)

“We all know that Christmas is a big commercial racket. It’s run by a big Eastern syndicate, you know.” ~ Lucy Van Pelt, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” As autumn leaves give way to bare branches, here’s the question burning in brains: When is it legit to start listening to Christmas music? I’m no expert, but… Continue Reading It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas (in November)

Dear Laura – November 21, 2016

Dear Laura, It’s 4:20 on Monday afternoon, and I’ve got a day’s worth of housework behind me. I’ve been looking at every task with new eyes: I didn’t just give the fridge its cursory weekly purge—I took everything out and wiped down the shelves. Then I cleaned out the pantry, and the freezers upstairs and… Continue Reading Dear Laura – November 21, 2016

Meet Laura

I met Laura Boggs when Philip and I were engaged. Our husbands’ parents have been friends since before either of them were born, and, in marrying Philip, I quickly realized something rare and important and very beautiful: I hadn’t just become an Ivester—I’d been ushered into the warm, lively, committed circle of the Boggs family,… Continue Reading Meet Laura

Meet Lanier

Lanier Ivester and I have been friends for fifteen years, but our kinship predates our knowing each other. We both spent girlhood Christmases, hers in the South and mine in Connecticut, tying red ribbons on anything or anyone that would hold still for long enough. We both urged our mothers on in baking and hosting… Continue Reading Meet Lanier

About This Website

“Friendship… is born at the hour when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself…” ~ C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves For the last decade, Lanier and I have hashed out how to do Christmas over countless cups of tea, phone calls, emails, and hundreds of text messages.… Continue Reading About This Website