I was still tidying up from this year's Christmas clean-up this morning. After breakfast I brought the vase with its vivid autumn leaves and flowers back upstairs to put in the hallway (where the Rudolph tree is at Christmas) and arranged the other little things around it: the little tray Andy Stokes brought me back from Italy on which I keep Mother's rosary, another little dish where I keep disposable batteries, a china sheep which holds fall picks, a little Norman Rockwell book, and a resin fall basket on which perches a chickadee. Then I brought up the box that has been holding the mantel items since late November: the fall angels in sepia tones, the Lord and Lady mugs James bought so long ago at the Ren Faire, a little autumn plaque I made and a maple leaf with a verse from the Bible, Mother's clock in the center, and on each side, a little fall house from Lemax's autumn collection, the Maple Sugar Shack, with boys raking and the dog popping its head from the leaf pile in front, and a deer lurking beside the well, under the autumn trees in the rear, and what I think is Pine Lodge (I can't find it on Lemax's page). I love it because you can look in the front window and see a fireplace and furnishings, and there's quilts hung outside on the rail and an owl on the roof. This one has a mailbox, dad raking, and son loading pumpkins into an old pickup, with a cardinal in the rear sitting on the axe near the woodpile. The basket of leaves is back in front of the fireplace as well, and Rusty the deer has his autumn collar back on. There is a winter basket on the opposite side, and winter decorations hanging from under the mantel, where it looks a little bare without the Christmas cards hung up.
When I got through I decided I wanted to check out the Blu-Ray version of Rick Steves' European Christmas that James got me for Christmas. I didn't think anything could be better than the widescreen DVD, but...wow. Deeper, richer, much more lovely. I put the television color on "dynamic" and just enjoyed the beautiful vistas, the lovely blue light of the twilight Austrian sleigh ride and the mountain return to Gimmelwald, the bright candles everywhere, and the multicolor decorations of all the cities.