Christmas Traditions at Chestnut Cottage!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas stockings

…Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse!  The stockings were hung by the chimney…

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas stockings

Another very important Christmas tradition at Chestnut Cottage is Christmas stockings!  For many years, we have had our stockings in the library. Made from blue velvet, they hung over the old original fireplace at Chestnut Cottage.

 north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas stockings

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas stockings

This year, with the addition of Mr. Duncan MacDuff, I decided to make new wool plaid stockings for our great room.  I love this Lee Jofa plaid and just had to make new stockings out of it!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas stockings

On Christmas Eve, I hang my old childhood stocking that my mother made for my first Christmas in 1951!  It is so dear to me and my favorite part of this stocking was the little train at the bottom.  Mother was a great lover of trains and I am sure that she included this little train to instill that same love in me.

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas stockings

And my precious Bentley’s stocking still hangs behind “his” tree in my kitchen.  One day, I suppose I will be able to call it Duncan’s tree.

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas stockings

I have been very good this year, so I am hoping that Santa will fill not only my new stocking, but also my childhood stocking!

I hope that Santa will fill your stockings with lots of treats and lots of joy!!

…the stockings were hung by the chimney with care…

xo Kathryn

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A Christmas Visit to Chestnut Cottage!

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Hello friends, it’s Leah speaking! I’m taking over the blog today to share my annual Christmas visit to Chestnut Cottage. As most of you know, I’ve been working for Kathy for several years now. Even though we are in different cities, we see each other pretty frequently! Usually for play, but sometimes for work, ha-ha!

I jokingly tell people that Kathy is my fabulous 39 year old friend and I’m her young 32 year old friend. At least that’s how our relationship feels…until she references actresses and musicians that I’ve never heard of, then we start to remember our age gap! But nevertheless, we just love getting together. This year, my mom Julie (affectionately known as “JuJu”) and my sister Kendall joined me ‘up the mountain’ to have lunch and celebrate Christmas with Kathy and her four-legged love, Duncan!

We walked in from a rainy day to be greeted by the most festive ambiance. From the mantle display, to the wreaths, Chestnut Cottage is truly ‘decked out’!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions with friends

Tartan, trees and treats, oh my!

How fabulous does this chandelier look with it’s tartan shades and ribbons?! We mustn’t forget the beautiful Simon Pearce Christmas tree display… I wonder if Kathy would notice if one of those trees came to live with me?!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions with friends

The great room is bursting with the smell of evergreen and the glow of Christmas lights…

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions with friends

I love when two of my favorite things are waiting for me upon arrival…

Duncan MacDuff Greeley…

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions with friends

…and a chilled bottle of Veuve!

Please notice the cocktail napkins… I think you can guess who Vixen is!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions with friends

No matter how many times we visit Chestnut Cottage, there are still new things to explore! Therefore, JuJu, Kendall and I went perusing. Starting with the front porch…As you can see, Duncan wanted to join!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions with friends

Next up, the wine cellar! We love it when Mr. Wells Greeley is away… the mice will play!

I’m sure Wells wouldn’t mind us sipping on his 1988 Chateau Lafite Rothschild. Kendall was born in 1988 so we thought that might be a sign!? I’m sure he would beg to differ.

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions with friends

Other than Veuve, I leave the selections up to Kathy & Wells. However, that doesn’t mean one can’t have a photo-op to pretend!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions with friends

Next, Duncan agreed to humor us with his new tartan coat while posing with his very own tree! What a cutie!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions with friends

In return, it was only fair that we agreed to humor Duncan with our piano playing skills!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions with friends

Once we finished our sister duet, it was time to eat lunch.

Kathy prepared an arugula, apple, and goat cheese salad topped with pine nuts and dried cranberries followed by a heaping serving of Quiche Lorraine! As if that wasn’t enough, we indulged in a slice of chocolate yule log with local toffee for dessert. After this meal, we were feeling quite ‘fat & sassy’ as I like to say!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions with friends

Onto our gift exchange! Kathy always manages to get me something extremely unique and special! This year was no exception. Not pictured, are a beautiful set of pink champagne coupes and a set of square pink dessert plates. I collect pink Depression-era glass so obviously I was thrilled with my newest pieces!!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions with friends

Before we left, another KGD employee, Emily Clark stopped by to see us! She may kill me for posting a picture as she was on her way to work out but I certainly couldn’t leave her out!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions with friends

This Christmas, as I reflect on things truly important to me, I am overwhelmed by the wonderful friends and family I have been blessed with. God certainly did not have to bless me in this way, but I’m so glad he did. So, Kathy, thank you for being a constant source of joy and laughter! I treasure our unique friendship and I’m so happy we got to celebrate this Christmas season together.

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions with friends

P.S. Look at how sweetly Duncan is posing for the camera! The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree 🙂

Wishing you and your family a blessed Christmas!

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xoxoleah

Posted in Duncan, Entertaining, Entertaining Tales from Chestnut Cottage, Inspired!, It's Time to Celebrate..., Tabletop, Uncategorized, What's Inspiring Kathryn? | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Christmas Traditions!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents the collected library

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents the collected library

Each year, just after Thanksgiving, I start a Christmas novel. I started doing this many years ago and now I look forward to treating myself to one or more holiday novels.

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents the collected library

For most of the years I have been reading Christmas novels, I start with a holiday mystery by British author, Anne Perry. These delightful yuletide stories are short and I always hate to turn the last page!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents the collected library

Anne Perry’s thirteenth holiday mystery transports the reader to the Mediterranean island of Stromboli for an unconventional yuletide adventure.  I just finished this little Christmas read and now I am starting to read another Christmas mystery, this one by Victoria Thompson.  This Christmas mystery is set in nineteenth-century New York City…MURDER ON ST. NICHOLAS AVENUE. Christmas is in the air and a wealthy new bride is accused of an unspeakable crime!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents the collected library

A friend from London recently recommended British author, Trisha Ashley, for a number of fun holiday stories, most set in villages in Lancashire. I have ordered a couple of her books and will soon learn how she compares to my other favorite holiday writers!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents the collected library north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents the collected library north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents the collected library

Maybe these will have to wait until Christmas 2016!

Christmas novels are one of my favorite holiday traditions and I savor these novels for relaxing, while the Christmas rush goes on around me!  Just steal a bit of the holiday rush …curl up in front of the fire with a cup of tea and the delicious smell of evergreen!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents the collected library

xo Kathryn

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Christmas Traditions!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions

Another “key ingredient” for Christmas at Chestnut Cottage is our lovely Waterford Nativity set.

Many years ago, my mother-in-law,  Miriam Greeley, started giving me these pieces for birthdays, anniversaries , and Christmas.  I cherish this set so much, because of the giver! I love the shepherd and the little lambs. 

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions

I am sure that each of you have your own tradition of displaying a nativity.  There are so many beautiful and different options.

This stunning hand carved Italian nativity set is so classic!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions

Or perhaps for the lover of blue and white…

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions

A vintage Belgian blue and white nativity set would be perfect.

Or for a more contemporary twist…

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions

This cobalt art glass set!

And I love this cute little knitted set!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions

And there are many lovely crystal sets, like my Waterford set.

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions

I believe that we must all keep…

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions

in

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions

…and what better reminder for the reason for the season than your own cherished nativity set.

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions

xo Kathryn

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Christmas Traditions!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions

Another “Key Ingredient” to our Christmas Traditions at Chestnut Cottage is CHRISTMAS CRACKERS! I always have Christmas Crackers for our Christmas Eve Dinner. I love seeing both adults and children at the table with paper crowns atop their heads!  It helps us not take ourselves too seriously! Plus, the other little trinkets inside the crackers are fun after a big Christmas Eve meal.

Christmas crackers are a traditional Christmas favorite in the United Kingdom. Families can be found sitting around their dining tables enjoying a traditional Christmas meal–and all–regardless of age, wearing colored paper hats.  It is rumored that even the Queen wears her paper hat at Christmas lunch!

Christmas crackers have been a British tradition dating back to Victorian times. London confectioner ,Tom Smith,  started adding a little motto to his sugared almond bon-bons, which he wrapped in a twisted paper package.  These were not a big seller at the time he introduced them.  One night while he was sitting in front of his fire, he became very interested in the sparks and cracks coming from the fire.  Suddenly, he thought what a fun idea it would be, if his sweets and toys could be opened with a crack, when their fancy wrappers were pulled in half.  Soon his sugared almond treats were replaced with a small gift.  Originally sold as the Cosaque, it soon became known by the public as the “cracker”.  The paper hat was added to the cracker in the early 1900s by his son and by the end of the 1930s, the little poems and jokes and puzzles were added.  The idea of wearing a paper crown may have originated from the Twelfth Night celebrations, where a King or Queen was appointed to look over the proceedings.

I keep a fairly good stock of Christmas crackers that I find on my travels.

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions

I love all the variety of cracker “themes”.  There is certainly a design  to fill every Christmas entertaining style!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions

I do love these musical crackers!

Most cracker sets will indicate on the back what you may expect to find inside.  This is helpful when considering the makeup of your guests!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions

These crackers can also double as a place card, with the attached tag!

Such fun finding all the little surprises inside the crackers…especially the colorful crowns!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions

There are so many Christmas cracker options on the market, one is bound to find just the perfect one for your holiday décor.

From The English Tea Store, you will find these lovely plaid crackers from Tom Smith.

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions

Or these holly crackers…

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions

And these cream and gold snowflake crackers, are also from the English Tea Store.

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions

Caspari (www.casparionline.com) has a nice range of crackers, from these green Lynn Haney Santa crackers…

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions

To these Nutcrackers…

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions

I think my favorite Caspari crackers are these “Boxwood” crackers.

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions

Amazon also has a wonderful selection of Christmas crackers…

Little Elves…

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions

Racing Reindeer…

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions

And these lovely Frosty Trees…

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions

Toy Shop Crackers…

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions

And of course, Twelve Days of Christmas Crackers!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions

Or perhaps this Reindeer Game Party Cracker Set at Pier 1!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions

With all of these great options, you must add the key ingredient of Christmas cracker fun to your holiday entertaining. Make Christmas crackers one of your Christmas traditions!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents christmas traditions

xo Kathryn

Posted in Entertaining, Holiday Ideas, Inspired!, It's Time to Celebrate..., Uncategorized, What's Inspiring Kathryn? | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments