Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Neighborhood Christmas


This is the first Christmas that I've spent in Louisiana, and I've lived here since 1982!  I always took advantage of the time off from work to go visit my family in Virginia, but this year I'll head to the mountains of southwest Virginia after Christmas. 

I've enjoyed this year's holiday season in Shreveport with Ricky and numerous friends.  It seems everyone had a Christmas gathering, whether it was the combo Christmas/birthday party that my writing group had for one of our members, the delicious dinner my wine group enjoyed in one member's new-to-her, but vintage, Craftsman bungalow, the luncheon the faculty at work enjoyed at a local Mexican restaurant, or the lovely afternoon soiree hosted by two of my mystery reading friends. 

I'm amazed that most of my younger friends seem to think in images, so they have great photographs to commemorate every gathering or interesting event, while I'm the one who gets home and berates myself that I forgot to take out my cell phone and snap a pic.

However, my family and friends took some photographs of special holiday events this year, and I want to share way too many of them with you!

The Holiday Tour of Historic Homes the first weekend of December served to jump start the season.   I again chaired the event with lots of help from my friends.  It occurs every other year and for that, I'm grateful. 

Saturday night the entire avenue was closed to vehicular traffic except for tour trolley and limos, so guests could stroll along a luminary lit path that led to each house.

Here are a few images from the neighborhood's historic homes:

 

Doors and windows, the architectural details, the d├ęcor--all dazzled



 









 

Interior window imported in 1920's from Tiffany's in New York

 
More Tiffany windows in another 1920's era home.
I learned that 1920's Shreveport had more millionaires per capita than Chicago did,
as evidenced by the details in some of these mansions on tour. 
 


 

 
There was a string quartet playing in the gazebo of a hidden garden
Wine was served
And Mrs. Santa and elves frolicked in the garden
Some of the women who worked with me on the Home Tour.  I'm sporting the elf hat.
 
Finally after the Home Tour, I could think about decorating my own house. 
Our foyer where Santa rested before the big night
 
Dining room with mantle full of Santas

And more Santas in the music room


 
 

 
 
I attribute my obsession with Santa Claus to growing up in a small town where my great-uncle was Santa for decades.  On Christmas Eve when I was small he would come to my grandmother's house and visit us before we went to bed.  The photos above show my Uncle Joe as Santa.  He was the best.  The top photo shows a tired Uncle Joe after a hard day of being Santa Claus.  The bottom picture is my sisters and me with Santa at my grandmother's house.  I'm the dressed-down child in the middle, while my younger sisters wear their dresses in hopes of impressing Santa.
 
There were other special holiday celebrations with friends from the neighborhood this year.  One warm night in mid-December, the local Bed and Breakfast opened its doors for a party complete with a band, open bar, valet parking.  My friend Tina and I closed this party down but we were home at 10:30.
The crowd spills out of Fairfield Place Bed and Breakfast onto the porch and into the courtyard.

Our friends Howard & Sarah's gumbo party was held in the magical

surroundings shown below:

 
 


 
 
Sarah gave every guest homemade biscotti when we left
 
 
There was an enjoyable evening out with my former department head and my present one, both good friends.  I'm so fortunate to work with great people who are also long-time friends of mine.
 
Then, on Christmas Eve we headed up the street to the home of our friends, Terry and Marsha, who host an annual Christmas Eve open house.  Marsha's home is always beautifully decorated at Christmas.  As a matter of fact, she and her husband participated in this year's afternoon Tour of Homes that is held on Sunday after the Saturday night candlelight tour.
 
Christmas Day found us kicking back for lunch at a friend's house for soup and corn bread, then scurrying back to our house to host Christmas afternoon High Tea, a tradition from my family in Virginia.
 

As you can tell, I'm very blessed to be surrounded by loving friends and family this holiday season. 

 

And I wish each of you a joyous Christmas and a Happy and Healthy 2014.