The aesthetics and etiquette of Christmas cards….

my home matters, I like it to look lovely, if a little grubby and tired. At this time of the winter solstice , and impending Noel , more so than ever. Unkind people might say our home is gloomy, I prefer to think of it as atmospheric – besides too much illumination is never a good thing, it shows up the dirt.

So I spend hours creating a 7 foot Christmas tree that looks as though it has just flown in from fairyland, I truly bedeck the halls, trailing boughs and branches of holly and ivy ( and any other foliage that takes my fancy when I’m out with my hound), though I say it myself, it looks magnificent.

Every year I make my thumbs sore from cramming cloves into oranges, all senses must be catered for after all, it’s worth every nano second of effort.

Then come the Christmas cards, they start to trickle in, for a week or so I pile them up in the kitchen, and I tell myself that this year I will find a creative way to display them. The pile grows ever larger, it taunts me.

the majority of them are ghastly, garish bucolic robins, cards so thin they will not even stand up unsupported.

i love all the people that send them, but the truth is I loathe the cards.

They have so far come to rest in a tottering heap, on top of the piano,they sit there, taunting me for my snobbery.i am silently hoping that they will all accidentally slip down the back of the piano, never to be seen again

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How it is….The antique dealers wife One of the first comments usually made, on discovering that I am married to an antiques dealer is invariably something along the lines of ;” ooooh ! Bet your house is full of lovely things !” The time has come for me to confront these comments with a hideous truth. Indeed my house is full of things. It is full of old things, some of which smell. People envisage us living in a glorious Georgian farmhouse,dining atop the gentle glow of an ancient oak table, being gazed upon from the walls by portraits of illustrious ancestors. The truth is so much more prosaic. We live in a modest bungalow. Surrounded by clutter. I flinch when I watch programmes such as ” the hoarder next door” …it’s a tad too close to the bone. It occasionally occurs to me that my husband, although truly passionate about his career, may actually be harbouring a not so latent mental illness.