Metallic Bonbons

‘Tis the season for festive blog link ups. Two of my favorites are Terri’s Sunday Stills photography color challenge, Metallic, and Festive Bonbons holiday question challenge hosted by Donna, Deb, Sue, and Jo. I am going to do my best to combine them both into a single post.

  • Christmas Tree? We haven’t had a Christmas tree for years, mostly because there isn’t a good place in our house to put one. At first, I missed the tradition, but now I’m relieved not to have the mess and bother. Even without a tree, we decorate to make the house look Christmassy. I don’t particularly like the traditional red and green combo, favoring instead blues and silvers.
I love how the late afternoon sun adds a golden glow to the silver ornaments and copper deer.
Bronze deer with a metallic bow.
  • Christmas Carols?  My all-time favorite is O Holy Night. Even though I’m not religious, it never fails to bring tears to my eyes when the singer hits those lovely high notes.
  • Christmas Books?  I love A Christmas Carol and How the Grinch StoIe Christmas, although I admit not having read either of them for many years. 
  • Christmas MoviesLove Actually, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Bad Santa come to mind but I’m sure there are more.
  • Fruit Cake?  A friend and I passed one – yes, the same one – back and forth as a gag gift for many years. Do people actually eat them?
  • Chocolate, Nuts or Fruit?  Yes.
  • Christmas Traditions?  So many throughout the years (do they count as traditions if they change?). Boat Parade of Lights, my father’s springerle cookies, Grandpa’s Eggnog (not my grandpa, but a much-loved holiday contribution from a friend), nighttime strolls to enjoy the lights and decorations, to name just a few.
A family of silver deer decorate this front yard.
  • What’s on your Table?  Tamales on Christmas morning. Most likely a roast of some sort, potatoes, and roasted veggies for dinner. Our tree is bursting with oranges, so maybe a citrus dessert or cocktail… or both?
Golden (that’s metallic, right?) oranges ready to be picked.
  • Christmas Memories?  I have so many great memories, many from when I was young. My parents always made a big deal about Christmas for my two brothers and me.   
Lots of silver tinsel carefully placed in individual strands by my mother.
Visiting Santa and his reindeer with my brothers.
  • All I want for Christmas Is?  For everyone – across the globe – to get vaccinated. Let’s get this done!   

Author: Janis @ RetirementallyChallenged.com

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

81 thoughts on “Metallic Bonbons”

  1. Hi Janis, Seasons Greetings! I love what you did with this post. Your Christmas ornaments have that lovely reindeer theme (one of my faves besides trees!). Ah, a SoCal Christmas, warm and festive and full of sunshine. We will miss it again this year as our winter road trip is postponed to spring due to weather and other barriers. Your sunshiny oranges remind me of the two lovely lemon trees we had in the backyard of our former home in Sacramento, which my husband REALLY misses! And OMG, the Santa pic at the end of the post–in Balboa Park! I guess tinsel isn’t really a decor thing these days…we used it too and painstakingly added 1-2 strands on each branch. Have a fabulous and Merry Christmas if I don’t “see” you until I get back from a blog break on January 9th.

    1. I think you are smart to postpone your road trip. Spring is less iffy weather-wise. I hope I’ll get to see you if you make it to SD. I have so many fond memories of visiting Balboa Park during the holidays. I think they still have a Santa and his reindeer on that strip of grass but they no longer allow people to sit on them. As far as the citrus trees… it is so wonderful to be able to walk outside and pick whatever you want off the tree. I’m sorry you had to leave yours behind.

  2. Hi, Janis – A few years back, due to lack of space (okay, and a bit of laziness) we put our Christmas tree on our front portch outside of our large living room window. The tree was literally just a couple feet away from where it previously sat….but this time it was outside. Best idea ever!
    I love your well chosen ornmaments and they way your brilliantly caught the light in the photos.
    Fresh oranges and tamales for CHristmas morning?! Please sign me up!
    Thank you for joining Festive Bonbon.
    My Christmas Wish? For you and Pual to visit us again soon!

    1. We had a tree the first few years we were in this house but it just didn’t work. Putting one outside is a good idea. That way, we you enjoy it and your neighbors can too. Brilliant! I love your Christmas wish! Both of us really want to get back there. But, don’t forget, the border opens both ways now 🙂

  3. I love your bronze deer candle holder and that childhood Christmas photo is so nostalgic. Seeing all those cards on display (plus the tinsel) brought back similar memories! Merry Christmas to you!

      1. Janis, being from Florida, we always had an orange and grapefruit as part of our stocking. As for favorite memories, the year my mother did NOT buy clothes for my kids yielded priceless looks on their faces. Keith

  4. That is such an adorable photo of you and your brothers! Looking at your childhood Christmas tree made me think about how beautiful (albeit toxic!) lead tinsel was. I love your bronze and copper deer! Do you use them only at the holidays? They’re so cool, I think I’d leave them out year round. So fun to see your holiday traditions!

    1. Hmmmmm… I can’t imagine the tinsel we used was lead. It seemed very flowy (but who knows… they put radium in watches so why not? 🙂 ). I don’t keep my deer up year-round but that just makes it feel more Christmassy when I get them out of their storage boxes and put them up.

  5. Janis, you did a great job of combining the two challenges. I love Christmas trees but agree completely that a house can be decorated for Christmas without one. Your decorations are sparkly in all the right ways. Personally, I think tinsel is as controversial as a fruitcake. Single strand vs. toss and land.

  6. I have the same reaction to O Holy Night, Janis. I love the photo of you with your brothers… so sweet! I’m old school when it comes to sending Christmas cards. Merry Christmas!🎄🎁

  7. Your photos are beautiful, Janis, and we share a love of the same Christmas movies. But on fruitcake, we take a different path. I am the only one in my family who likes it. Really likes it! LOL! I have a friend who gives me one every year and I try to limit myself to just a couple of pieces, but I could really eat the whole thing. Sadly, and a bit wastefully, I throw most of it away because absolutely no one wants to share it! 😩

  8. Tinsel!! You just never see that any more. There was a special touch to get it on the tree… evenly… not in big clumps… and not in a mess all over the floor!

  9. Your pictures from childhood make me want to go find my own and reminisce! I can understand not doing a tree – ours is taking up a lot of space in the new house! But I’m willing to deal with it for 4 weeks because I love all our ornaments – most are from trips we’ve taken or inherited. Lots of meaning. I’ve never done a Christmas breakfast. Tamales sounds very SoCal!

    1. The way our living room is set up, we can either have a tree or be able to access the sliding door that leads out to the deck. I vote for deck access 🙂 I have garland in a couple of places so I can hang a few favorite ornaments. Tamales for Christmas breakfast is a Mexican tradition that many of us living in SoCal have adopted. They are wonderful!

  10. I haven’t done the full tree routine for the past two years and except for the nostalgia associated with the individual ornaments I haven’t missed it. I did love unwrapping each ornament and thinking about its origin. I like the softness of your blue and silver color choice – lovely. Your photo of your home with all the cards and tinsel certainly brought a smile. I was never a big fan of tinsel but certainly remember being instructed to put it on one piece at a time and then, of course, having to take it off after the holidays. I sure hope your vaccine wish comes true because we’d certainly all benefit. Merry Christmas!

    1. I had forgotten about the removal of the tinsel (required to be able to compost the tree… and, knowing my mother, probably reused the following year)! As far as putting it on, my mother learned quickly that us kids weren’t very careful so it was easier to do it herself 🙂 I sure hope my Christmas wish comes true. I’m ready to get out and about without restrictions.

  11. Lovely photos and I also admire the reindeer candle holder. It’s spectacular! The photo of your childhood tree brought back memories of my older sisters and I decorating the tree. We started out carefully placing the ‘icicles’ one at a time but would invariably end by throwing them at the tree and at each other. Jolly times!

    1. That sounds like us! It’s hard to stay careful when you are small and you’d really rather be doing just about anything other than putting tinsel on a tree strand-by-strand! I love that candle holder too. It was a post-Christmas sale purchase made years ago and I love putting it up every year.

  12. I love your Christmas wish, Janis! Tinsel on the tree! My, that brings back memories. Mostly of the tinsel hanging out of our cat’s behind a few days after the tree was decorated 🤣. Not a fan of red of green either, although burgundy or pink with green is beautiful. Love your metallic bon bons. Merry ho ho!

    Deb

  13. Great Holiday Commentary – and the visual that The Widow Badass put in my head of her cat reminded me of ours growing up, too…He lived to be close to 20…so I guess the lead didn’t affect him one iota! Course, he was a Siamese indoor cat.
    🙂

  14. Your Christmas wish is spot on! It appears to me that you adore deer. I especially liked the shadow of the deer’s antlers on the wall in the fading light in one of your first photos.

    I almost feel like Christmas is a thing of the past. For me it is, anyway. My only memories are from when I was a kid – and there is one when we threw a fun party for friends on our sailboat in the Caribbean one year – but since then, especially living on the road, the holiday period is not much different than any other week. Other than the annoying Christmas music and crowds in stores. 🙂

    1. I’m not sure how the deer thing started, but I seem to have added a few over the years. I guess I just like their shape. I don’t have a ton but I like what I have.

      Although we aren’t on the road like you, I agree that the holidays aren’t the same BIG DEAL as they were when I was young. It probably has something to do with not having kids or grandkids. I am happy that we avoid all the stress.

  15. You’ve certainly mastered the Christmas blog challenges, Janis! Great photos – new and old. That idea for an outdoor tree is excellent. We bought a smaller fake tree last year that does not require moving furniture around. That makes a difference.

    I love that your “what’s on the table” response included foods. For some reason my mind just thought of decor. Silly me. No thanks on the fruitcake for me, either.

    1. That is funny about your vision of What’s On Your Table? I guess because we don’t set a elegant Christmas table it didn’t occur to me that it wouldn’t be food 🙂 You weren’t the only one to think decor in the responses I’ve read.

      I think if we were ever to have a tree again it would be fake… and small. There just isn’t a good place to put one so I’ve learned to live without.

  16. Great post. Love that deer just like everyone else! Dislike fruitcake but make a fruit bread that is lighter on the fruit and darn tasty. Ah tinsel. Yep 1 strand at a time and I can remember it being taken off an carefully stored in the box (my engineer did this for many years when we were first married. Love the pictures from the past.

    1. Fruit bread sounds better. I don’t like the candies fruit… or maybe it’s the texture of the fruit mixed with the bread or cake. Either way, I don’t think there is a danger of it becoming part of our holiday traditions 🙂 I don’t even know if they sell tinsel anymore, do you? Maybe we don’t have the required patience anymore.

      1. Janis, Oh my engineer could still stand there and put it up strand by strand. Me — I was much more a thrower in bundles so it was another job he took over. Gosh – I should get worse at a few other tasks I don’t like so he does them! Now I am off to find that fruit bread recipe and perhaps make some tonight. Perhaps will do a post about it. Seems everyone has a firm opinion about fruitcakes! Bernie

  17. Your metallic ornaments are exquisite Janis – just the right touch to be festive and easy to tuck away when the holidays are over. I don’t put up a tree anymore, but actually I haven’t put out any decorations the last few years as it’s only me and it looks a little bare here with just the wreath on the door. I have to do better next year. I like the picture of you and your brothers and also your Christmas tree. The song O Holy Night is my favorite Christmas carol – it stirs the soul and I like the version by Celine Dione best of all. I used to watch the holiday kids shows at Christmas faithfully – the old-time ones like “Frosty” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” are my favorites and I have videos in a boxed set of them.

    1. We traveled during the holidays a couple of years ago so didn’t put up any decorations. It felt a little odd, even though I knew we wouldn’t be home. Now, I like to put up a few things just to make the house look festive. I’m working on my husband to put up some lights on the outside. I don’t know about your area, but outdoor lights don’t seem to be a “thing” here anymore, at least not like they used to be.

      1. The neighborhood doesn’t have a lot of Christmas decorations this year. They more than make up for harvest/Halloween decor. Since Thanksgiving, we had some rainy weekend days and a big wind event last Saturday, plus another high wind event that lasted all day today … I think people used the weather as an excuse not to decorate. Lights I like, but people often overdo it with the big inflatables – I don’t care for them, especially when there are multiple ones in a small area.

  18. I loved the photo of your old Christmas tree! That’s what the trees from my childhood looked like too, back when trees were decorated with tinsel that had to be hung one strand at a time. We don’t do tinsel anymore but I still love the look of it. O Holy Night is also my favorite carol.

    1. I love that old picture! It seems that today’s trees are a lot fuller. The trees of my youth had a lot of space for ornaments and, of course, the tinsel filled in around them. I can’t believe my mother had the patience to hang all that tinsel, but I always loved the result!

  19. Definitely agree with blue and silver being superior to red and green. Those are two of my fave colors.
    Funny story: my parents had a potted evergreen tree in their living room. It was just a little thing, but, with the kids gone, they let is pass as their Christmas tree come December and threw some tinsel on it. Eventually, all the needles turned orange but miraculously stayed on. Solution? My dad took it outside and spray painted it green again. Voila! The eternal Christmas rides again! 😛

  20. I like so much here – the metallic and festive vibe – but the oranges steal the show for me – mmmm – they look so good on the tree and I also see so much nourishment – how cool that you grow those

  21. What beautiful photos, Janis. You can decorate my house anytime. I’ll give up the tree for the artistic ornament displays. My mother did the same as yours, placing strands of silver tinsel on the tree one at a time. That photo sure brought back memories. Merry Christmas!

  22. Lovely job combining the two prompts. I love seeing the family photos from your childhood. That Santa in the sleigh was kind of creepy in a way, but your brothers don’t look scared at all. The carefully placed tinsel on the tree (we still do that, I don’t do one strand at a time though?!). And the cards hung on the shelf. Reminds me of my mom, she always hung the cards out as soon as they came in the mail. Fruitcake – the gag gift idea is fun. And, yep, many of my relatives loved it. Me, not so much. Cheers to happy memories and a much happier New Year ahead!

  23. What an adorable post. I love the reindeer light and the tinsel tree. I didn’t recognize Balboa Park but I haven’t been to it very often. My dad moved to SD after he retired. I loved going down there to visit even though the drive down the 5 from Visalia was daunting through LA. My goal at 30 was to teach in Point Loma University some day. Life took me a different direction, but I always loved the city and especially Balboa Park. Wishing you the happiest New Year starting tomorrow! Happy blogging.

    1. I doubt anyone who didn’t visit Balboa Park in the 50s or 60s would have recognized it from the picture. I grew up not too far from Point Loma Nazarene… in fact I had a summer job there when I was in high school (it was Cal Western University at the time). It is a gorgeous campus so I’m not at all surprise you hoped to teach there. Happy New Year to you also!

  24. I wouldn’t have a tree either if my grandson wouldn’t be horrified, Janis. And though I’m not religious either, Silent Night gets me every time. 🙂 Funny, isn’t it. I love your decorations and orange tree, and those old photos are so heartwarming. I know it’s February, but it was fun to get a peek at your holidays. 🙂

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