‘Twas The Nyquil Before Christmas…


Slim Paley photo

The ornaments were waiting patiently…


Slim Paley photo

The orange slices dried and threaded…



Slim Paley photo

…The lights almost strung

But the Angel…that damn Angel…

.Slim Paley photo

…still grounded.

and somewhere along the way my beloved  Christmas bear lost an eye.

Not too many sights more pitiful than the Christmas Tree Angel still propped against a cocktail shaker less than 10 days out.

As if her once a year gig wasn’t short enough already.

To make amends, I have promised I will NOT swear at her no matter how many attempts it takes to get her sitting straight atop the tree this year.


So, this is where I am so far…

Truth be told, despite my resolutions, this is the most behind I’ve probably ever been before Christmas.  Butcha know what? It doesn’t really matter.  I’m not going to stress it.  Maybe, maybe, this is just how I roll  🙂

I threw caution to the wind and accepted a most unusual and wonderful invitation which involved me being away from home last week ( another post).  When presented with a beautiful gift, how do you say “Thanks, but this is the wrong time to open it”??!   So doing too much with way too little sleep, not surprisingly, took it’s toll on me physically, but if I’ve learned anything in the past week it’s to do my best to not sweat the small stuff.  Our precious boys will be home for the holidays, good friends and family will be with us, a turkey will somehow end up in the oven, and that frickin’ angel will sit straight if it takes me til the fricking stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve.  No worries.  Afterall, she doesn’t have to be perfect. (OK, baby steps…)

And now I better click my heels together and get cracking. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do


Slim Paley photo

*PS. If you are new to my blog this year, which most of you are, please do check out my December 2009 posts either by clicking on the “Archives” tab in my heading above, or right here: December 2009 archives. There are 3 pages of posts (alright, so I was posting a little more often then :)) with many decorating photos, a few recipes, tips for drying or sugaring fruit, making Yorkshire pudding and other seasonal goodies. I must admit, it was even fun for me to go back and read my early posts (and also a little horrifying to realize how quickly a year has past!)


So make the most of every moment…


Slim Paley Photo

And Bless Us, Each and Every One!!



  1. I love the bear. Hope you are feeling better soon. I’m new (this year) to your site and it’s one of my favorites!

    I’m now going to read your 2009 posts on Christmas.


  2. Amazingly! I somehow believe your angel will shine down on you and make things as perfect as they should be ….and what is that anyway? Love your blog just beautiful!

  3. The ruby slippers! For all of us “ahhs” lovers. Feel better! I just landed in NYC. Twenty eight degrees.

  4. So glad you’re back! And don’t worry – it will all get done. If it makes you feel any better, this is also the furthest behind I’ve ever been as well. Since I know my kids aren’t reading this, I can tell you that I haven’t even started the stockings – except for the Lindt chocolate reindeer and 4 mini toothbrush kits (1 for each) that I bought at the grocery store!

  5. I think you should leave the one-eyed bear! It will give you a good de-stress chuckle every time you look at it. Just for this year (you have been ill after all) and even the best planned Christmas can come too soon some years. I had Shingles last year at this time and you can believe it was a pitiful Christmas. But we did have turkey, it was just at a really good restaurant in Oklahoma. Glad to see you are feeling better Slim. Much love Xo

  6. Yay!!! Slim is back! All’s right with the world………(no pressure, Slim)……….

    My hip has been hurting so much I’m still staring at the lonely strings of little white lights and stuffed snowmen who are tumbling out, looking at me forlornly, of the ornaments bag abandoned in the corner………..but, inspiration has arrived! There WILL be decorating done this year………YES I can.
    and waiting to read your 2009 blog on Xmas……….what a great gift THAT will be!

    • Sorry to hear about your hip Marsha –
      but YES you CAN do it!!
      Happy Holidays and hoping your hip feels better very soon

      • OH, Slim, your good wishes for myhip mean so much!
        So this is what I did instead of stringing up the snowmen…………..I painted my mom’s old wooden cane black and sprayed the top silver, wore an old brocade and gold Xmas tree skirt as a cape (!) , put a black feather in my hair, climbed into a bob-tailed-drawn sleigh (they know how to do things up in NH), and went to a Victorian Xmas party; drank only a thimble full of Smoking Bishop (incase it would react with the pain-killers…….), sang carols in front of an outdoor fire, whilst standing on an oriental carpet and then came home and scheduled a hip replacement…………..you’ve got to make lemonade out of lemons………..Thanks!

  7. Well I’ve left California for the less-calm seas of Seattle, and now I can make lots of quick trips up to the Motherland to see friends and family. And up here, you can just walk out and pick your own tree! I’d forgotten quite how many we have this far north. Not that I’ve actually got one yet… you’re not so far behind as you think. And your ornaments are beautiful! I also picked up a bit of a cold, not quite used to this cooler temp after all those years of natural Vitamin D. Feel better, and if you cock your head to the side, your angel will look right as rain. Cheers! * sipping robitussin martini *

  8. I get the feeling human bit myself! Damn Viruses! My Christmas goodies are still in the closet! After seeing your “pretties” I think tomorrow is the day I start decorating… sick or not! Thanks for the inspiration!!

  9. Beautiful post and photos, Slim. Glad you are feeling better. I am a bit stressed out though. I have two young girls, one who still wonderfully believes in Santa Claus. I’m not all that into Christmas though. Now that your kids are grown, do you have any advice to smack some sense into me?

    • Thanks Terri
      Well, I do have a little advice; relish all your Christmas traditions- and be SO thankful that you’ve managed to raise a child in today’s world that still believes in Santa perhaps a little past the norm. We had the same situation with one of our boys and it melted my heart. It’s even more difficult nowadays with young girls turning into Miley Cyrus wannabes before they’re even into double digits. Horrifying.
      Play Christmas music in the background everyday, put some mulled spicy hot apple juice or wine on the stove to fill your home with the scent of the holidays, stick photos of Christmas past all over your fridge- hell- put a wreath on your car bumper!
      Most importantly, try to remember it GOES IN A BLINK. If you find yourself forgetting, take a look at my post about our “little boy” turning 2o – http://slimpaley.com/2010/06/07/bringing-up-boys/ (He’s the one holding the yellow cup at the beginning and wearing the darker grey sweatshirt at the very end. You can’t imagine how quickly all those Christmas’ flew by. Do yourself a favour ; read the comments and listen to the music on that post as well- I can’t listen to it without welling up. I think it might help to “smack some sense” into you!
      OK, geez, now I feel like Dr. Phil…
      Happy Holidays to You!!

      • Thank you Dr. Phil! Welling up as I write, what a beautiful post on your boy. I’m taking your advice to heart. I haven’t made mulled wine in years, what a great idea.

        What helps is that I’m sitting in my parent’s living room in Wisconsin right now, there’s snow outside, and my girls are over the moon that houses here have basements (no basements in California). I was born here so it makes this time so much richer.

        Have yourself a merry little Christmas. Have you checked out Annie Lennox’s new CD “Christmas Cornucopia?” It is divine.

  10. You’ll pull it together SP … have ye faith .. and if you cant feel the faith in ye self due to an over load of cold meds .. then I feel if for ye. Merry Christmas my friend !! xoL

  11. Dear Slim, I am so glad you are starting to feel better and at the very least you don’t have to worry about being sick over the holidays! I know it will be as beautiful as ever. As the mother of a Clare, who in this family is called Clare Bear, I am longing to know the stories your beautiful bear could tell. Any chance you would share his story? Absolutely enchanting, and may I say, even more interesting with one eye! Wishing you a very Happy Christmas!

    • I’ve had that bear so long Kate- I can’t even remember where he came from. I love him though.
      As much as I appreciate modern Christmas decorations, I’m more drawn to old fashioned traditional decorations.
      I’m a sap for the Christmas scenes in old movies!

  12. I’m so pleased to see your sickness hasn’t effected your sense of humor slim. Also that it was the result of seizing the moment!!!! oxox

  13. We all totally get this………Christmas is an enormous effort…….and the tree is fun……..(.I guess until whatever age you pick…..and how much your husband likes dealing with the lights) My present husband (33 years) looks at me like I need to be committed if I ask him about Christmas tree lights. No.

    Moving right along……….our children (blended family) and I hope have provided fond memories of Christmases at our houses!

    Photos! instead!! I just got that great idea because of you!!

    They are all grown up…….40; the baby…(who lives here……less than a mile away)…going to St Moritz with two grandchildren and husband; visiting first with daughter #2 in Geneva…….

    daughter #2(they did live here in Santa Barbara for 3 years……3 grandkids thank God). They have lived in Geneva for 6 years. (this should be unconstitutional)

    baby then on to St Moritz…….Geneva family after visit with SB family on to Nicaragua…….(I may have the wrong country….but it is nearby)…..for a surprise party for a cousin……….Yikes!

    and the eldest is stopping here with her two boys…and husband…….on way to a surf trip to Hawaii…….(they live in Marblehead, Massachusetts.) for two nights and one day……tuesday…..next……wednesday for the day……..(our ducks are looking forward to rain)
    and then on to Hawaii for surfing……..
    This is what happens when they get married. And the two oldest married brothers!!!

    Enjoy the days before……I don’t know. How about just the angel on top? Training for future
    Love your blog.
    Just letting you know…..Slim………it doesn’t get easier! Maybe you can do “arranged marriages” with locals.. HA!!!

    My husband thinks the Kennedy’s “compounds” were the best idea!!


    enjoy…….and YOU DO!!! those boys when they are home……and you provide a home they want to come back to…….and we do too……

    We celebrated Christmas Tuesday night….and my 8 year old grandson…..said……
    “Granny…..do you have a Christmas tree?” Well…..no……

    He gave me a big hug.

    Count your blessings…….and I do too!!


    • Wow Penelope- sounds like so much fun and very complicated at the same time! I love how you refer to your husband of 33 years as your “present husband”!
      As for the lights- ummmmm….let’s just say they are definitely not part of my husband’s repetoire…
      Sending blessings to you and your extended family as well

  14. Good to hear you are feeling well enough to get all the ornaments out. Stay cool, not every year has to be a masterpiece. Count your blessings and create a new tradition. Maybe the angel would prefer to stay on the tray close to the cocktail shaker?!

    Have a fabulous holiday!

  15. Fret not, dear Slimmy. With your fabulous sense of style I am sure you will have no trouble pulling off a more minimalist Christmas decor this year if necessary. My Christmas wish: that the concept of “less is more” will someday be embraced by all during this time of year. Anyone else? If so, sing it with me! Less stuff good, mass consumption bad. Again. Less, good: more, bad. Christmas carols, family and friends: good. Getting and buying and preparing more and More and MORE, and feeling guilty if we don’t: bad.
    You can all start calling me Scrooge and Grinch now. I’m used to it. My angel has been happily sleeping in her box for a few years now–getting more beautiful everyday and glad for the break 😉

  16. Yeah!!! You’re back!!!

    You’ve been missed, SP! You’re so right. No stress.. live each and every day! Gosh! I am learning that too… I think it has to do w/ maturity too. Eventually you learn that the thing that are really important should get more of your time, not the details… you create meaningful memories by spending time doing what makes you happy, not stressed. Christmas should be about happiness and family.


    Luciane at HomeBunch.com

  17. Amazing post, very cute pics of decorations. Hope you didn’t use the wonky ladder you used last year !?.Your home to me is truly the most inviting invitation to Christmas.
    Yikes Penelope, what a wonderful Family gathering , does every one have to wear a name tag, ??
    Merry Christmas to all , and the healthiest year ever,

  18. Glad U are feeling better. Hope well enuf to make my party Sunday. Lots of your friends will be here. Fun mixture with many of my young friends, old SB friends and polo crowd. I love your dried orange slices. Love so much U create. Think U have secret extra 12 hrs in each day none of us have!!!

  19. Slim, your posts are always so endearing and full of life! This one is no exception. I love your “angel struggles”. So cute! Hopefully, she’s sitting straight on the top of your tree by now. 🙂

  20. Hello Slim, bbbbbrrrrrr, it’s cold here in Helsinki, bit different to Townsville.

    So, my solution to Christmas this year was to run away to the North Pole, visit Santa.
    The REAL Santa in the North Pole (in Lapland).

    Wicked I know, but geepers it’s fun to look at other people’s Christmas Lights, Christmas Trees, Snow, Decorations, Christmas Food, Fur Coats, Boots, dogs in the snow and sleighs knowing all the work has been done by OPs. (other people).

    I’ll be seeing the REAL SANTA on Christmas Eve. I promised all the littlies back home I will post a photo of him getting the sleigh ready on Christmas Eve.
    All those non believers, Mums included, What are you on about?
    Just you wait till Christmas Eve and I’ll prove there is a Santa Claus.
    Glad you are on the mend Slim. I took some wonderful Table Setting photos at the Hermitage in St Petersburg, and will eventually post them, with the comment that those Rich Russian Tsars and Tsarinas were not a patch on Slim Paley for Table Decor.

  21. I’m sure that angel is sitting pretty right now! Thanks for the quick psycho-reminder (don’t sweat the small stuff). It is so true. Now, I must go spray paint the branches, send out 200 cards, run with the dog, and be glamorous for tonights Snowball!!

  22. My Dear SP!

    I just want to thank you for your comment the other day. You know that means a lot to me. I also want to ask you to go see my post today. It’s a “Thank you” note to my blogging friends and readers.

    I hope you have a beautiful week.


    Luciane at HomeBunch.com

  23. You know the best part about Christmas? I found exactly what my girls wanted in the oddest place after an exhaustive search in the ordinary retail stores. Did you know Cracker Barrel has awesome gifts? Gold signature Webkinz animals and ‘Mazin Hamsters. Playing Christmas music, making mulled wine and waiting for a fresh snowfall as I write. Visiting the birthplace of Orson Welles in an hour. You rock, Slim Paley.

  24. Wow this is late for you, well I think our angels are related, I have the same frickin problem with mine. Sorry about your bear’s mishap. I know your house will be so beautiful anyways.

Would love to hear from you!