The Christmas Closet Yard sales, thrift store finds, hand-me-downs and year-end sales

I grew up in Bethlehem Pennsylvania a town dedicated to the spirit of Christmas.  The house I lived in was a modest story and a half cottage style home built by my father over a period of years. Cut into the wall and hidden by a panel of wood was the Christmas closet.  All of my parents Christmas treasures were stored there only to be opened the weekend after Thanksgiving when for me, the festivities began.  Fast forward to the adult “child” who by a convergence of circumstances still lived in the home raising her own children who excitedly waited for the weekend after Thanksgiving to open the hidden Christmas closet.  Christmases came and went and our daughters grew. Then in 2004 a flash flood swept through the neighborhood and the home with its Christmas closet content became just another casualty. But for us there was a silver lining in what at the time was a devastating loss. We moved to the country and began the task of rebuilding our Christmas “closet”. The add-on country farmhouse was bigger than the home my father built.  Years of stalking local thrift stores, perusing end of year-end sales and anxiously accepting the occasional Christmas hand-me-down has allowed me to fill my “Christmas closet”.  This year arrived with an additional blessing, both our daughters with their husbands came home for Christmas.  The first time in ten years we were all together. The home had to honor the Christmas closet.

Kitchen at Christmas

In the kitchen are trash day rescues.  A wooden high chair, small stove, enamel table and four chairs. The chest is a $9.00 thrift store find and the Hoosier a $297.00 antique store rescue.

White NOEL Christmas wreath

The white NOEL is a yard sale find, the little red car was my fathers’ and I made the Christmas trees.

Banjo and Santas at Christmas

The Santa’s were a gift from my daughter, the banjo my fathers’ the house my father built and the angel NOEL a yard sale find.

Tinsel Christmas tree

The Tinsel tree and kaleidoscope  lamp were my mother-in-law finds. Both cost less than $5.00.  

Santas and sled at Christmas

The Santa’s and sled were thrift store finds.

Bethany's Room at Christmas

The dresser was a freebie from a yard sale, the green slipper chair a $2.00 find, The Christmas tree a $1.00 find and the bed the first we bought as a couple!

Becca's room at Christmas

The metal bed was a $65.00 thriftstore find. The curtains were made from a tablecloth and the red chair and skates were yard sale finds. 

Living room at Christmas

The leather sofa was a $40.00 yard sale find, the cedar chest was my grandmother’s the tree an $18.00 triftstore find.

Thriftstore Christmas tree

All the vintage ornaments and beads were yard sale and thrift store finds.  None cost more than $4.00 a box or bag. 

Dream Christmas tree

The artificial tree was a freebie, the dream catchers are from a non-profit trying to solicit donations, the brown garland is packing material the pinecones are from my garden.

Family room Christmas tree

Nothing on the main tree was full price. The ribbon was free from a craft store that was closing. The apple garland a thrift store find. Dried flowers were from the gardens. 

Dining room at Christmas

Even a small dining room holds hidden treasures.  Each item was chosen with care and placed with love. Christmas is indeed a magical time in our home.


A Walk Beyond the Garden

The garden has become familiar.

I know it’s rock walls, the plants who have made it their home.

I’ve shared it’s life, death and rebirth cycles.

Today I walked beyond it’s boundaries and this is what I saw…

A local CSA, Terra Fauna, had planted a plot of Indian corn. Neighbors respect one another and the corn is waiting to be harvested.

Further down the road is the sheep farm. Lambs born this past February and March reach out for freshly cut hay.

Across the street, next to the homestead,

a cow rests in the barn.

Scattered around the property are remnants of farm implements.

Continuing on I pass the silos of a dairy farm. They and the milk tank are all that remain of a once vibrant local industry.

As I make the turn onto Hillside I look back upon  the dairy  farm

and pass homes decorated for Halloween.

My last turn onto Valley View brings my home into view. Once again I will work in the gardens and continue to co-create with Gaia. 


Feed the Birds

Allowing native trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants to  proliferate not only strengthens the web of life it is partnering with Gaia.

Blue Jay bird on sumac

Adding additional food sources to the gardens helps to feed the creatures who share our space.

Chipmunk on sunflower

In eastern Pennsylvania October is the time to help gardens ready for the coming winter.

The potting shed in autumn

It is also a time to help the wildlife around us get ready for darker, colder days.

Downy Woodpecker on sunflower (bird)

Due to their high metabolic rate birds in particular need high-energy foods, those high in calorie and fat content.

Eastern Towhee (bird)

Juniper berries provide this important source of energy, containing 46% carbohydrate and 16% fat.

American robin bird on Eastern Red Cedar

Sunflower seeds contain almost 30 percent fat as well as fiber, protein, calcium, B vitamins, iron potassium and vitamin E.

Tuffed Titmouse on sunflower (bird)

Sharing a space means becoming a caretaker. We are an important part of the web of life. At this moment in time we are the only ones who can completely destroy it or strengthen each strand.

Black-capped Chickadee on sunflower (bird)



Last Night


Oriental lily

Aromatic scents fill the air

Perennial flower border

The earth’s perfume – sweet, earthy, musk and floral notes tease our sense of smell

Sunflower at twilight

 A walk through a garden is experiential

Oriental lilly and Drumstick allium

Ten Thousand Saw I At a Glance – Snow Geese

As I crested the hill all I could think of was  “Ten thousand saw I at a glance”

Ten thousand snow geese

But my thoughts were not dancing with daffodils but flying with snow geese

Single snow goose taking off

Their numbers mimicked a snowy field

Snow geese in field

And when they took to the sky they cast a dark shadow on the ground

Snow geese flying over road

As I got closer the beauty of individual members began to emerge

Snow geeese and Snydersville church


Individual grey snow goose

More than a sea of white feathers the colors of a foggy morning began to stand out

Snow geese in field

And when they soared skyward for the final time their black tipped wings faded in the distance

Snow geese in flight

Snow geese in flight 2

To see snow geese in previous years check out

Feeding Two Birds with One Seed

Snow Geese in Flight Winter Delight

Fly Away


A Glimpse Inside an American Home

Holiday traditions are as unique and varied as the people and countries on our planet. In Eastern Pennsylvania as in other parts of the United States we love to adorn our homes with lights and greenery. Driving through neighborhoods after dark we see how each family chooses to celebrate the holiday season. But I’ve also wondered how families adorn the interior of their homes. If you are like me and wondered what is behind the window, I welcome you to come in and share one family’s celebration!  Happy Holidays however you choose to celebrate!

Livingroom at Christmas 2

Living room at Christmas

Diningroom at Christmas with sled

Potato masher collection
Potato masher collection
Santa Christmas collection
Santa Christmas collection


Santa Christmas collection
Santa Christmas collection


Upstairs bedroom a toy-filled Christmas
Upstairs bedroom a toy-filled Christmas
Upstairs bedroom a deep-woods Christmas
Upstairs bedroom a deep-woods Christmas
Happy Christmas to All!
Happy Christmas to All!