I’ve been decorating for a whimsical Christmas — lots of inspiration for it! Starting with MUSICA . . .


I thought you might like a “Life of Jack” update — and I know everyone thinks their cat is the smartest in the world, but this is actually the smartest kitty in the world. He just is.  You know how cats rub against your legs?  Now every time Jacks walks by me, he doesn’t just rub against my leg, he JUMPS up, his front paws leave the ground, so he can rub against me. He jumps up, then curls around me and comes back and jumps up from the other side.  Do I love it?  Yes!   Then he stretches out on the floor in front of me, full length, so I can rub his belly.

He’s also not as interested in ball-retrieval these days, now he likes rubber band retrieval . . . the thick elastic kind you use on a pony tail.  I shoot them, and he leaps into the air and catches them, or chases them, and brings them back to me.  I tell you he is brilliant! I will be reading a book, feel something come up into my lap, look down, there’s a rubber band.  He’s little too.  Not growing very big, so far, for a 16-month old. He’s a little, smart cat.

He adores the fire.  Curls up in front of it, stares at it, rolls around next to it, naps as close to it as possible . . . to the point where I have to stay there with him, he loves it so much that I’m not too sure yet that he is aware that it is HOT in there.

But, just so you know, Joe and I do leave the house sometimes … we’ve been getting the house ready for Yankee Magazine who, if you read Willard or have been hanging out on this blog, you know, is coming to take photographs of our house!   Here we are at one of our garden centers called Eden.  They always do the cutest things at their entry way!  Nice “roping,” don’t you think?

And we found our tree!  At Vineyard Garden Center.  Thar she blows.  Now to get her home!

I started my paper whites — I save the rocks from year to year; I also found a bag full of moss when we were shopping off-island …  thought it would be pretty to mix in a little bit of green.

Speaking of green, for a while there we could not see a speck of it outside, our lawn was wall-to-wall leaves . . . But Joe made compost out of them . . . and while he was out there raking, he, got an idea, inspired by the roping at Eden. . .

And made this with the bushes in our yard!  Isn’t that great?  I was very impressed!  Who knew that, #1, we had the stuff to make this — even though I should know, I see it every day …. or, #2, Joe would be able to do it! (Although I should know, he can do anything!)

While he was doing that in the yard, I was baking cookies — and, by the way, this recipe is SO Delicious, I’ll put in the next post (this one is already too long!) . . . It’s a chocolate chip cookie different from any other — Joe loved them and so did I!  Good Housekeeping is what we were doing . . . here on Christmas Island.

And then Joe, even more inspired now … came in and surprised me with this!  We usually buy wreaths and put our own bows on them . . . but he got the urge to try making one; went out there and cut more Chinese and English Boxwood, Holly, Ivy and Pine — and look how cute it turned out, all fresh and perky!  I hope he realizes what he has gotten himself into.  One is seriously not enough.

My job was to add the toys, the bow, bird, and pears!

So he went back out and brought in a whole box of greens for me to play with!  I love whimsy; a little decorating-sense-of-humor is a good thing at the holidays, but I also love tradition.  When you google Decorating Whimsical Christmas, there are lots of white trees, bright pink, turquoise, and silver ornaments.  I love looking at the pictures of this . . .

. . . because they are full of creativity and joy … BUT I’ve never quite gotten over the old-fashioned traditional things, and need to have them!  When I think of Christmas, I remember how I saw it as a child when I was at my most personally whimsical (believing with all my heart in the magic) . . .   sparkle, and lights, candles, color, stories, singing, cookies …  pure magic!  That’s still what I love.  I want whimsy, but now I’m grown up, I know about tradition, and I need my old things too. 

Like wreaths and roping made from traditional greens that are green, my little trees in the window sills, or my bird tree on the table . . .  I had fun playing with the leaves and branches over the windows — I just poked everything under the curtain rod!

And talk about whimsy, these were the “men” sitting in the “yard” of a gingerbread house on display in a coffee shop downtown!  Aren’t they adorable?  I think it’s marzipan … my favorite part is the tiny chocolate shots stuck in the top of the heads!  With whimsy, the sky is the limit!

But this probably as traditionally whimsical as I get . . . my bird tree.  I’ve had it for years and years, and guess what?  It’s been up for a week, and Jack hasn’t touched it yet!  It’s on the kitchen table, just over his food bowl, and he just isn’t interested. Knock on wood.

Rachel, my English girlfriend, gave me this tiny precious cup; I brought home leaves from our walk, another little bird and voila! Nature whimsy!

Plus of course my little old house that I found at an island flea market, it goes on top of the stove, like every year …

I’ve also been setting out my old quilts, which Girl loves . . .

 I took this picture last year . . . it’s the ornament I got the year I move to the island.  Now that’s a tradition!

And of course I have to do my shelf-scape of Beatrix Potter People; they needed a few trees and pears. 

And there’s not too much more traditional than Christmas apples and old books . . .

Yesterday Joe and I carried the tree down the driveway and around to the front door, which is the best way to bring in a tree at our house, through the front hall, causing the least amount of damage, both to us, and to the house, and there she is!  She smells wonderful!!!  When we get her trimmed and ready for prime time, I’ll be sure to show you!

I am not done decorating by any stretch of the imagination, I have the fireplace to do, the Peter Rabbit room, and lots of other spots.  Which is where I’m going now.  But first off, I remember how much you liked the picture of the beautiful cardinal on the feeder outside my kitchen window, and was thinking, what would the girlfriends like for a Holiday Giveaway . . . ???  Something whimsical would be just right, I think!

And I thought, maybe this little notebook, of the boy bird feeding the girl bird, the way it should be in real life at all times!  And then, of course, because I love mine so much, you really must have one of these darling new mugs we just got in.  They are just like the bird cup . . .  four pieces, the cup, the lid, a mesh basket inside for loose tea, and a saucer for your cookie!  So cute …

So yours.  And the little pad opens up, is perfect purse-size for little winter notes . . .

And one more thing.  Joe says he will make you

One of these!  And I will decorate it!  And we will send it along with the mug and the cardinal notepad, so we can wish you a Merry Everything girlfriends, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Soltice, or as Jerry Seinfeld called it, “Festivus!”

 To be entered in the drawing, just leave me a little message in the comment section (if this blog is being emailed to you, you have to click here, www.; scroll to the bottom of this post, click on the tiny word “comments”); in a few days, our Winning Name will be pulled by the wonderful and beautiful Vanna . . . and I will announce it here.  Joe will make that wreath at the last moment so it will be fresh! 

We say Bye for now!  We would jump up and rub your legs if you were here!  xoxo

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3,031 Responses to WHIMSICAL CHRISTMAS

  1. patricia says:

    You are so putting me in the mood for Christmas. Reading your blog always gives me a warm and toasty feeling. What a gem you have in that Joe of yours, him offering to make a wreath for one of your “girlfriends”. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    • Debi Fenton says:

      Love reading your blog Susan. I am a New England transplant now living in congested So Cal…..and you and your blog are like balm to my soul. Tho I have lived here for 31 years, I am still home sick for New England. Funny how your story and mine are somewhat mirror images of each other just in reverse. Have a wonderful Christmas and thank you for all you do.

      • sbranch says:

        I know how you feel — I always say I have been homesick for my whole life — no matter where I am, I miss the other side! We started spending more time in California some years back, but it didn’t work … I had spent so many years in New England, it had become my real and true home; I found out by trying to live in CA again! Now the seasons mean even more to me than they did before.

  2. Brittany says:

    Hello Susan! Just wanted to let you know you inspire even the young generation. At the ripe age of 24 I am married with a sweet 5 month old baby boy. Moved away from my family when I Wed, but your recipes, decor and crafts send warmth to me
    I am currently redecorating with styles similar to yours since they feel so homey. Thank you Susan for helping my home sickness.

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Brittany — and just starting out making all of your own traditions for your family. How wonderful; a world of creativity awaits you! ♥

  3. Edie Olson says:

    Ahhh! I love your post as usual. Very inspirational. It all brings a sense of order and peace. Thank you so much.

  4. Susan Monroe says:

    Hi Susan,
    Thank you so much for your beautiful work. I look at your books over and over. Your blog is great! Thanks so much for cheering us up and making us thankful. My Mom and I are looking at your blog tonight with what my Dad used to refer to as “the confuser”. The wreaths you and Joe are making are so beautiful, and Mom and I are admiring your Christmas decorations so much. Merry Christmas and healthy, happy New Year to You, Joe, Jack and Girl Kitty. We love you all forever!

    • sbranch says:

      Hi to you Susan and your mom and your dad! 🙂 Was he referring to the computer as the “confuser?”

  5. Marianne says:

    Your beautiful home is such a restful place to come to several times during my week. It’s so fun to see some of the old decorations like the bird tree and the house you put on your stove come back out. I was so impressed with Joe’s garlands and wreaths. I also love your kitties. My husband is allergic so we can’t have cats but I have a wonderful Australian Shepard/Dalmation named Cinnamon. Merry, Merry Christmas!! You have blessed me all year long.

  6. kit says:

    Oh you are such a sweetie! What a lovely give-away. Your blog makes me feel so festive. 🙂 Kit

  7. Jennie Lavezzo says:

    Thank you for these amazing posts! You were just what I needed to get in the spirit after a rough year. I went out into my tiny patch of woods in the rain! and cut greenery red leaves and stopped by the overgrown herb garden for some lavender I hadn’t cut back. Put all the sprigs in a grapevine wreath (but need another wreath if course) then brought some in for the shelf of the cutout between the kitchen and dining room/living room- tiny house. But “things taste better in small houses”. And it is so pretty. And then had a bubble bath with Christmas music and hot cocoa.

    • sbranch says:

      And there is also something about doing all of this in the “weather” — the rain, that lightens your heart, makes you feel attached to the earth, feeling self sufficient. With that bath, it sounds like a red letter day to me!

  8. Connie Haltermann says:

    Merry Christmas, Susan! I’m loving your magic cookie jar again. I have all your cookbooks with the recipes, but especially enjoy going straight to the jar for inspiration and instructions during this busy time of the year. Thanks for adding such merriment to all the hustle and bustle!

  9. Kirsten Anne from So. Calif. says:

    Your house is looking so beautiful for Christmas!! I love all the homemade decorations. You give me so much inspiration!

    I’ve been eyeing that cute cup with the peppermint on top for awhile now! I’m sure I will be buying myself one along with the brown bird cup. Sounds like the start of a new collection! I hope you will be looking to add another soon!

  10. cindi leonard says:

    Dear Susan, I love checking your blog to inspire me when I’m in a slump.It doesn’t take long and I’m back to cleaning or decorating.I’d did buy the Christmas in Connecticut movie…Hilarious!I also have 2 agree no one sings Christmas music like Dean or Frank.Thanks for providing so much inspiration.May God bless your sweet home this Christmas! Cindi Leonard Sun Valley California

  11. Vivian Sutton says:

    Hi Susan;
    It’s funny, I was just thinking today that I would give wreath making a try- to be crafty and thrifty. It would be easier though to hope that I would win one made by Joe!
    Merry Christmas to you, Joe, Girl Kitty, and Jack
    You are a gift to me every time I read your blog- it is a place to rest and just enjoy the sweet things in life.

  12. Linda says:


    Love, love, love your blog, your “Willard”, your books, EVERYTHING you do!! And how neat it would be to have a beautiful wreath made by a fella (Joe) from my hometown (which was a wonderful place to grow up in!)!! Wishing you, Joe, and your beautiful fur-kids a very blessed Christmas and a New Year filled with God’s richest blessings! ~ Linda

  13. Mary Jean Price from Cleveland, Ohio says:

    Hi Susan,

    Merry Christmas!

    I just gave your Autumn book, as a welcome gift, to a family who recently moved into the neighborhood. She was so delighted to receive it, loved the entire book and plans on making many of the recipes and use so many of the ideas in their new home! It makes me happy to introduce her to Susan Branch! Thank you for being such a treasured friend!

  14. Karen Kinlaw, Spivey's Corner, NC says:

    Thank you so much, as always, for all the inspiration!

  15. Connie Muhlenkamp says:

    It’s always such a pleasure to receive your Willard and to sit quietly, enjoying your child-like sense of joy and peace. Thanks for reminding me again where true happiness comes from!!

  16. Jenny D says:

    Your blog is such an inspiration! It makes me feel so happy! Wishing you a wonderful Christmas Season!

  17. Alicia says:

    Everytime I read your blog, I discover something else that I have either forgotten or that calls to me & becomes a new favorite. My favorite movie of all time is “The Bishop’s Wife.” No one ever knows what I’m talking about & at last, someone (YOU!!) did! When I’m reading your blog, I feel like I’m sharing a cuppa with you, in your cozy kitchen. Thanks for always inviting us in.

    • sbranch says:

      Such a magical movie, makes everyone feel good! I play it even when I’m not watching it, as background “music” during the holidays. Gives a sense of relaxation and comfort to our house. xo

  18. Kathy Cawthon says:

    Love receiving “Willard” and looking at your beautiful photos and illustrations. Love Jack, too 🙂 He looks so much like our Lulu. Hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday season and a blessed new year!

  19. Lin says:

    What a sweet thing to do, Susan! Loved catching up with you today – watching you decorate your home, absorbing all the Christmas spirit. All we need is just a little snow now, the kind that will line everything with glittery goodness!

  20. Lynn van wingerden says:

    I just wanted to thank you for making me “believe “again. Being divorced after 38 years of marriage, can make holidays hard. Getting into the “Christmas Spirit” sometimes takes more out of me than I think I have. But after reading your blog and seeing magic in your photos and words, I am energized again and wanting to contiue with the memories and traditions that my kids have grown up with. Thank you for giving me back the “spirit” of Christmas.

  21. Heather says:

    Ahhh… FINALLY other people that know and love “The Bishop’s Wife! ” yeah!
    Along with all your other great things here and much needed inspiration to get my “groove ” back. I’m excited to know here I will find other kindred spirits and which is calming and exciting at the same time! Your site and your fans are awakening my long lost creative thoughts and ideas that I thought were lost to me forever!
    Did anyone see movie “Miss Potter” about the life of Beatrix Potter?
    A really wonderful movie staring Renee Zellwiger (sp?) I recently discovered at my library.
    Also I’m the mamma of a young female “tuxedo ” cat by the name of Prancer. She prances up to be patted and started lounging on the roof of my home a year ago before she decided to adopt me. She is the fastest, unique, very intuative, and one of the smartest cats I have known…and fast as the wind… I think she can fly!
    I read recently tuxedo cats have a very high IQ and I believe!

  22. Joan Kohler says:

    Oh the joy of reading your posts and Willard. Love ALL of your creativity and copy much. Thank you for your generosity of ideas and spirit!

  23. Holly Phillips says:

    Susan, I have been following you for years. I love your books, recipes, cards, stickers, albums, etc. etc! I, like you, grew up in a sunny climate – southern Florida – and when I went to Kentucky for college, I fell in love with the seasons. I now live in Northern California, and get my “season fix” from your calendar, books, and blog. Thank you for bringing that beauty into the lives of people who can’t look out their window and see it for themselves. Merry Christmas!

  24. Yvonne Gonzalez says:

    Oh Susan, what a fun and generous thing for you to do…wow.

    Yours is the first blog I go to whenever I sit down with a cup of coffee and catch up on some fun reading. I love how you take us all along with you on your adventures, share your lovely home and recipes with us. I’ve watched your videos of your beautiful garden here in Cali and wondered how you could have ever left, but then I see you enjoying your new home so much I understand (smile).

    God bless your Christmas, and New Year!

    Yvonne, Thousand Oaks, California

  25. kathy holder says:

    i have been a fan since 1990 when my sister gave me “christmas from the heart of the home” as a christmas present. i believe i own every book you have written since then. (except the girlfriend one which i have bought for my sister and several girlfriends. no one got the hint i guess to reciprocate!) when available i buy the purse and wall calendar. you always inspire me with crafts and recipes that are timeless and become traditions in my home. i am so excited to have found your blog! now i can keep up with you on a regular basis. i sat at my computer for an hour or more reading all the old posts. thank you for all you do and sharing you wonderful talents!

  26. Ann says:

    Just reading your blog today has left me with fizzing and popping with Christmas-ness, and who knew your man was so talented. Joe is really showing us his “green fingers” with his beautiful festive greenery, enjoy!
    Love from Ann in Thame x

  27. beth says:

    We lost several evergreen trees and bushes in Hurricane Sandy. My husband wanted to cut them down and remove them right away, but I convinced him to keep them stuck half-way in the ground until Christmas. I knew I could use the greens somehow, and now Joe’s craftiness has given me exactly the project to do! I’ll turn destruction into decorations!

  28. sandy says:

    Good morning Susan, nice to see you here, again. I read this last night and it made me think of you. “Wonder is that possession of the mind that enchants the emotions while never surrendering reason.” Ravi Zacharias.

    have a blessed day, FOSB sandy 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Wonderful! Not surrendering reason, very good, I like that! Thank you Sandy!

      • sandy says:

        Hi! it made me think of the canned bread use, for one example.

        • sbranch says:

          Right! Keeping your common sense. Like your mind might be enchanted by a tall steep mountain of white snow, but you wouldn’t want to (if you’re me) surrender reason by trying to ski down the face of it. This would be bad common sense for me!

          • sandy says:

            ah, yes! I have a lovely view of the snowy Olympics. love to look at them. do not want to drive/play/fall down in them!

            I must thank you for getting me reacquainted with old movies I love. I realized I can check dvd’s out from my library and have Swing Time sitting here for tonite. Charade and Holliday Inn are on the way! tnx!!

          • sbranch says:

            Isn’t Swing Time Wonderful? All of them! Good for you, old movies always put me in such a good mood. Love it when they make me cry!

  29. Nancy Marin says:

    Whenever I’m feeling a bit nostalgic and just want to relax, I grab a cup of tea and read your blog or website. You never fail to inspire and uplift, especially at Christmastime. I’ve been looking at all your cookie recipes and getting in the mood to bake up some batches to share with friends and family. I’d better get busy. Thanks for bringing such joy to so many! Merry Christmas to you and Joe!

  30. Sue in Denver says:

    Your blog is filled with such holiday spirit–I’ve turned into such a scrooge the last few years–too much trouble to decorate. Your pictures and words have me at least THINKING about decorating! 🙂

  31. Danielle says:

    I just love stopping by your blog for a little heartwarming inspiration. I’m reading all these homesick comments and I must agree–I’m in a constant state of homesickness. Why can’t all our loved ones live together in a cozy neighborhood? 🙂 Lovely giveaway–I’m excited for whoever wins the delightful holiday treats!

    • sbranch says:

      I know, I sometimes wish we kids could all move back in with our parents — who’s idea was it that we have to grow up? Crazy thinking!

  32. Laurie Austin says:

    Hi Susan! Catching up on your blog today and loving all the ideas and inspiration!
    Have been a fan for a long time and know I can always come away with a rekindling of Holiday Spirit. Thank you!!

  33. Marianne Maurer says:

    That is so lovely! Count me in!! Hope I’m not too late!!! Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!! Blessings and Joy!!!

  34. Lorraine says:

    Susan you are such an inspiration ! I hope all goes well with your Yankee magazine photo shoot ! How exciting ! You should take a day of R & R afterwards…I can see it will be well deserved ! Merry Christmas to you and Joe and the Kitties !

  35. Laurie says:

    Hi Susan,
    I love reading your blog. When ever I am feeling down I just click and read you! (and when I’m feeling good too!)
    Thanks for all the inspirational words and GREAT photography.

  36. Amanda Ricks says:

    I so love reading about your life in Martha’s Vineyard. Reading your blog is inspiring me to take up quilting again and even maybe adding a kitty to the family. I love reading about what Jack and Girl Kitty are up to! 🙂 I love seeing how you decorate for every holiday. Reminds me of how I used to do before the house became an “empty nest”. Thank you! Reading your blog makes me happy!

  37. Beth says:

    I really enjoy your blog so much. I, too have many Beatrix Potter figurines and I just love your idea of having a Peter rabbit room.
    May your holidays be filled with peace and joy.

  38. Gale from Pocono Manor, Pa. says:

    Well certainly your house will be beautiful by the time of the photo shoot, Susan. And when it’s all over and the cameras are put away, you can cuddle on the couch, take a deep breath and bask in the beauty you have created. Just inhale the satisfaction and know that you have created, again, another triumph! Well done.
    For me:
    I need to “find” Christmas most years. Now that I’m in my sixties, children grown, parents, aunts and uncles all have passed. I bring out the memories like presents that I unwrap and spend time with. Our Christmas chairs around the table are few in number now, but I know they will be filled with grandchildren someday, my husband and I are just in the “in between time” presently. I know there’s a good chance that our family will begin to grow again…..just waiting it out. And so, some years, and there are other people like me, who just can’t find “the feeling”….the real old Christmas feeling you had when you were a kid. Do you know what I mean? You go through all the Christmas motions and build up to the day and wonder when will that “old Christmas feeling” come? I carry on…the days are passing. I am patient. I carry on and all of a sudden “something” speaks to me…something quiet. It could be an old Christmas song. …the art on the cover of a beautiful Christmas card, a perfect poem inside. Something quiet, a stillness. A wintry, star-lit night, the first flakes of snow, the beauty of a single candle burning in a window…. All of a sudden… in the stillness of that moment… Christmas arrives. It can’t be forced. Christmas comes to me on it’s own time. It comes. And it is a “gift”. And I am thankful.
    May you Susan, Joe and all the readers reading this be visited by that wonderful old-fashioned Christmas feeling like the one I am writing about…
    Merry Christmas to all!

  39. Lisa Nelson-Jones East Tn says:

    Hope I’m not too late for the drawing!! I’m behind in my Susan posts!!

  40. Pam says:

    Dear Susan
    You are really pushing me to get in the mood , I put 2 trees up one to decorate with all the ornaments and one charlie brown tree – ONE ornament, after reading your blog I may be pushed to unpack the tree and decorate like you have your whole home, it is so beautiful!! Thank you for all the books and extra special items you share! I love all of your items but now love the decorating, HMMMM am I going to got and JUST DO IT!
    Have a Wonderful Holiday!

  41. Ainsley says:

    I just love all your decorations, especially the beautiful wreaths!!! Merry Christmas!:)

  42. Mary L. says:

    I so enjoy your blog and am particularly impressed with Joe’s wreath and garland talent. What a guy! Thanks for the opportunity to participate in this great give-away.

  43. Janet Dailey says:

    Susan, I have to admit that I have never used the blog but I love reading all about what you are doing in preparation for Christmas. I have been a fan of yours for many years. It’s exciting that Yankee is coming to visit and do an article about you and your home. I’m looking forward to seeing it next year. Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year! Hugs!!

  44. Bonnie in New Orleans says:

    Thank you so much for sharing pictures of Jack. I wish for you as many smiles as you give me but without the wrinkles.

  45. Jeanne Howison says:

    Thank you for your beautiful blog – so fun to read and look at all the Christmasy decorations. We had a fire here at our home so Christmas is delayed. We are all ok so that’s what really matters. Merry Christmas – looking forward to that best ever Chocolate chip cookie recipe. Thanks Susan

  46. Cindy Johnson says:

    I love natural decorations – I always think of the lovely things at Williamsburg… Tell your sweet husband – he has talent! I also love the old Christmas stories where the families (Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little Women, and so many more) had to “make do” with what they had and made their homes festive with natural decorations, candles, and yummy smells!! Thank you Susan! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      It’s not that hard to do really, apples are wonderful, strings of popcorn and cranberries, bowls of tangerines … nature gives us so much.

  47. Lori from MN says:

    Dear Susan~ Thanks for sharing your holiday decorating. I was wondering one thing, though. Do you think you could clone Joe and send him my way? I love my husband dearly but he doesn’t make beautiful wreaths and roping like that. Just thought I’d ask ; )

  48. Liz says:

    It is damp and rainy and foggy here…a perfect day to stay in and finish decorating. And I am with you…old (and getter older) and traditional. But it is just the thing for our 80-year old Tudor cottage. Thank you for being such wonderful company across every season!

  49. Connie McKenzie says:

    Love, love your blog. I really enjoy all your publications. Even though I have never met you, it feels like we are the best of friends. I always look forward to reading everything you have to share. You always inspire me. Thank you so much. Merry Christmas!

  50. Pat says:

    I so enjoy all that you do and share with those of us via your blog,Willards etc. It makes my day to read your words and enjoy your art and Music…..I adore Jack and think you are so fortunate for all of Joe’s many talents ~you make such a lovely and special team. Thank You for the sunshine you share !!!

  51. Julie H from Michigan says:

    Merry Christmas Susan!

    Love to hear of your cats. Your Jack sounds so intelligent! I get so inspired by your blog. I love all the homey things you make. My first book I received by you was Christmas Joy. Every Christmas I set it out in my living room and read through it and try different recipes. I love the garland Joe made for you. I always looks for wreaths with various types of greenery in them. I love the different shades of green and textures. Have a very Merry Christmas to you and Joe!


  52. Susie says:

    MERRY CHRISTMAS….. after that lovely posting what else matters looking forward to the chocochip recipe I start my baking next week. YEA! Love u Susan

  53. My favorite tea lately is peach, made by Bigelow. It would taste wonderful made in that cup. Thank you for your blog, and for sharing.

  54. Susie says:

    MERRY CHRISTMAS….. after that lovely posting what else matters looking forward to the chocochip recipe I start my baking next week

  55. Patty says:

    you’ve inspired me to start decorating. You have such pretty whimsical things all around your house!

  56. Linda says:

    Hi Susan, I just found the link to your blog at another blog. I’m familiar with your books at the library where I volunteer. Love, love, love all the colors, words, etc that you share.

  57. Victoria says:

    Dear Susan,
    I love your decorations that you and Joe made, pure, simple and beautiful!
    Years ago I made a Christmas tree with birds. It was one of my favorites ever!… but I haven’t gotten it out for years since the kitties also thought it was magnificent and just couldn’t… no matter what!… leave the birdies alone. It was one of those trees with a tall trunk that they used to sell years ago, I covered it with strings of white lights and birds and I sprinkled it with fake snow. I wish I would have taken a picture of it in all it’s glory, with the lights shining under the snowdrifts on the branches and snow sprinkled on all those cute little bird heads……. That is …before they got attacked, wounded and some even disappeared while the snow drifts got spread all over the living room.. but it was enchanting for a little while!
    It is so exciting having your Heart of the Home featured in Yankee magazine! They made just the right choice! We girls will boost their sales for sure!

  58. Flo Krebs says:

    You need to tap into Joe’s hidden talents more often…nice wreath! Looking forward to the cookie recipe. Still having trouble accessing Willard’s “cookie jar”. I’ve used it in years past so I know it works. Merry Christmas!!

  59. Gale Puffenberger says:

    Your house always looks so cozy! It makes me feel Christmas-y just looking at all the decorations. Thank you for sharing your home with us.

  60. Mary Buffon says:

    I hadn’t thought of brown bread in years, my mom served it with baked beans, so good!
    I miss your store in Arroyo Grande, we live in Santa Cruz, California and go down to Santa Barbara/Solvang once a year for our anniversary trip. A couple years we stopped at your store, I loved all the beautiful things.
    Love your website.

  61. mary surchek says:

    Hi susan
    love all your holiday decorations, simple and lovely! I was pleasantly surprised to see your use of

  62. mary surchek says:

    Rose chintz dishes are a favorite at our house! They are used on
    Daily basis. So very charming

  63. Janie says:

    Oh Susan! I am so inspired by your creative decorating. Our son just got home from Afg last night, and we are all so in the mood. He asked me to make sure and get the cookie recipe. Tell Joe he is adorable~and a minor threat to hubbies!
    Merry Christmas!

  64. Elizabeth Bucell says:

    I love your energy and creative talent. Your prizes are so lovely but could you also add Jack? My Prince Albert would find him to be a fun playmate! God bless you all at Christmastime.

  65. Pat S says:

    Hi, Susan! I love reading your blog and truly enjoy the photos of your home and decorating – and how I would love to win that mug, it is the BEST! Thanks for being so generous and thanks to Joe’s creative talents as well!

  66. Meleah Shelton says:

    Have loved your books and calendars for years! Beautiful art work!

  67. Gina says:

    I love your Blog, hearing you describe your childhood Christmas memories, takes me back to mine and makes the holidays so special, thanks for sharing. Love the wreath!!!!

  68. Timecard24 says:

    Susan,I love your blog.You are an inspiration to us all. Most of all, I love your kitties. They are so content you can tell they are spoiled

  69. Carolyne says:

    I have made a cedar garland every year for…..well, years….but, now I am loving the multi-green one made by your dear Joe~!
    I think I’ll have to “branch out” a bit and try a new one like his ♥~! heh heh heh

    Merry Christmas with lots of {{{hugs}}}

  70. sandy Williams says:

    I just opened your Christmas from the heart of the Home which was given to me Dec. 8th 1992 by my best friend Tobi. Im making the cornflake wreaths to send to my son who is a senior in college in Colorado. They are his favorite. I have all of your cookbooks and I always get a great sense of what the world was like before it got so technical by reading your cookbooks and now I found your website. You inspire me with all the good and warmth a family and friends bring into your life. All the simple things. Thank you for that. Sandy

  71. Christie Montgomery says:

    Love your blog. Jack is acting like a dog would. Pictures of him make me smile. He has the most adorable face. My daughter has a dog that acts like she’s a cat. Joe did an awesome job on the wreath.

  72. Stacey Wilson says:

    Just started polishing silver candlesticks and pulling out the decorations – your activities inspire so many in your lovely life. I can’t believe we are in December already on our Susan Branch calendars – my family laughs at me because I buy myself a blotter and wall calendar, wrap them and place them under the tree for me ever year! Those are two gifts I must have! Merry Christmas!

  73. Stephanie D says:

    Those wreaths are GREAT! 🙂

  74. Ann Solomon says:

    Susan, dear, though your home is lovely, your cats delightful, and your husband a gem, it’s you that charms. Your zest for the small, near things…your delight in life’s freest treasures, you dear soul, remind all of us, when we read your blog that we, too, can find the delight that is available to us, close to hand, if we but look for it. I think we all bless you and thank you….for being you and for availing us of your joy.

  75. Natalie W. says:

    I really love all your stuff! My mom has been a big fan since I was really little and she has always shared with me the cute cookbooks, little books, Christmas tea/coffee pot and mugs, and ornaments that she has. I really love your Christmas “Cookie Jar”! My mom has shown me these on your website before, but since I’m in college I don’t always have time to bake. However, I am home from school now and have a whole month to bake anything and anytime I want, I will be trying some of them out soon! Thanks for the great website, artwork, inspiration and fun!

  76. Anita Trujillo says:

    It snowed last night here in Colorado Springs. (Finally.) I re-read your Christmas book, like I do every year about this time and it really got me in the holiday spirit. Hi Joe. Thank you Susan for all that you given us.

  77. Cindy says:

    I simply love you, Susan. Everything little thing you do, and every joy you bring. All the beauty and sweetness in life can be found right here on your blog. Lovely, just lovely. Thank you, and love, love. love you!

  78. Nancy Roth says:

    Can I come over and have a cup of tea with you? How fun that would be! I just love to read your blog. You are so inspiring!! Merry Christmas and the Best of the New Year to you and Joe!!

  79. i LOVE the blogs, and the photos! and the people who help you create your art… they are precious to my heart as they adopted my rescue kittens…i hope YOU ALL have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!
    i was so inspired with the garlands, i may make a few!

  80. Debbie says:

    I absolutely love your blog! It does my heart so much good to read it! Thank you so much for taking the time to write it.

  81. kathy says:

    I love reading your blog and being able to see a touch of your wonderful decorating. Thank you for sharing.

  82. Susan says:

    Merry Christmas! Joe’s wreath gets an A+,but who’s grading it anyway? Just beautiful. Thanks for the Christmas inspirations, pictures and great colors of it all. Such fun to get your blog to pop up & sit myself down to read it.

  83. Rhonda D. says:

    A very beautiful post Susan. My heart has always been very similar to yours – magical and whimsical. But for some reason, I ended up thinking that that part of me needed to be hidden or shouldn’t be allowed to shine through (??). I now realize that left a huge part of me quite dead. Thank you for giving me permission to “be an elf,” and to let the magic within me come to life again. Christmas and becoming a grandmother (oh heck, life in general) is the perfect backdrop for that to happen. I absolutely love the greens Joe put together. He’s amazing. (Of course, living with you definitely has its perks. He’s paying attention). Nothing screams traditional Christmas like live garlands and wreaths. It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas at your house – complete with the cozy kitties sleeping by the fire and on the quilts. Ahhhhhh!!

    • Rhonda D. says:

      P.S. We’re getting snow here in the maritimes tomorrow. I just need to borrow a cat from someone to make it the perfect Christmas decorating day in December!!

    • sbranch says:

      Love that Rhonda, welcome home to you!

      • Rhonda D. says:

        Yes Susan, welcome home to me. The snow has started coming down here this morning…very quickly actually. It’s like it’s raining snow. All the schools have been cancelled. The first snowfall in particular (actually all of them) always makes me sooo excited. I’ll put on Andy Williams, Al Martino and Bing Crosby Christmas tunes and just enjoy the day. I can’t have a cat…my husband is very alergic. But my little pomeranian, Lucie, I swear is half cat, so she’ll have to be my pretend cat on this snowy December day. Happy Monday everyone! I’ll wish some Christmas snow your way Susan.

  84. Sarah says:

    Each new post you write is like a wonderful little treat I get to have! I love your blog, your beautiful home, and wonderful little Jack!! I’m so glad you write here so often!

  85. Sarah says:

    Sorry, Susan–my blog link was wonky on my first comment. I’ve fixed it 🙂

  86. Mary Weir says:

    Pretty neat to think of having a wreath made and decorated by the two of you! Don’t know if you ever watched the show “The O.C.” (pure soap/guilty pleasure TV, but our sons’ high school is “over the border” in Orange County so I watched it) and they celebrated “Chrismukkah” to have “Eight days of presents, followed by one day of MANY presents.” Those four Chrismukkah episodes were sweet and would still be fun to watch.

  87. Teresa Johnson says:

    Reading your blog is like going for a walk and breathing in fresh air!

  88. Carolyn VM says:

    Thank you for warming my memories so they wrap around my head and smell good.

  89. Jayne says:

    Whimsy! That is the exact right word of what I’m hoping to achieve in my cozy home. Thanks for the inspiration, Susan, and for sharing the warmth of the season!

  90. I am originally from Indiana and I sure don’t miss the cold, but when you talk about the wintertime, it sounds and feels so enticing….but alas, Florida has no snow, but Christmas is wonderful and exciting wherever you may be…Merry Christmas to all the girlfriends out there and you dear Susan….hugs

  91. Carla Henn says:

    Good morning, I would love to win the “give away”. I will probably not be decorating this year. I am busily moving and unpacking my 84 year old mother. We are enjoying the process but there is no time to decorate.

    After seeing you blog on Saturday I made myself a garland like the one you have in your window “Merry Christmas” I used a long piece of tatting and strung the letters Merry Christmas” with straight pins; so that’s it for decorating. Thanks for the idea.

    Enjoy your BLOG so very much. Also, enjoying the FOGT newsletter.

    Merry Christmas to all. Peace on Earth.

  92. Janet M. says:

    What a wonderful time of the year. We have so much fun trying to squeeze our traditions in with everyone’s wild schedules. A stack of holiday CD’s on my desk at work keeps me in the proper mood while also dealing with end-of-the-year employee appraisals (I’d much rather be baking cookies at home!). Have a very Merry Christmas – your blog brings a smile to my mornings!

  93. DebbieS says:

    Dear Susan, once again I feel I have visited you in your warm, snug home. Tea and a chat to start my day. Hope you have fun with the folks from Yankee!

  94. Suzi Knapp-Burseth says:

    Please enter me in your drawing! I would love to have a wreath made from the wonderful things you grow in your yard. Thank you for your blog. It grounds me and help me get through my busy day in my little cubicle!

  95. Janet from Pgh, Pennsylvania says:

    What a lovely blog post. It is really putting me in the mood for Christmas. How nice of Joe to offer to make that beautiful wreath for one of your readers. Thanks to both of you and a very Merry Christmas to you both.

  96. Maia Miller says:

    I love the banner so cute. Does Jack have a small staff to keep him photo ready? He looks like he poses for the pictures. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.

  97. Mary Eva Ross says:

    Hi Susan. Merry Christmas! Hope that someday you give a “mini course” on planting paperwhites. I have always wanted to try, but am never quite sure how to do it? You always do such a great job showing us how to do so many things. p.s. I’ve never seen a kitty face I didn’t love, but I have to say Jack’s is really really cute.

  98. Robin C says:

    Happy Holidays!! We just got our tree yesterday & I am ready to being the decorating frenzy! Woo Hoo! Love your blog!!

  99. KathyRS says:

    I have to take notes when I read your blog and Willard! So many things to try – so little time! Thank you for the inspiration! ok… check bushes for greenery supplies, pull all of the birds together on one tree, make garland with yarn
    and tiny letters spelling “Merry Christmas”, take more pictures of my cat, Smoke! whew….

  100. PAULA says:

    Susan, your comments were done at 3:30? When do you sleep? Just wanted you to know that we do appreciate what you do for every one of us, but do take care of yourself. And Jack, being a superior cat, knows when to pose, especially in front of the fire. You needn’t worry about him, he’ll do his part. I hope we get to see some of his particularly artistic pictures. I’m certain he will add to the decor. Your home is lovely, you have given the crew plenty to work with. Oh, Merry, Merry.

    • sbranch says:

      I sleep from around 8 pmish to around 3 or 4. I’m just on a different schedule — unless we go out. But I find that nothing happens for me after 8 or 9 pm — just staring at TV or something, so I changed my sleep pattern so I have more morning, quiet time.

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