Tett House is a magical place. I don’t just mean the house, but the whole property. The natural surroundings provide an ever-changing canvas for all four seasons as they revolve throughout the year. With views of trees and water from every window, the outdoor landscape seems to become part of the design and architecture of our home.
I tend to think that every season in Bedford Mills is more beautiful than the last. But after three years here, I can honestly say that nothing could have prepared me for the gorgeous splendour of winter. As soon as the snow falls, the whole area becomes a fairyland. Even the humblest outbuildings turn picturesque.
In winter, our view of the old mill across the pond, which is always hauntingly romantic, is lovelier than any Christmas card.
In my former life, I used to do a lot of superficial decorating for Christmas, filling up spaces with holiday knick-knacks. I tend to keep it simple here, though, because Tett House feels like a Christmas house already, with its rich wood accents, high, Victorian ceilings, and the pines standing sentinel just outside our windows.
At Tett House, my Christmas decorating strategy is based on the following two theories:
1. Pillows (you can never have too many)
2. Plaid (you can never have too much)
Evergreens and candles are symbolic to Yuletide and Winter Solstice, which I celebrate as well as Christmas. Evergreen branches symbolize rebirth, renewal, and a reminder of the return of spring. Candles represent the eternal flame of hearth and home.
This year, I decided to make a little extra magic and decorate one of the little pines in the forest behind Tett House. I used some simple coloured balls, and made a string of jingle bells to hang on the branches. Jingle bells used to be rung at Yuletide in olden times to drive away bad luck and dark days. I always think of them as ringing in the New Year to come!
I always feel a little extra creative at Christmas and I try to add a homemade element to the gifts we give. Often, you will find me knitting by the fire, or sorting through my craft materials and antique paper stash for ephemera to make cards and tags.
Although I don’t bake often, I’ve been known to cut a few cookies over the holidays!
Tett House is a cozy place in winter-time. But it’s a lot of work, too, as is every rural home. Managing firewood for the wood stove is a project unto itself. Not to mention our steep and challenging driveway, which is several hundred feet long. I got my car stuck on it TWICE last year and had to be rescued by kindly neighbours! We have someone to plow it, but there is always extra shovelling to do, and it is no easy task. Like a Canadian winter, our driveway sometimes feels like it never ends.
2021 will be our fourth winter at Tett House, and we’ve learned to embrace hibernation! When the temperatures drop and the snow falls, there’s no place I’d rather be than in front of the fire with my guys and a cat (or two) napping nearby.
Happy New Year, from Tett House!
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