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While other family members are out shopping I am content to stay home this day, full of comfort and joy, taking stock of our wonderful Christmas.

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Choirs of angels are singing as they stand on a remnant of French made fabric from a little shop in Ribeauvillé, France.

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In the kitchen the deer gazes at the tree decked with redbirds. I spent a lot of time in the kitchen today catching up on things that were neglected in the frantic attempt to get everything wrapped before Christmas Eve. The dishes were washed. The laundry folded and put away.

Later I took time to have a cup of coffee and a piece of rum cake. I’m trying to renew the old silver tea service we stored in my brother’s attic when we left for Germany in 1999.

I neglected to retrieve it when we came home in 2002 until finally this past Thanksgiving my brother brought it down from his attic and we brought it home. It is so tarnished that I am ashamed I neglected it so badly. I have been polishing and polishing. I actually like to polish silver but this task is a very big one. So far there are no pits. That says something for Reed and Barton.

Okay, it’s not that valuable being silverplate but I should have taken better care of it.

One of the nicest things about having a two week vacation is having time to do things at home that I just wouldn’t do on a weekend.

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Asta watches out the window for birds and other interesting visitors. He, Amos and Sabby have been excited about the returns of their favorites, Charlotte and Maine to the Charlotte Wing and the other whimsical visitors bringing music into our home.

Lucy, my sister is a special favorite of Sabby’s (a story which needs to be told) and he’s spent a lot of time on her lap this Christmas season. The cats seemed to know from Thanksgiving on that special days were approaching. Like Sissy Willis’ Babe, they have been high with expectancy, and scampering around the house like kittens.

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A gift of heirloom crystal from their aunt is a Christmas surprise for the girls.

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O Christmas Tree is the theme of the Donoho Mantle this year. It’s a more streamlined Christmas for us. We gave the angels their own pride of place on the piano and put out less Christmas frills this year.

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One of my favorite gifts received this Christmas is The Book of Exodus, inscribed and illustrated by Sam Fink. The calligraphy is exquisite.

I loved all my gifts of course, especially the beautiful photograph of my gorgeous grandson, Noah and the gift I always need and always ask for, socks.

The best part of Christmas for me was watching the faces of my loved ones as they opened their gifts. When my son, daughter-in-law and five year old grandson return from Louisiana and open up their gifts, then Christmas will be complete for me.

The strangest gift I got this year? A Carney Lansford Bobblehead.

What is next? The annual Fletcher Family Football Tournament. My husband and I are the hosts for this annual event and it is coming up very soon. I take care of the food, my brother takes care of drawing up the tournament roster, my husband provides the half-time band entertainment and my Dad takes care of the prizes.