We do like to see Christmas Villages, and lighted houses as we drive around the countryside, but with a 198 year old house, our outdoors will not be entered in the Great Christmas Light Fight. Our front door is welcoming with wreath and greens. The front is simply lit with flood lights, and the windows adorned with ribbons and greens, much in the way of yesteryear.
Bells and greens decorate the sign and lamps of entry, while Santa Claus flies nearby in his sleigh. Another whimsical sight guests see on arrival, is Santa giving Mrs. Claus a kiss underneath the mistletoe.
Christmas trees from inside don’t have to retire at our B&B, they just become a member of the lighted grove around the driveway. Although the trees are not real, the birds find cover and the cats enjoy a new playground among the lower branches. When the December Christmas snows are falling, these trees create a winter wonderland.
Tradition #4 Deck the Halls! If you have visited us during December you know we like Christmas and decorating the inn might just be an understatement. It’s the time of year when we all get out our special, once-a-year treasures; our family ornaments, fine china, and other types of festive decorations. At the James Manning House you will find a bit of merriment in every room.
Welcome to each guest room and enjoy a jolly little tree. Perhaps you will remember some of the vintage ornaments and dream of Christmases past. Twinkling lights adorn the staircase adding a warm glow to the hall. Did you see the old Shiny Brite glass ornaments hanging from the greens? The living room tree sparkles with antique ornaments of all sizes and shapes, indents and mercury, beaded and Venetian dew. Some of these are from Germany and some from the early 20th century. This is my favorite of nine decorated trees in the house. I enjoy seeing all those beautiful colors, and fourth generation hand-me-downs. I hope they survive several more generations giving joy to the holiday season for years to come.
When I think of our Christmas heirlooms my mind is focused on a very special Nativity Set. This set has beautifully hand-painted ceramic figures. The three wise men and camel even have some gold trim and jewels. What really makes this crèche special to me is the story. My aunt glazed and fired all the pieces and gave the set to my parents as a wedding gift in 1946. The pieces are still in mint condition and I have set them up every year to tell the story of the birth of the Christ child since I was a young girl.
Entering the house you will encounter that magical belief; “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus”. And another Santa Claus and another, and another, in fact three years ago there were at least 350! (Of course none disappeared and more are added and I don’t think it’s cheating to count the ornaments on the Santa tree.) Some are elaborately dressed, some made of wood, or metal, or glass, mink, beeswax, and so many more combinations. There are some dressed in red, or green, there’s even a purple Claus. I can’t imagine just how this special elf started to fill our rooms but now the tradition is there and there always seems to be a place to display a new addition.