No, it’s not really snowing here. In fact, it’s snowing in West Texas. Snowing in West Texas BEFORE it snows in New England. Call the weather police! But we don’t care! Let’s pretend it’s a marshmallow world out there! MUSICA!  Better go get yourself a cup of something hot to drink, keep warm, brrr. 

So beautiful. I worry that someday people will read about the four seasons in a book, see old photos of snow and falling leaves and fields of daffodils on blogs like mine, and think, “Oh how quaint!” My poor baby California is on fire right now. 😥 Please say a prayer, there is no good time to lose your home, but Christmas must be the worst. And pray for the  brave firefighters and first responders 😘 ~ that they be kept safe. The thing I know is that everyone will gather to comfort and help each other as always in times of trouble, because that’s who we are. Have you seen THIS? It’s a video of a man saving a bunny from the fires. Come back and see it later . . . it’s so wonderful it will make you cry.

 I’m sure our snow will come soon . . .  it’s cold here.

Isn’t imagination a luv-lee thing?

We’ve had a fire almost every night.

In these quiet few days before all the festivities get going . . . while we’re decorating and wrapping and sending gifts across the sea.

Our boy is stretched out . . .

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Love this photo with the early morning shadows across the kitchen while I was polishing up the gravy boats, getting things ready.

My little stack of bread baskets . . .

Joe brought in some branches with leaves from the garden . . . and I set the table …

This is how the dining room looked when we first bought the house in 1989. I was setting the table for a lobster dinner, and there’s girl kitty (the first!). Love the befores and afters!

Finally decided which dishes to go with . . . all I needed were the napkins and the table would be done . . .

Jack was helping me fold them . . .

Because our kitchen is the heart of the home, where everything happens ~ folding clothes and kitty kisses too . . .

And rolling out pie dough . . . cooking up  a storm . . . thinking of the many Thanksgivings prepared here in this kitchen, counting my blessings. Our turkey, filled with my grandma’s dressing, came out perfectly.

So here we go . . . making the house pretty for the neighborhood . . . my own personal private elf-man doing a great job.

My guy. He is amazing.💞 Not just for this, but for everything.

There are so good ways to decorate . . . in case you’re in the throes of it like we are, here are a few ideas …

H A P P Y    D E C E M B E R 

We hang up all our loved bits of collected Christmas paraphernalia!

Bits and pieces end up on the kitchen cupboard knobs . . .

And as always, the shelf on top of my stove is in full Christmas mode . . .

The little house I found at a flea market several years back . . .

The stockings are hung by the chimney with care . . . and the memories flow . . .

Remembering childhood Christmases at home with my parents and brothers and sisters brings back all the magic (although, in this photo, we still have one sister to come, here we are only seven).  My favorite Christmas memory is when the little kids would be in bed, the older boys in the family room in front of the TV, I would go into the living room, turn off all the lights except for the colored tree lights, lie on the sofa in the twinkly dark and listen to Frank Sinatra sing I’ll be Home for Christmas.🎵 I do it every year and it’s as dreamy as it’s always been.

I was reading our local paper the other day, the Martha’s Vineyard Times ~ an article about the first death from a car accident here on the Island in 1902. It happened because the speeding vehicle was allegedly going more than 15 mph! 🙀 Yes! Lock him UP! Must have been difficult, the change that took place as horses were replaced by automobiles. I’m sure many held out forever for the horse, and the car people must have been very frustrated. The island town governments jumped into action and set the new speed limit at 5 mph. (I think my car goes faster than 5 mph when it’s in neutral.) It was another world, another time.

See the Linden tree on the right? That’s the same one I wrote about in Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams ~ in this photo it’s still young, but it grew to be huge, spread like an umbrella of leafy dappled light over the town when I came here in 1982 ~ and covered with lights at this time of year.  Amazing how so very little has changed in this photo. The Times, my favorite newspaper, recently started something new I think you might like. They send out a very short daily email called “The Minute” ~ it tells about the daily doings here on the Island, has a quote of the day, and a “what’s-for-dinner” recipe. It’s free … If you’d like it to show up in your mailbox, go HERE.

So yes, we do try to slow down time a little bit during the holiday season so as not to increase its speed.

We went to the movies on the night of the super moon. I looked up through the trees on Main Street in Edgartown, and there is was, in all its glory, peeking through the clouds. So festive to be out on cold nights during the holiday season, when everyone is out and about and everything is decorated!

We had a delicious dinner at Alchemy … Edgartown was all lit up …

They make a very good Old Fashioned at Alchemy… but you know Joe makes them a little bit better ~ here’s his recipe:

And since I wrote this recipe, we have discovered THE PERFECT WILD CHERRIES for this drink. Dark, almost black, and intensely flavored, there are no other cherries for us. Absolutely forget about maraschino cherries. They’re called Fabbri Amarena and are available HERE… delicious in an Old Fashioned, and also, just as heaven over vanilla ice cream or on cheesecake or between layers of a Chocolate anything. 💋 Somebody should put these in somebody’s stocking. You’re welcome.

We went to see The Man Who Invented Christmas . . . the story of how Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol ~ so good, perfect for anyone who loves the book, or wants to know a little more about Chas Dickens, has ever tried to write a book, or is fascinated by imagination and invention. In addition, MATTHEW (from Downton) plays Charles Dickens.👌He’s never been handsomer ! Wowzer. I rest my case.


SO, other than that, here’s what I’ve REALLY been doing. Stealing hours and sometimes whole days, to paint. I discovered something I never knew before ~ Youtube has audiobooks! So I’ve been listening to Mansfield Park while I paint (that’s what you hear in this video). And dreaming of this . . .

This, my darling girls, is the view from the house we’ve rented in the Lake District for our picnic on Beatrix Potter’s lawn at Castle Cottage next May 11. Eeeek. That’s all I can say. If you are new to this blog and not sure what I’m talking about . . . then go HERE, where you can read all about it, and possibly join us, a whole bunch of kindred spirits, for a luv-lee afternoon in the historic English countryside.  BYO Picnic Basket!

And yes, the Royal Wedding is going to be sometime next May! We’ll be there! So I’m fairly sure the entire country will be decorated in bunting!!! Petey is ready to go, Mrs. Rabbit is blessing my new Castle Cottage cup; I’ll be making special name tags for everyone, too. I’ll put them on the next blog post so you can print them out. MUCH more fun when we recognize our kindred spirits!

That’s Post Office Meadow above, which Beatrix Potter owned, and it will likely be filled with baby lambs when we are there . . . and behind it, the white house, that’s Castle Cottage ~ and our picnic will take place in the garden! I can barely believe it, but I know it’s true.

Something else hard to believe. This is real, but this photo could never tell the whole amazing story because bluebells drift over every hill and dale in England in the springtime, in some places, as far as the eye can see.

So I had to include bluebells on our remembrance cup . . .

This quote tells the whole story . . . and on the bottom it says, “Memories are made of this.”

I wrote on them,”Picnic, Near Sawrey, Lake District, UK 2018″ ~ Never to be forgotten! And don’t worry if you can’t make it ~ we are taking everyone along with us, virtually . . . through pictures and videos ~ you won’t miss a detail! I will stick my camera into everyone’s picnic basket!

So, yes, you may have noticed . . . I finally received samples of the actual real cups that will be coming the beginning of January. Aren’t they gorgeous?  Bone china is such a nice thing! I photographed them all, fronts and backs so you can really see what you’ve signed up for. 📷

They came out wonderfully . . . this one I called Valentine Love . . . it’s good for husbands, boyfriends, sisters, and girlfriends, moms and dads, and everyone in between …

 I couldn’t wait to put this wonderful quote on a cup ~ because anytime is a good time to give a toast to love. On the bottom it says, “Of thee I sing…”💞

Here are the bottoms of all four cups . . .

And here’s the Winter cup (the bottom says “Not fit for man nor beast!”). Mrs Tittlemouse cozied right up to this one. I adore seeing that my Beatrix Potter figurines go so well with my cups!

There’s a snowman on the winter cup. . .

And a good wintry tea quote!

And this one is Girlfriend’s Tea … on the bottom it says, “If friends were flowers, I’d choose you!”

Also good for Valentine’s Day, with lovely words by Nancy Luce. Pay no attention that Nancy wrote that about her chickens she adored so much! Love is love! Right, Mrs. Tittlemouse? Right! (Of course she would agree, she’s almost a chicken herself! Oops, look at her face, I think she heard me say that!)
And for you who bought the cups already and are just waiting for them to arrive, don’t forget I made gift cards just in cases you wanted to give them as gifts this year . . . just click HERE and you can print out a card (like above) so they know something is coming.💞 Cups and other dishes are still up for presale right HERE.

Because guess what else, everything in this photo will be here early next week! Antique-store finds of the future! Whew, we tried so hard to make them arrive in time, and I think we did it!

For all you embroiderers . . . I’m so happy you’ve been enjoying our new kits! We sold out of Tea Party already! And there are only a few of the Ornament Kits left. We’ll be getting more I think, but in the meantime, we have two brand new kits arriving at the Studio very soon. A bunny pin cushion and a little robin to hang on your door or cupboard knob . . .

And here’s a wee gift from me to you with love, these two bookmarks . . .. . . just click HERE and print them on card stock… you can laminate them and make a sweet little stocking stuffer. And Kellee says to look for new wallpaper and other free stuff   HERE ~ it should all be up sometime this weekend! And new Winter Recipes are waiting for you HERE. We are going to keep you busy! (er!)

And one of the things I’ve already started . . . I’m writing us another book ~ it’s going to be all about our trip next spring . . . it will be another diary, loaded with watercolors and photographs, I dream it every day, this time there will be Ireland in it!  It’s all I really want to do! Because now I know I have a tiny bit of Dickens blood in me. Not the genius part I’m sorry to say, the slightly insane part.😜

Now, I want to ease your mind, because I know you’re busy, but don’t worry one minute about getting everything done ~ I found our fortune in a cookie last night and all is well:

Love you girls, Have a wonderful time, whatever you’re doing. Prayers, prayers, and more prayers for those suffering in this most wonderful time of year. Digging a bit deeper in the wallet this year, for lots of people and places are so dearly in need. Blessings on you and yours. ❌⭕️ Your Pal for Life, Anna Susana Branchburger the third.

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603 Responses to IT’S NOT SNOWING

  1. Susan says:

    At this very moment 10:40pm 12/7/17 we have 2 inches of snow in San Antonio, Texas…we are making records. YIPEEEEE for this Michigan girl….on the other hand…school is delayed in the morning. OMG this is a summer day at Higgins Lake, MI!!!! Gotta love the Texans!

    Merry Merry Christmas ox

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, that is amazing! Good for you, and Merry Christmas!

    • Lynn says:

      Susan (former Michigander), We drove through a snowy Higgins Lake last night on our way to Mackinaw. 🙂 About 6″ of snow here, and school was open! (My daughter lives outside Atlanta, GA where they closed the city due to the 3″ of snow).
      Have a very Merry Christmas~

  2. Susan Mixon says:

    What a perfect ending to another cold day here in the South…nursing a red throat and mainly have just been a lump of sniffles in my cozy chair most of the day when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a bundle of beautiful, cheery and hopeful words and quotes and pictures in the confines of your blog to wrap up my day! Loved hearing about your upcoming trip to England and to Ireland… the emerald isle calls to my heart so very often…my sis-in-law and I plan to go and see “The Man Who Invented Christmas”, soon…The Christmas Carol with Reginald Owen is my favorite. I love Mr. Dickens’ thoughts and quotes and look forward to more insights into the man. It won’t hurt at all to see Dan again, also+ He has been missed! Going to get some hot tea and then good-night…..thank you for another great read and helping this day and me settle in for a long winter’s night! Prayers especially for California and for those defending her💜

  3. Jo'L says:

    Thank you, Susan, your blog, as many have mentioned, came when needed; you seem to know us very personally and very well.
    Thank you to Elizabeth as well, John Rutter’s music has been a lifesaver for me for many years but has been lost in boxes, will go and find him.
    May all of our holidays be holy days that give us comfort and joy.

    • sbranch says:

      The angel choir, wasn’t that gorgeous… voices like bells.🔔 I feel I do know you personally and well. I have since I first started writing to you in Heart of the Home. My books have always really been letters to friends. Just wanted to tell you and all our girlfriends that I think what you do is amazing. We are amazing, the world would be no good without us. xoxoxo

    • Elizabeth says:

      And here are the lyrics – also beautiful:

  4. Kathy Pinkerton says:

    Loved seeing the pictures of your dining room past and present! Thank you also for the Christmas bookmarks! 💗

  5. Michelle says:

    Good Morning Susan, I am wondering what your absolute favorite Beatrix Potter biography is? And if you can’t pick just one, a suggestion of 2-3 favs would work as well! Thanks so much!

    • sbranch says:

      I can pick one…I have read them all I think, but basically you can cut to the chase by reading the longest most detailed . . . which I LOVED. You will never look at Beatrix Potter the same after reading it. It’s called Beatrix Potter, a Victorian Genius by Linda Lear, and you’ll see it HERE … it is out of print, although there are used copies. The confusion is that there’s another book by Linda Lear, called Beatrix Potter A Life in Nature … and I think it may be the same book! See it HERE The rumor is they changed the name, but I don’t know that for a fact. I would try it though ~ with Linda Lear, I don’t think you could lose. Enjoy!

      • Judy Jennings says:

        Susan, I don’t know about this particular book, but I have been upset more than once by buying a book only to discover upon receiving it in the mail that I’ve already read it under a different title. Seems to happen under British titles. I have three copies of one that is WWII diaries, ALL three under different titles. In your case with a GOOD out-of-print book I guess it’s just a bonus!

        • sbranch says:

          Aha! Interesting, I didn’t realize that. Then I guess A Life in Nature is probably the same book…you’ll love it!

  6. Brandy says:

    I bought a copy of A Fine Romance to give as a gift and then started to read it. And now I cannot give it away! What a joy it was. I was just feeling bad about no snow here in the middle Appalachians when I checked the forecast again. SNOW! I hope some finds it way to you all soon. Your dear elf looks all the more sweet after having heard your story in your book.

    • sbranch says:

      How sweet of you to tell me Brandy, I’m glad you liked it! It was a joy to write! I will tell the elf! xoxo Happy snow!

  7. Karen Williams says:

    So wonderful to receive your blog, Susan…lurve it all! The pictures of snow, Jack and Joe (your liddle elfin helpers!)
    So amazing to see that lovely chap saving the bun! Oh how my heart sang for him and the bunny! Saw scary wary videos of the fires on the internet and am so sad for everyone involved…just hoping they can be as safe as possible fighting the fires.
    Have sent a card to Ryland and am hoping it will get to him before Christmas. What a terrible time for him. Big hugs to him and all the families and friends involved in such dreadful circumstances.
    Our local cinema will be showing ‘Its a Wonderful Life’. I think I might just go to support them putting it on and have some good old fashioned joy to combat the sadness in the world.

    Susan, thank you for being here for all the girlfriends- showing us love and light and wonderful MV beauty. I’ve signed up for The Minute…just to see what you all get up to across The Pond!

    Love all the mugs, the bookmarks and everything Christmassy! Looking forward to May 2018!!
    Love from
    UK 🇬🇧

    • sbranch says:

      I can only imagine the joy and amazement when that little boy and his caretakers see your postmark and realize that his plight has gone to England …thank you! We like to support our little movie theater too… the big cineplexes are taking over! Like with the independent bookstores, it’s up to we the people if we want them for the future. You’ll love The Minute…you’ll probably know it’s snowing here just about the same time we do! Have a wonderful day Karen, so nice to hear from you! BTW, the headline should have been “CHAP SAVES BUN!” xoxo

    • Lisa Jorgensen says:

      Hi Karen,
      I am looking to find a pen pal from the UK. Unfortunately I am not on Facebook or Twitter so would have to email or write letters.
      I am from a suburb of Los Angeles, California (Susan and I grew up in the same city!)
      If you would be interested in writing, perhaps we could give our names and addresses to Susan.
      Take care, Lisa

  8. Mary Brehm says:

    Just sitting here in the dark staring at my tree without my glasses on. I love it when everything goes all blurry and the colors just melt and swirl before my eyes. I don’t have a fire place but we have a yule log dvd and, you know what?…it really does make us feel warm and cosy! We have to make magic with what is at hand.
    I love seeing your table for thanksgiving and your pretty dining room that you transformed and made your own. Oh My!, you have quite a lot of dishes in those cupboards! I have a dish problem as well. It’s so bad that I have overflow bins in my basement. I had to take pictures so i can reference what dishes are where. I know it’s silly and my family teases me about it, but how can you resist a whole stack of plates at a flea market or yard sale when they are positively screaming at you..TAKE MEEEEE HOME WITH YOUUUUU!!!!
    I get a bit overwhelmed and grumbly at times. The world seems to be spinning out of control and I hate turning on the news, but then I read your wonderful words which remind me to enjoy the simple and little things. So today, is a good day. I don’t have to work today ( i clean houses) and I have a wonderful happy to-do list that i scribbled down while having my coffee. I always have what I call Little Susan on my shoulders cheering me on and approving my decisions while i make my house happy and sparkly!
    There is the tiniest bit of snow on the ground here. Once again, thank you for being you and making our world, all of us girlfriends and kindred spirits, a happier place. Have a great day!
    Love, Mary <3

    • Mary Brehm says:

      PS Did you see the second season of “The crown” is starting today on Netflix! Oh Boy!!!!!

      • sbranch says:

        NO, going there instantly!!!! Or, maybe I’ll save it for Joe … but then, I could watch it twice very easily. Decision made! Thank you Mary!

    • sbranch says:

      So funny you say that blurry thing… when I was little I learned I could make my eyes blur … and always looked at Christmas lights that way! I know…that fireplace dvd or youtube thing, it’s wonderful! Brilliant idea. Candles are good too…a cozy little thing that makes such a difference. Of course I have the same dish problem as you. I was THRILLED that my 30-something niece TOOK a set home with her the last time she was here! Yay! I had the mistaken impression that generation “doesn’t want them.” And she’s a real minimalist too. But dishes? Universal woman. I love that there’s a tiny susan on your shoulders, I’m getting such a nice view of accomplishment and hope! Love hearing from you Mary. xoxo

  9. Carolyn Rector says:

    You are an elf! You are so generous with all your lovely sharing. I am blessed. Thank you, and enjoy the season, especially the snow. Good tip about YouTube audio books. Amazing.

    • sbranch says:

      I know! Such a good discovery … opens up a whole new world … after all, if your computer is on anyway, what not have something wonderful to listen to!

  10. Lori Ann says:

    Yay! A new blog post……Merry Christmas to me:) Thank you…and a very Merry Christmas to you too!

  11. Ann from the Mitten says:

    Looks like I’m not the only one who thought of you when the Royal wedding was announced~can’t wait to follow you on your trip 🙂 Snow is definitely on its way. We are getting our shovels out for this weekend. My brother sent a photo from West Texas with snow covering his garden-he says maybe he needs to move to Hawaii now-ha.
    The cups are gorgeous! Merry Christmas

    • sbranch says:

      I see his perfect Christmas card for next year! With the way things are going, Hawaii may not be safe either … he might look for somewhere nearer the equator! Merry Christmas Ann!

  12. Chris Wells Knickerbocker, W TX says:

    Snow was all around us yesterday on the radar, but we tend to have a little bubble over us and all we got was flurries! Everyone was coming out of the back office to look out at the flurries! It didn’t last long!❄️
    I made the mistake of stopping to watch the video instead of going back after I finished reading, and then had to finish reading with tears swelling up in my eyes. There really are GOOD people in this world, it is just that we only hear about the bad and feel overwhelmed.
    I am praying for everyone in California. I have never seen anything so frightening!
    Thank you for this wonderful blog and the wonderful England trip to look forward to, if virtually! 😀
    I have definitely decided to retire and I am thinking next fall, so this is my last Christmas working! And I just smile every time I think about it! August will be 25 years with the company I work for and that is quite enough!
    Merry Christmas 🎄🎁 to all the Girlfriends and you and Joe and Jack.
    And PS…I want to let you know that the little cat I picked up off the highway that had been hit by a car last summer is all well and just precious, we named her Lucy Lu and she is my mom’s best friend and sleeps with her at night! Love happy endings!

    • sbranch says:

      Happy you got a flurry Chris! Yes, I know, about the superman who rescued the bunny. What a doll, eh? Just like YOU! How could anyone not cry! xoxo

  13. Ann says:

    Susan, we are so blessed to have you in this world!! Enough said!

  14. rhea says:

    Praying for California for sure. Ive been in those fires and its so scary, unpredictable and sad. That feeling of helplessness is overwhelming but the love and kindness of others is just amazing. I love that you mentioned it first thing. I am so excited for your trip and can’t wait to follow along and even more exciting is the book to follow! With a Royal wedding and all. Its like they knew and planned it around your schedule. The mugs are beautiful and I will have to add to my collection ( Christmas present from me to me ) Merry Merry. Starting my Christmas cookie baking today and will bring a box to every neighbor on my road as I’m starting a new tradition in my new neighborhood here in Vermont. The cold can’t stop me 🙂 Stay cozy and pet that cute kitty for me!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I may have to move to Vermont! xoxo

      • rhea says:

        It snowed!!!!!! Santa smelled all of the cookie baking and realized he had to prepare for a soft landing!! Im all ready for him. Coming from California, growing up with Christmas lights on the house, I did it the New England way and have a candle in every window. I love love love the soft flicker and the warmth they bring reflecting off the glass. I want to keep them up year round but won’t because it just wouldn’t be the same, but Im definitely starting to feel like an east coaster 🙂 I even baked big short bread cookies to go with the Annie Hall batch…….. Love.

        • sbranch says:

          Oh now it’s perfect. We were in Vermont last Valentine’s Day and it was pretty as a picture. Yes, love the candles in the windows, such a Silent Night Holy Night thing to do. Peace on earth. 🕯 I see the move was just the right thing for you. Kindred spirits! xoxo

  15. Hillaire Gallagher says:

    Always look forward to your cozy stories and pictures.
    I (many years ago) drove on the road that is surrounded by fires in California.
    Praying for the animals, homes, folks in need and also the caregivers and rescue workers….
    So looking forward to your new book…I was hoping you would write another one of your travels…so fun….thank you too!
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and Joe and your boy Jack all the best for the Holidays…xxoo love to all, Hillaire

  16. Dionne Street says:

    It’s snowing in Katy (Houston), Texas! And it’s sticking to the ground! Woo Hoo! We haven’t had snow since 2009! I know I’m 47 years old, but I am still excited as any kid! This Texas weather is a roller coaster! It seems like we just had Hurricane Harvey yesterday and now it’s snowing! And it’s the beautiful kind of snow, like the kind in your pictures at your house where you just want everyone to stay inside and not mess it up so you can just look at it! Too bad school isn’t cancelled so I can stay in my jammies and snuggle down with my dog. But alas, I’m off to preschool. After all, I am the teacher! Loved your post! And I can’t wait for your new book! Merry Christmas!

    • sbranch says:

      I feel the exact same way every year here for the snow. There is something so magical about snow falling out of the sky! What a beautiful world! Your little kids will be in heaven this morning! Have fun!

  17. Ann (from Cincinnati) says:

    Susan, I was so happy to learn that I’m not the only one who burst into tears when I saw the video of the young man rescuing the bunny. Funny how one imperiled defenseless little creature can bring on uncontrollable weeping!
    Merry merry Christmas to you and yours, and thank you for the wonderful uplifting thoughts and images you send our way during the year!

    • sbranch says:

      It was so scary, I never thought he’d get it, but HE DID!!! Was wonderful and I don’t know why, but it makes me even cry now, people are so wonderful! xoxo

  18. Mary/Indiana says:

    It’s Not Snowing yet….I won’t be able to say that tomorrow😢
    Loved every inch of this Blog! Thank you, Susan Branch for
    making my year a little brighter😍😍😍

  19. Paula Wallace says:

    Loved your blog Susan! I am SO EXCITED that you will be writing another book! My neighbor introduced me to your books and I enjoyed every one of them!I am looking forward to your next trip! I have always loved Beatrix Potter! The movie”Mrs. Potter” starring Renee Zellweggar (spelling?) was outstanding!! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, Joe and your kitty cat! xo

    • sbranch says:

      I love that movie too! It was actually playing on the ship one time when we were on the way to England! Perfection!

  20. Gloria says:

    You’ve done it again, dear Susan, made me feel warm and cozy on this cold, snowless, morning. You go to so much time and trouble for all us girls, and this one, and I know all the others, too, appreciate and love you so much.

    So long for now. Snow is predicted for tomorrow here is SE PA.

  21. Nora says:

    Just………..thank you. Merry Christmas to you and Joe. xoxo

  22. Kathy Pink says:

    Oh Susan, I’m so excited to hear that you’re writing another book for us. I’ve read the first three twice each, and enjoyed them so much each time. You are blessed with so many gifts, and we thank you for sharing them with us.

  23. Winnie Nielsen says:

    This beautiful and uplifting post was just what I needed today!!Thank-you Susan for always reassuring us about the many things that are still in tact and available to enjoy. Lately, I have been feeling like I am adrift on a sea of waters that are burning all around with national scandal and demise. I am hoping that the British Navy might find me and bring me to their Homeland and give me a proper cup of tea.!! LOL!! But, you remind me and maybe others that this season is full of some of the best memories of love, blessings, family, and mystery. We just have to get busy and put them back in place and open our homes and hearts to everyone and offer a strong reminder that love is abundant and we can spread that in so many ways. Getting out my Grandmother’s celluloid reindeer and all the little cotton batten Santas from my Mom’s childhood with the little village pieces, I am reminded of how these things were always out in our home and enjoyed each year. My favorite in the collection is the tiny sleigh with a tiny cotton batting Santa and 8 tiny reindeer. Every year, this little set would be the centerpiece on our dining room table come Christmas Eve. Miraculously, come Christmas morn, the tiny sleigh was filled with a tiny package for each person who would be at the Christmas dinner table. We all were so excited and curious to see what Santa had left. The little presents were not opened until Christmas dinner was over and everyone had been served dessert. How my Santa Mom figured out an abundance of tiny gifts remains a mystery to me today!! This tradition was one of the most loved and anticipated parts of Christmas Day growing up. Seeing this set today on my hunt board just makes me happy! Can you see my smile all the way up there in Martha’s Vineyard??

    Holiday Blessing to you and yours this December!!

    • sbranch says:

      I can! What a lovely tradition. I’m sure some could barely eat, awaiting the unveiling! Thank you Winnie!

  24. Jane says:

    Hi darling Susan!!! Loved your post. Got me so inspired to decorate and bake and be joyful and jolly. I don’t know if anyone has shared this, BUT!!! A traderJoe’s share for you and all our darling Old Fashioned lovers — and BEYOND. I spotted a lovely jar of Pitted Amarena Cherries with Stems in Syrup at Trader Joe’s last week and bought one, mostly because the jar was so darn cute. When you mentioned the cherries, I scurried to my cupboard. 16 oz. jar and I do believe I paid $2.99 or $3.99. Also, a fab discovery were beautiful preserved lemon slices, sweetened and ready to add to your tea — or whatever. Just yummy to eat! My new favorite tea is Yogi ginger. Add a fat squeeze of lemon and a spoonful of brown sugar and float a lemon. Oh, MY!!!! (Recipe thank you M. Stewart Christmas issue.). CHEERS, MY DEAR!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I love Trader Joe’s. We have to go off island to attend, but it’s worth it!

      • Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

        Ditto – my favorite store!

        Try their Turkey & Stuffing en Croute…keeping one in freezer for emergencies or New Year’s. Live alone so it’s perfect!

        Plus they’re so nice and accommodating as well as moderately priced!

        We have 3 in Santa Barbara!

  25. Tara says:

    Snowing here in Texas !!! Both the before and after dining rooms are adorable. Love this post so much. Thank you for making all these ideas, thoughts, and feelings all about love and “comfort and joy”. Also, I have been missing my birds here in Texas since spring, none at the feeders here at my house. I love all the birds right at your window. On your Christmas ideas, how do you get the wreath attached to the back of car?? that so sweet. Anyways, I always look for your post notices on facebook. Can wait to see more.

  26. Sharon in So. Calif. says:

    Dearest Anna Susana Branchburger the Third ( I LOVE it)!! I always read from different comments, this was my favorite blog…., but now I’m going to say it, This is one of my favorites ♥. Too many wonderful things to comment on, but have to tell you, just yesterday was going through all my Susan books to find that potato pancake recipe, and HERE it is!! Thank you sooo much. Thank you also for the link to The Minute, I signed right up. Love all your beautiful decorations, and Joe is so great with the ones outside, he’s a natural! This is my first year ever that I am not setting much out due to the fact that for the past 14 months I watch my baby granddaughter full time. Her name is Charlotte Jeanne, she is a joy beyond belief but also a handful too. Into EVERYTHING and anything not tied down!! 🙂 I want to thank you and all the girlfriends for your thoughts and prayers for my beautiful State. It has been quite scary, we have had fires almost in all directions of our little city. I have a bag next to door ready to go, although I admit, I don’t like to think about it, and also kitty carrier, food & water ready to go, just in cases. My heart breaks for all those who have lost so much. I cannot imagine. Prayers for our great firefighters, who are doing such a miraculous job. I hope you get your ‘White Christmas’ soon. I have always wondered whose stocking is whose? Isn’t that a funny thing to wonder? Love to you as always ♥♥♥

    • sbranch says:

      Oh thank you Sharon, I’m so happy you enjoyed it. I feel so Christmasy this year . . . worried for others that can’t or don’t, doing a little more for them because I feel extra grateful for the peace and good will toward men in our own neighborhood. I’m sure, with a baby in the house, your Christmas will be magical. I hope your house and neighbors are safe and the fires are out soon. Take care! 💞 xoxoxoxo

      • Sharon in So. Calif. says:

        Thank you so much for your well wishes, it seems the winds have finally decided to go away, yea! The fires by us are gone too, hopefully all the fires will be gone soon.

  27. Lucia Ann France-Bryant says:

    Hi Susan, I signed up for The Minute! Can’t wait to see The Crown! Rushing out the door to take care of an ailing 82 year old uncle, take my 93 year old mom to the store, and pick up the grandkids after school! Ain’t retirement grand?! It really is, I wouldn’t be able to spend so much time with these wonderful loved ones if I was still working. Thanks so much for this blog! I look forward to it and am thrilled when I see it in the email list. Running off!

  28. Kathy Prell says:

    Woke up in a Winter Wonderland this morning in Western New York. The snow and your beautiful post are so inspiring. Your posts are filled with “warm fuzzies” that make my day, and remind me of what is truly important…thank you Susan from the bottom of my heart. I’m hoping you’ll make it to my neck of the woods on your next book tour. Meeting you some day is on my bucket list! Until then, I wish you a blessed Christmas filled with everything merry!

  29. Brenda says:

    Thanks for such a beautiful, lovely post. It made my morning.

  30. Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

    The bluebells of England! I watched Howard’s End again the other day, and there are a couple of scenes where the poor Mr. Bast is walking through a sea of bluebells. Spectacular! Though my favorite scene is the mother, Vanessa Redgrave, strolling about her gardens and around the charming cottage in the gloaming, with her gown trailing through the grass, peering in the window at her family as she passes. These days I am rather home bound caring for my husband, but how my imagination does take me to wonderful places! As you listen to books and paint, I love to listen and knit. I join in your prayers for California, and for all those in need. My daughter’s family adopts a family for Christmas through their church, which is a wonderful way to express love. We were able to contribute, which is a blessing. Blessings to you and Joe and Jack. Excited to get my teapot plate!!❤️

    • sbranch says:

      Have you by any chance read the book? It’s just like the movie, but gives a bit more detail … I love that movie! I also love the Adopt-a-Family idea with your daughter’s church.💞 Very wonderful way of giving. Your plate should be there soon Rosanne! xoxoxo

  31. Caroline says:

    Beautiful blog Susan! I am going to order cherries:) I am SO excited for the Winter cups to come! I got 2 …one for me:) and one for my mother in law soul mate! We live 300 yards apart in matching, cape style cottages, both red! and she was greatly admiring your blue bird cup that I used all summer!!! Christmas is SO fun when you find the heart filled gifts for beloveds! and you have really helped me with that this year! I thank you:)
    Christmas magic, miracles and blessings to you, Joe, and all your beloveds especially the ones in California, Caroline

    • Caroline says:

      PS! I heard from Snow flake girl yesterday who is a freshman at Sacred Heart and so studying for her first college finals…She said ” Happiness is finding an empty classroom to build a fort in and studying inside my fort!” and sent a pic of her smiling self inside her fort! I won’t worry about this girl anymore:) Hope you and Joe got this first BEAUTIFUL snow!!!! Going to hike in it now:) Sunshine on snow! Enchanting!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you sweetie, enjoy the season!

  32. Susan Morgon ( Ohio gal from SoCal ) says:

    You are writing a new book! And it will have Ireland in it ! How exciting! You just made my day. A tidbit that I take with a bushel of salt – according to a 3rd cousin, a male relative had a DNA test done, testing the Y chromosome. The result showed our family is descended from a 5th century warlord and chieftain, named Niall of the Nine Hostages. While I think it’s the coolest thing ever to be descended from Irish royalty ( I guess he would be), I am not sure how reliable these results are. That was a long time ago!
    I loved your pictures of your dinner preparations, and, as always, I am charmed by Jack.
    These fires are horrible! We have family that had to evacuate, and I am so worried. They are safe, but their homes are not. One is less than a mile from the Lilac fire. My prayers are with all of those still in the path of fire. I wish we could send them a blanket of snow!

    • sbranch says:

      My prayers are with your family Susan. I hope everyone is safe and they find their home untouched. I’m with you, a big black cloud full of rain would be good. Aren’t family trees fun? I love all the discovery involved. Fun, Niall of the Nine Hostages. I wonder if he WAS a hostage, or if he TOOK the hostages!? 🤣 xoxo

  33. Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

    Fire has moved into Santa Barbara County, still burning between Ventura & Ojai, parts of Carpinteria have been evacuated and rest on standby, La Conchita hit hard….Smoke & ash dense as falling snow! 101 closed off and on.

    Almost everyone wearing masks – when I take it off, feels like I’m going to faint from lack of oxygen. Telling everyone to stay home with windows closed, don’t drive & wear mask if you must to out. I’m from Southern California and this is the worst and fastest spreading fire I’ve experienced! In low 30’s at night which makes it harder on Homeless and evacuatees. People sleeping in cars with animals. People putting bandanas over dogs’ noses. Major power outages to repair lines being burned. So scared. THANKS FOR YOUR PRAYERS

  34. Marybeth Ferrie says:

    Dearest Susan,
    We , too, are praying for CA, having lived in LA and being married there and still having many dear friends there.
    Thank you for this beautiful post! I was at Titcomb’s Bookstore last weekend and spied a familiar looking pattern peeking out of a box near the desk…the owner said that it was another order of your books! It made me VERY happy as I still recall going in there years ago and asking for your calender…they all looked at each other and said “Why don’t we carry her?!” Now I have even more reason to go!
    Thank you for spreading your fairy dust. We all need it! Sending much love from Cape Cod,

  35. Tami says:

    I can not begin to tell you how much I am anticipating your new book. No problem, I’ll just have a secret smile on my face every now and then for the next year, or so, knowing it’s in the works. I’d love to hear your stories about your house: the Sea Captain who built it, before and afters over the years, your favorite places in the house and yard. As always, thanks for doing what you do so well. Thoughts and prayers for your friends and family in CA, boy it’s been a major disaster of a year…. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    • sbranch says:

      I have the same secret smile. My biggest problem will be not to spill the beans of what is behind the smile! I want to, but I mustn’t! Merry Christmas to you Tami . . . xoxoxo

    • Judy Young says:

      I bet if you put this new book you are planning on pre-sale, even before writing it, it will be a best-seller!

      • sbranch says:

        Oh you are so sweet. But then everyone will be saying, hey, where’s that book! So maybe when a get it going along a bit, I already see it and love it, but first, I must LIVE it! Isn’t that wonderful?

  36. Nancy Deda says:

    Can’t wait for this next book, Susan! Have read Fine Romance so often it’s threatening to fall apart at the seams…your next book will be extra-special because my husband and I are going on our 6th trip to Ireland in April…right before you and Joe…celebrating our 40th anniversary! Anxious to see where you go on the Emerald Isle! And safe travels…

    • sbranch says:

      Then you’re as excited as we are, right? Happy almost 40th … sounds like the perfect way to do it. You must love Ireland ~ this will be our first time!

  37. Linda Who Still Says "Land !" says:

    New needlework ! New mugs ! And one of your best cozy holiday blogs to start off the weekend so feeling quite blessed. Can’t wait to add a few of these to my holiday list. Holiday preparations are filled with the best of memories in having my parents (married in early’s 1940’s) everyday silverware and baking utensils from their home. Both are gone now but the items are precious knowing my great grandparents, grandparents, parents, and family used these on a daily basis and especially during holidays. As one of 58 (maternal ) and 22 (paternal) grandchildren I feel the holiday presence of all using the familiar rolling pins, stirring spoons, cookie cutters and recipes.. And the big bowl. The bowl used hold warm water for the lotions when bathed as a newborn. The bowl used to stir up Christmas cookies. The same bowl used to pile homemade popcorn balls in. We are all older now and passing family treasures to the younger generations. It was a delight to hear from a cousin that her six year old grandson was happy to receive the cookie cutter. The same cookie cutter his great grandmother used for her holiday baking. And with Santa this year goes my 1940’s Wolverine toy stove, fridge and sink along with dishes to another cousin’s grandchild who will enjoy the holiday magic her mother, grandmother and great grandmother knew. Thank you Susan, for sharing the joy of family and friends, and of home, during the holidays with your books and blog.

    • sbranch says:

      All the little things that make up family memories! Pass them on! They’re the glue and the foundation! xoxoxo

  38. Wanda in Louisiana says:

    Hi Susan, Christmas weather must be headed your way now. South TX & Louisiana have enjoyed a little snow! I’d like to send you one of my Christmas cards. Been designing them for 27 years! Send to your P.O. Box? Not sure if you get mail at your home. I love and appreciate your art and encouraging words!
    Merry Christmas!!!

    • sbranch says:

      We’ve got sleet and hail, not hard but constant, mixed with rain. Cold afternoon heading into night…perfect for a fire and my 6 best girlfriends coming for cocktails at 5pm!

    • FayE in CA! says:

      We drove through Ventura on the way to LAX on Monday morning, 12/4. The ocean had lots of white caps and ocean spray racing across the water. I mentioned it to my husband because we don’t usually get the ocean spray racing across the water. I turned on the TV Tuesday morning in Victoria, BC and was shocked and dismayed that 60,000 acres had burned in Ventura county…as everyone knows…that 60,000 was just the beginning number. Turns out that ocean spray was a hint of the high winds building…80 mph winds…WHAT is going on with our weather patterns?

      I couldn’t believe it…not again…CA has lost SO MANY homes this year. Wildfires are a given, but we have NEVER had so many neighborhoods wiped out…around 500 homes lost in Ventura! The devastation felt by so many families is heartbreaking.

      We arrived home late last night and could see the soot in the lamplights along the way. No flames visible…no trees in fury-mode. We could smell the soot at LAX and the sky never cleared today….soot “snow” falling. People still wearing masks and hoping that the predicted winds don’t actually formulate tonight. UCSB closed early because of air quality…the garbage wasn’t picked up on normal day due to breathing issues for the workers. Power outage for 6 hours on the 4th. Christmas parade cancelled in Goleta. Both the 101 and 405 had freeway closures at one point. MANY horses were lost…I think just under 200 at one place. HORRIBLE!

      Good to see that your talented, adorable Jack helps folding the napkins…everyone could use an assistant for chores. Feline helpers manage to get us giggling while they help us…sometimes getting the job done is not the point, but TRYING to get the job done together is fun…you know, Susan…paintbrushes and kitty paws. You should put his paws in paint and put his “stamp of approval” on some stuff…”Inspected and approved by Jack!” DEFINITELY on the bottom of the future Jack cup!

      My literate cat, Emerson, used to sign cards and send notes to the vet. I loved the way his furry paws made sweet, inked thank yous and greetings. Grayson has let that be one of our Emerson memories, but helps with written notes by knocking pens/pencils out of my hands. He doesn’t leave his paw prints, but adds squiggly lines which translate into kitty hellos!

      Wishing you lots of purrs…winter shadows…toasty fires…Joe hugs and continuing contentment as you “elf-your-way” through the season.


      • FayE in CA! says:

        Sorry…I gave incorrect information…the total of horses lost is around 54 not 200…don’t want to be responsible for FAKE news.

      • sbranch says:

        SO true. I’ve never seen so many structures go in one year. It’s shocking. It sounds like all of downtown Ventura burned, which seems impossible. We are fine here, no snow yet, but it’s frosty cold and the fire is burning. Sending all our prayers to California. Thank you FayE!

  39. deb h says:

    My son, Nathan, (who is 15 yrs old)said to me looking over my shoulder as I was reading your post, “Mom, Susan Branch is like, America’s Beatrix Potter”. Just thought you’d like to know how much you are loved!
    Prayers for peace on earth and goodwill toward men~this year especially,
    deb h.
    ps. I love your little nativity.

    • sbranch says:

      Now that is a sweet boy you have there! Hugs to him from me please (I know he’d never allow it in person!). xoxo

  40. Mamey Brown says:

    Oh, what I joy I felt when I clicked on the blog with fingers crossed hoping for a new post!! AND! VOILA!!! It was there! I really NEEDED this today. Thank you Susan for ALWAYS brightening up my day!

  41. Heidi says:

    Thank you for sharing with us! I just love your blogs and have several of your books – Amazing! I am always tickled when I come this desk where I work and there is a new blog post to enjoy! Can’t wait for your next trip and book!

  42. Pam says:

    Can you believe it, we have actually had snow here, most unusual at this time of year. It’s only been a scattering but nevertheless it’s quite Christmassy.
    I love your house Susan, it always looks so cosy.
    I have been busy putting up the decorations this week. It’s quite hectic as our daughter is getting married the last week of December. As well as thinking about gifts and food etc. I am thinking about hats and shoes and wedding outfits.
    I’ve signed up for the Minute and look forward to reading about the happenings on Martha’s Vineyard.
    Well I hope you and Joe have a wonderful Christmas. I’m sure you will get your snow soon. xxx

    • sbranch says:

      Wow, you are having double Christmas this year! Congratulations . . . a wedding, how lovely! Thank you so much Pam! xoxo

  43. Lisa Hay says:

    Yes! Amazing it snowed in South Town last night! 🙂 Gotta love this Texas weather – it was summer just last week! LOL Love all your inspiration as usual and can’t wait to take that virtual trip with you to Ireland next year! My Grandpa comes from Belfast! One day I’ll get there too!

  44. Patricia Edde says:

    What can I say Susan, you are like Mighty Mouse, “Here she comes to save the day” (I took a little poetic license with the pronoun). So fantastic that Time magazine named women as the “person of the year”. I wish it could have been for a different reason but the story is finally getting told and women all over are having serious conversations and soul searing talks about it.
    It’s not snowing here in Decorah yet either but it sure is cold. We do have the beautiful sun shining though and that makes all the difference. I transform when the sun comes out, anything that has been bothering me takes a back seat to it’s brilliance (as George Harrison sang, “here comes the sun and I say everything is alright”). My heart is with Californians also. I lived there for 53 years and it is hard to see so many places being reduced to ash. I can’t imagine the drivers on the 405 seeing the fire in front and on both sides of them and not think that they are driving into hell. The heart of Californians and Americans is encapsulated in the video of the young man saving “Peter Rabbit”. We all need to send out prayers for the brave men and women who are fighting this inferno and for the people who have lost everything – May God Bless Them ALL.
    I have had a bit of the “bah humbug” the last few Christmases but finally decided to decorate this year and if I do say so myself, it is just gor-ge-ous dahling. At night when I turn out the lamps and overheads and let the twinkle lights add their mellow glow to the room, I am at peace. I am in the process of inviting different people over for a cuppa and a scone, or somesuch (?) to share the beauty with. I don’t do BIG gatherings but am trying out the possibility of a few people at a time. I am getting ready for a Christmas moviethon (? – can I make up my own words) my all time favorite being “The Bishop’s Wife” with Loretta Young, David Niven and Cary Grant. I loooooooooove the black and whites from the 40’s, they had that special something that appealed to me. I’ve decided that after I pass on and then come back, it will be in the 40’s when the idea of “family” really meant something. Being an only child and without children (except for all of the very special “special needs” children that I taught for 35 years) and with both my parents gone, I long for family to share special moments with.
    In this moment of the celebration of Peace, Joy and Love, Sam and I wish you, Joe and, of course, Jack, the very Merriest of Christmases and a truly Happy New Year! Thank you Susan for sharing yourself with all of us, the good and the bad. You are such a talented, kind and special woman and you help make all of our lives a little brighter. Thank you once again for wading through this tome. I talk like this too unfortunately. No one will believe that within all of this verbosity, is a very shy person but that is the truth. I want to also wish “Happy Holidays” to all who read and write in your blog. We all can be a light that together lights up the world. “May God bless us, everyone”.

    • sbranch says:

      Dear Patricia, thank you for this blessing of a comment! Loved it all. You are probably like me…a bit of an introvert. I am fine in little groups, and I can do bigger crowds when I’m doing it with or for my Girlfriends, but a huge concert, or big Halloween party, I’d really rather not. Put me on the sofa with one BFF across from me, two cups of tea, and I’m in seventh heaven. The Bishop’s Wife, I have not seen that this year . . . will go to TCM and find out if it’s scheduled! Happy Holidays to you and yours and to everyone who reads this blog, we have so much to be thankful for. xoxoxo

  45. Francie says:

    Merry Christmas Susan and Joe… Love reading your blogs and Willard. I’m right in the midst of all the fires in California, but we are safe in the San Fernando Valley. Just drove home a couple days ago from Cambria amidst all the flames and smoke. Many prayers for the families and the heroes. We just saw The Man Who Invented Christmas and enjoyed it very much. What made it extra special was that we attended a one man performance of A Christmas Carol by the great great grandson of Charles Dickens, Gerald Charles Dickens. He performed at Rogers Gardens in Corona Del Marr a few weeks ago. He was wonderful and brought A Christmas Carol to life. He is keeping the story and his great great grandfather in our hearts. Many blessings, Merry Christmas, and a very Happy New Year to you!

    • sbranch says:

      Isn’t he lucky? Born into such a special history! Wow! Hopefully the fires are going to slow down and give you some nice clean air to breathe. xoxo

  46. Pat R. says:

    Thank you for such a cheery blog. Winter is beautiful, we just might have to dig a little deeper to find the beauty. Ahhh- a new book. Can’t wait Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and Joe and of course Jack.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s all I think about! Or almost anyway! Have all my girlfriends coming for hot drinks in front of the fire tonight, so that’s going to be fun!

  47. susan k. says:

    Merry Christmas to you,Joe and your kitty”Jack”
    You and yours deserve the best of New Year’s. Love the new tea mugs ….can’t wait! They are so beautiful ….as always. Joe did such a beautiful job decorating the outside of the house. You are so blessed to have each other.
    Susan K.

  48. Lynn says:

    Thank you, Susan, for sharing so much of yourself with all of us. YOU brighten up any day!
    The pictures on the news of the Cali fires just seem so surreal. I just can’t imagine what it must be like to be there. I hope they know they are in our thoughts and prayers.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m sure they do. My friends write me every day telling me of acts of heroism and love happening all the time through this TOTAL DISASTER! Makes me cry. Thank you Lynn! xoxo

  49. Lee Gordon says:

    I had family evacuated from the Ojai area this past week and we all waited with baited breath to hear if their homes were safe. Thank the Lord, they were not burned down. But so many have lost their homes and livelihoods. There have been many wonderful acts of kindness along the way. The man rescuing the bunny was so heart rending because it reminds us how valuable any form of life is and what we need to do to protect it! I pray we look out for one another and truly practice the joy, kindness and peace of this holy season throughout the whole year. May your holidays be filled with love and light!

  50. Rose Ann Bacher-Giallombardo says:

    I LOVE the photo of you w/ your brothers & sisters the best!
    One of my Christmas gifts this year to my 4 children is a copy of a color photo of myself when I was 5 years old sitting under our Christmas tree in 1953! I was holding up a precious paint set that Santa brought me 🙂
    Memories are visions of times past that will always stay fresh in our hearts.
    “Merry Christmas” Susan, to you & Joe & thank you for being my role model 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Love old photos and how the older they get, the better they become! Merry Christmas to you and yours Rose Ann!

  51. sylvia in seattle says:

    Sandra, your description plus images on TV are so vivid. “From a distance” I go about my cookie decorating with a heavy heart and choking back tears. The fleeing horses are especially hard to watch. The guy rescuing the rabbit – a ray of hope that humanity is really basically good. From a distance – the names of the burning places are so familiar, remembering trips through beautiful California. May the winds die down NOW. Stay safe. God bless all those firefighters. Thank you Susan for providing some comfort and cheer in the midst of all this. What a year it has been.

  52. jeanie says:

    There is so much to love here, I don’t know where to begin. Happy Christmas spirit (and I can’t wait to see more!), the beauty and gift of Thanksgiving, wonderful art (I’m going to have to come back to watch you paint!) and all that wonderful anticipation to England. Yes, May and the Royal Wedding…. I may have to rethink my ability to attend the party! The timing is almost too good to pass up. Love Jack, stockings, old photos, great recipes and all the love and joy here. If I wasn’t already in the Christmas spirit, I would be now!

  53. Jennie Lou says:

    Hello again. I love the view of the moon and smile to think that, while I am sitting looking through the Christmas Curtains admiring the same big light in the sky, that you and girlfriends around the country are stopping to look up and smile too.
    Its nice not to be alone in the deep quiet of the night, isn’t it? It is afternoon as I am writing this, almost time for tea. From my desk (also known as the Dining Room table) I can look out the window over the hutch, where our street passes the house and makes a sharpish left-hand turn at the top of the hill. Between our house and the bend, the space is framed by the tall Douglas firs and rhododendrons of the “uphill” neighbors and filled with a thick fog. Not quite snow – though its certainly cold enough – and it makes the house all the cozier. A few of the neighbors have put up lights that glow softly in the fog, and I am grateful that there is no fire or flood or famine or war in this tiny corner of the world. My prayers are going south this week, with the crew from our local fire department who are heading to California to put their shoulders to the wheel so their brother and sister firefighters can rest. They have kissed their children goodbye and told them they might not be home for Christmas. As they drove past in the early hours, the sirens silent for once, those of us who were up went out to our porches and waved, sending our thoughts and prayers with them. Tonight, I will look up at the waning moon, the last one of this historic year, and wonder what will happen before it comes again.

    • sbranch says:

      So touched at the thought of your neighbors going off to help. Pray that the flames are gone before Christmas and your folks come home to their families safe and sound, and filled with the spirit of giving. Despite the worry, it’s easy to think of the heroes risking everything to stop this. Thank you Jennie Lou! 🕯xoxoxoxo

  54. Nina says:

    Hi Susan! It’s getting dark, but the children in my neighborhood are outside reveling and playing in the snow. Snow in Georgia…snow that’s sticking. A small Christmas miracle:) It’s been a tough year both personally and politically, but I have learned to think small. Morning birdsong, oreos on sale, a neighbor’s kindness…These are the things I cling to these days. I’m not quite an optimist..but I’m still here…so there is still hope:) I attribute this attitude entirely to you, Susan. Thank you is not a big enough word to convey my gratitude but it will have to do. Merry Christmas! and God Bless you.

    • sbranch says:

      Thinking small ~ you have it all! 💞 In addition, in these days, learning to compartmentalize is also good. The little room inside your head where you put all the negativity and close the door firmly … 😘 The kids in the snow, how magical for them! Merry Christmas Nina, God Bless you . . . xoxoxo

  55. Gretchen says:

    How very exciting that you were be in Great Britain for Prince Harry’s wedding. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could actually attend. Ah, the photos you would post and the commentary would be too good to be true. I can just imagine you writing about the flowers, dresses, and the Queen, of course. Well, we can dream. I remember getting up very early to watch Diana marry Prince Charles. I don’t miss any royal weddings. I hope this wedding will be televised, also. May you have a very, merry Christmas, dear Susan.

    • sbranch says:

      I may not be there in person, but I promise I’ll be writing about flowers, dresses, the Queen and the shoes if I get to see them on TV! So exciting! xoxo

  56. Patti Fitzgerald from Skippack, PA says:

    Hands down, Susan . . . this is your best blog ever, and my very, very favorite one of all!!! I have the Musica going, and I’m in Christmas Heaven, thanks to you and your comforting words and lovely photographs!! I do love Christmas, and have been very blessed all my life to have a mother who knows how to make it be a very special holiday! I’ve done the same for my daughters, who are grown now and celebrating Christmas in their own homes. I could celebrate Christmas all year long!
    We have a forecast of snow for tomorrow here in southeast PA, and guess what?? We have tickets to see a one-man production of “A Christmas Carol”, performed by one of Charles Dickens’ descendants! We’re going with our British friends, who are neighbors of ours (been living here for about 30 years). The show is being held at Byers Choice, the company which makes the very popular singing and caroling dolls, whose mouths are formed in a perfect “O” shape! How exciting is all of that??!! I couldn’t wait to share it with you!
    I wish you and Joe and Jack a very blessed and happy holiday – – Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, my dear Kindred Spirit Girlfriend!! xoxoxoxoxo

  57. Liz hand says:

    Dear Susan your blog is always such a treat. My hubby and I are in Chicago to see the windows at Macy’s and do a little Christmas shopping I read him the part about seeing the Dickens movie and he asked me to tell you we saw it and loved every minute of it. No snow yet here in Chicago but they are saying that it is coming. Enjoy your preparations and thanks for the inspiration. Hugs from Liz in Illinois

  58. Jana Jopson says:

    A little unexpected snow here in Chattanooga, TN today. Reading this luv-lee post makes the day complete! Those cups are a natural pairing with all the little china Beatrix Potter figurines … of course they would be. I’m sure you must share genes! Thanks from the heart for all the “comfort and joy” your writing, photos, and art impart. 💗

  59. Laura DeGraw says:

    As I sift through the mail and now email what a luvlee delight to get your blog today. I just finished downloading the Osmond Christmas album and I’m enjoying my musica and reading your post. We are scheduled for SNOW here on the Jersey Shore and I’m so excited 😆 I could burst. Thank You so very much for the years of love, inspiration, deliciousness and all things cozy and homey. May you and Joe have a wonderful holiday season and blessed and healthy New Year!

  60. Jeannette from the Central Coast says:

    Yes, your beloved California coast is on fire! It’s been horrible. I’m 70 miles away and we can smell the smoke every day. So very sad. My husband’s brother lost their home in Ventura this week. He has lots of friends and family to take them in, but their insurance got them setup in a hotel until they can rent a house and gave them $$ to purchase clothing and necessities. I can’t even imagine what the are feeling. The good news is they are staying positive and ready to rebuild asap! Thank you for asking the girlfriends for prayers for our area – they are much needed! Loved this post. My cat Tucker likes sleeping in front of the fireplace too! Merry merry Christmas to all!

    • sbranch says:

      The fires make me cry every day. It’s very easy to imagine the way these folks are feeling … feel so helpless. Sending love to you and yours Jeannette. xoxoxo

      • Jeannette from the Central Coast says:

        Thank you! It’s a journey ahead for sure! Planning Christmas with the family is encouraging… to be able to love on those who have lost everything. Thanks for the love and prayers.

    • FayE in CA! says:

      So sorry to hear about your brother-in-law’s loss. I wish them strength as they begin the unwanted journey of replanting their roots.

      • Jeannette from the Central Coast says:

        Thank you FayE! Our family is staying positive and looking towards the end of the journey ahead!

  61. Jessica Small says:

    Always love your newsletters. You always go to so much trouble to include so many different items. Look forward to the next one.

  62. Angie says:

    Does Jack not get a stocking to hang? Poor boy. ‘Someone’ needs to make one! A place for Santa to leave some cat nip, or a new rubber band.

    • sbranch says:

      “Someone” always hangs a stocking for Jack. It’s the same stocking Joe’s family used for their pets since Joe was a little boy. Red felt, names written on and crossed off ~ Puddikins, Triscuit and Inky … 🤣

  63. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    Thank you Susan for your lovely news. We could really use the cheer with the horrible week of winds and fires here in Southern California. Thank goodness we were not threatened by the fires, but there were four of them all around us so the air all week has been awful. I am a valley girl like you, born and bred and it’s never been this bad. Praying for the wind to stop so they can get control of these fires. Praying for all who lost their homes. So very heartbreaking.
    Looking forward to the holidays. We need some cheer.
    Hope you get snow soon!!
    Happy Holidays!!

    • sbranch says:

      No, I’ve never seen cities burn down… the worst I remember was the Santa Barbara Fire many years ago. But it didn’t take everything the way the Ventura fire seems to have done. It didn’t spread all the way to the water, then up and down the coast. I’m so sad for everyone… it’s painful whether you lost your home or not, to worry about your neighbors, to see such destruction. Do you know anything about what is happening to people who’ve lost their homes…are others taking them in?

      • Lisa Jorgensen says:

        I haven’t heard much about that. They have shelters open all over near the fire areas. I heard today many were able to go back home (if their home is still there.) Over 400 homes lost in Ventura, the destruction is horrible. We keep hearing of so many horses lost in the areas where there are lots of ranches.
        Today the wind is blowing hard again.
        All we can do is say a prayer.

  64. Angie in Arkansas says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thank you so much for the bookmarks! As always so cute. I have your bookmarks stuck in my books around the house, so much fun when I come across one. 🙂 My husband and I went to see the “The Man Who Invented Christmas” for my birthday (Thanksgiving weekend). I loved it and as I watched it I thought Susan Branch would love this movie. When the movie was finished everyone in our theater applauded!!! I am so excited for you and about your next book. Just the other day as I watched Hallmark Christmas movies I told my husband “Hallmark needs to make Susan’s story into a Hallmark movie, it would be perfect!” He totally agreed.
    We love Susan Branch in Arkansas! Hope you & Joe have a wonderful & blessed Christmas and Winter season!

    • sbranch says:

      So sweet Angie! And you are so right, we loved the Dickens Movie too ~ perfect for this time of year! Merry Christmas to you and yours! xoxo

  65. AngieTink says:

    Good~Morning #AnnaSusanaBranchBurger #TheThird 🙂 😉 I’ve Just Read Then Re~Read This #Purrrrrfectly #Magical #ChristmaseyBLOG & I #Thank~Thee… 🙂 A Most~Wonderful~Way To Begin This Day Yay! 🙂 Merry~Saturday Sweet~Elf~Sue! Yesterday Was a Very #BalmyDay Here In Florida & Then #TheRainsCame & Oh Did It #PourAllNight! #Splash! 🙂 & This Morning Very~Early A Real #Cold~Front Has Arrived!!! The Temps Have Dropped Into The 50’s The Wind Is Howling & It Feels Like Christmas! #Wishing & #Dreaming Of #SNOW 🙂 Herbster & Me #We Are Going Out & About Today…. We Get To Bundle~Up 🙂 Yay! The Post~Office Is On Our List & A Bit More Christmas~Shopping Amongst All The Hustle & Bustle!!! & We Need To Get Some #Firewood Cause Tonight With Our House All~A~Glow… Supper Will Be Fireside…..& #WeToo Shall Be Warm & Cozy With Christmas~Carols Playing…..Kitty~Kisses To Jack From Me 😉 & Warm~Hugzzz & Always Love For You & Joe #BeMerryAndBright xoxo Ho~Ho~Ho! 🙂 & A #Poof! Your #ElfAngieTink 😉

    • sbranch says:

      Sounds like Christmas all across the country, except for our Girlfriends in California😥. We’re even getting a mix of rain and snow this morning! Sooooo cooooooold. Yay. Merry Christmas dear person. Another wonderful year! xoxoxoxo

      • AngieTink says:

        #CheckingIn Sweet~Elf~Sue…We Just Got Back…. Our Town Is #ALive The #HolidayShoppers Are #OutAndAbout….The Traffic Is #Crazy!!!! Oh~My~Goodness! 🙂 Yikes! & Of Course #Long~Lines At #ThePostOffice…..#Prayers For #OurCaliforniaGirlFriends…..I Chatted With One Of My Good~Friends #Yesterday #MaryEllen & She Said The #Smoke Is All~Around~Them…& It Is So Scary….So Lots Of Prayers & Good~Thoughts….. We Are Staying In The 50’s Even Now The~Air Is Cold #Crisp My Toes & Nose Are #Cold 😉 I Think You Are Gonna Get Lots Of #Snow & A #WhiteChristmas Is Very #Possible….#You Very #LuckyGirl…..#MerryChristmas!!! xoxo #Poof! 🙂 P.S. Tonight’s Menu #Fireside Grilled~Swiss~Cheese~Sandwiches & Homemade~Split~Pea~Soup #Winter~Yumminess! 😉

        • sbranch says:

          I love it when you get cold weather Angie, you always know exactly how to take advantage of it!!!! YUM! xoxo

  66. Carol on the farm in Iowa says:

    Anna Susanna Branchburger!! I love that! 😂❤️⛄️🏡🎄

  67. Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

    It’s just too sad to watch the news – had to turn it off this am when they showed confused deer running down the completely burned out HWY 33 to Matilija Canyon where Mailija Poppies originated which look like fried eggs made out of crepe paper. Residents ignored the mandatory evacuation order and fighting side-by-side with Firemen!

    Minimum 500 & counting homes lost in Ventura – these are hard working, middle class people 🙁

    It’s also back in the Sespe Wilderness – home of the endangered Condors.

    Californians, living in this shake and bake capital of the world are a gutsy bunch – my family on both sides were ranchers – pretty determined stock!

    The wild animals are devastated! There’s no escape for them.
    People rallying together to take in domestic and farm animals.

    Peace on earth – pray we can come together and help each other everyday rather than only in time of a crisis.

    Your Santa Mug is putting a smile on my face and helping me release and cry.

    Thanks, Susan! xoxoxo

    • sbranch says:

      That’s the thing. Our middle class is gutted and now this. I fact-checked it, and it’s true, the new tax bill calls for eliminating or severely curtailing the personal casualty deduction for losses from wildfires and other natural disasters. That won’t matter if you’re a billionaire, money for rebuilding is already there, but for the rest of us, this is insult added to injury. Our taxes are being rearranged so that the rich can get a permanent tax break. I’m sorry to veer off topic, but every moment matters. Every Californian should be calling his representative. xoxo Sending love Sandra.

  68. Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

    PS The smoke is so thick, without your mask your mouth is filled with grit from the ash particles. The smoke has traveled up to San Luis too. 🙁

  69. Karen says:

    It started snowing here in NJ just as I read this, magic indeed! Thanks for stirring up all that good holiday spirit, I’m off to wrap gifts and bake something up now! ❄️😊❄️

  70. Margot Birkett says:

    Good Morning ☀️
    I would have been up much sooner, but I got my Christmas cards ♥️ done. We got our snow around 8 pm last night, so I am guessing that yours is on the way❄️.
    I love the orange with the cloves. I thought of making one this year. I used to make the around 4th grade. The smells of the season are wonderful!
    My prayers go out to SoCal.
    Warm Hugs,

    • sbranch says:

      I learned to make them in Brownies, definitely an oldie but goodie! Congrats on the Christmas cards! xoxo Thank you Margot!

  71. Tawni Urrutia says:

    Christmas cheers to you and Joe and Jack, Sweet Susan!
    This is a Christmas confession. I have had your Christmas cookbook for decades. Every year it gets a little more “loved”…that is, more spattered with butter, dusted with flour, and filled with notes. The jacket has been torn and taped, and the spine is pink form sun exposure. But every year she sits on top of my window cornice box, on display when not in use. This year my husband Mike said, “Your Lady(that’s his title for you) would fall over if she saw this book!”. YIKES! I started thinking about all the work you put on every single page. But this book is full of Urrutia family Christmas history. Our son is 27, it’s been supplying him with waffles and cookies and Christmas morning bacon his whole life! Would you fall over if you saw my edition? Sooo, Taaaa Daaa, Mike gave me a brand spanking new one! For display. So my work horse edition can continue on in the holiday trenches.
    You can’t imagine the joyful impact you’ve had on our holidays!
    Tawni Urrutia in Lodi, Ca

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, “your lady!” Too cute! I love old food-spattered books. Badge of total honor is the way I see it. Into the holiday trenches it goes ~ and thank you from the bottom of my heart! You maka my dreams come true!

  72. Pat W. says:

    Thank you Susan for such a “Holly-Jolly” cheerful & full of wonderful ideas & thoughts. And thanks for the lovely bookmarks..perfect for my library ladies. May you & Joe have a “peace on earth” Christmas.

  73. Pat W. says:

    P.S. – Will continue to keep California in my prayers.

  74. Sandra in Santa Barbara says:


  75. Tana says:

    My favorite Christmas tradition is the setting up of the Creche. It must be done by a child of about 5. They have seen other creche and know what it is, but they have their own idea of how it should be done. One year my granddaughter brought Joseph, Mary and Baby Jesus outside of the creche and all the other figures stood in a circle around them, looking at baby Jesus. This year my 5 year old grandson set up the creche in a very traditional manner. Then we got to the bag of animals. I like sheep and have a number of them. He moved the figures around so all of the sheep could look at the Baby. About 20. I was planning on putting them around the house on tables and the mantel, but not now. They looked like they followed the shepherd down from the fields. Thomas said they wanted to see Baby Jesus too. The kids always get it so right. Try it, you’ll love it.

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t have a five year old! 😲 But I’m five in my heart, so it’s okay.😊 Love the creativity, and the lambs!

    • kathiellen says:

      I am 67 years old with no children living at home anymore, and the Crèche is also my favorite tradition. When I put ours up I begin with only animals in the stable and the shepherds and sheep are in the “field”. Mary, riding a donkey, and Joseph begin their journey to Bethlehem in our house moving from room to room every 3 days until Christmas Eve when they arrive at the stable. At midnight I put Baby Jesus in the manger, then re-arrange the stable to include a kneeling Mary, Joseph and an Angel, adoring animals, shepherds and a little drummer boy. The three kings will ” arrive” on Christmas night. I cannot explain the joy that this brings to me. It makes me a child again. When my children were small we had a home made ( 10″ doll sized ) wooden manger that would sit under the tree. (I kept a bag filled with straw on hand for this tradition). Before bedtime every night the children would tell me what good deeds that they had done that day. For each good deed I would give them a few pieces of straw to put into the manger to get it ready for Baby Jesus Birthday. They would go to sleep feeling very special about this…all smiles. On Christmas Eve at “midnight” ( which was really 6:00 for the children ) I would bring out the baby doll ( that was used only for this purpose,) and wrap it in swaddling clothes. Each year they would take turns carrying the Baby Jesus , while the other child carried a ” safe-lit ” candle. Beginning in the farthest room of the house we walked in procession, Baby Jesus in the arms of the “carrier”, and being led by the candle “holder”. We all would sing Silent Night and Away in a Manger until we came to the manger under the Christmas Tree. Then we all would sing Happy Birthday Dear Jesus while the Baby would be placed into the Manger. By then the manger was full of good deed straw and that was the Children’s loving gift to Jesus. They felt SO GOOD about themselves! Afterward we would all have Birthday Cake and ice cream, tell stories and then off to bed to wait for santa to come!!! I Love the originality of your grandchildren’s precious tradition of organizing the Crèche … is all from their heart, as it should be. They will grow up never forgetting this and it will become a treasured memory for them ❤️😀 God Bless you for being such a good. Grandma!!! ❌⭕️

  76. Lynn S says:

    Merry Christmas! Going to check out those cherries 🍒!

  77. Cindy Maulin says:

    Dear ASB and JoeH!!!!! Love this post, as usual and thank you for the special bookmarks!! The house looks fabulous and Joe, you are a magician with that Christmas décor!! Speaking of thank you’s, I am reminded, as I scroll through the comments made by our Girlfriends, that I need to send a HUGE THANK YOU to you dear Susan…..for I not only recognize so many names but actually know and have become friends with fellow Girlfriends!… Our Lollipop group and now our Happy Readers Book Club have all come together because of you! What a wonderful life-long super gift…grateful!! My guy Jerry also loves a well made Old-Fashioned…. sometimes he holds the simple syrup, the Angostura bitters, the orange slices, the Kirsch-soaked cherries, the cherry juice and the fizz…in an emergency of course!! LOL!!!! The weather has turned brisk here in Florida, which is OK with me! Perfect for baking and a Christmas party tonight! Making ham and cheese sliders on those Hawaiian Sweet Rolls with the oniony buttery poppy seedy sauce that you bake to share…..AND a cookie/candy platter…oh the spirit is high! But also, continuing to pray for those in peril in California and other parts of our country and the world. I know that we all must have friends and family that need our love….now is the time… be an elf!! Have the merriest of merry Susan and Joe..sending XOXOXOXOX”s
    Love, Cindy

    • sbranch says:

      OH Cindy, thank you so much! Yes, we’ve made so many wonderful new friends over the years …. it’s been a miracle. Kindred spirits! LOL, your husband’s recipe is so much easier than Joe’s!!! I am a total elf. In fact when I get done answering these comments, off I go to get into my elf costume and get some things done! Love you Cindy, thank you for the kind thoughts. xoxo

  78. Mary Ann in Missouri says:

    Oh, Susan, I love your blog posts! I had foot surgery the week of Thanksgiving and have been feeling a little blue and a LOT bored. Yesterday, I came to your blog hoping for a new post. I knew that would cheer me up, but it wasn’t to be. Then, THIS! Yay! I’ve already ordered some of the wonderful cherries you told us about in this post. Can’t wait to get them. As I knew it would, your post has brought me such joy. I am really in the Christmas spirit now. Thank you, sweet Susan.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so happy to hear that Mary Ann! Hope your foot sets you free again soon! Enjoy the lights and the carols. xoxoxo

  79. I finally sat in my chair today, a rare no where to go and nothing to do day. Cup of coffee ☕ at my side in your Christmas mug, feet up, puppy In my lap, christmas 🎄 music on, and I am ready to immerse myself in your Blog. Not only is it fun to read, but it is so pretty to look at. I thank you once again for giving us all a look into your life, a little slice of heaven. I am tired of being angry with all that is in the news these days, as can be seen on my Twitter account. No Twitter, no Washington Post, no MSNBC today. Only your blog and christmas movies. My hubby agrees. Peaceful. Love you, Susan. 💖

  80. Cynthia McDonald says:

    Thank you, Susan, for your wonderful, inspiring and beautiful blog! I appreciate your sharing uplifting things, and I know it must be pretty time consuming, so thank you especially for sharing your time with all your fans. Happy Christmas to you and your family.

    • sbranch says:

      It does take a while, and sometimes I’m busy, or lazy, but after a while, I miss everyone…it’s just like letter writing! Thank you Cynthia, Happy Christmas to you and yours.

  81. Laurie, Nico's mom says:

    Dearest Susan,
    Thank you so much for the link with the bunny trapped in the fire. That this man risked his own life to save this little one makes me think there is hope for humanity yet. Bunnies are such sweet but largely misunderstood little creatures. I think of them as God’s way of testing us and unfortunately most of us fail miserably. Rabbits and other prey species are so easily mistreated and are largely defenceless against us.
    We are currently living with four bunnies (down from seven) and they are the light of my life (next to you, of course😉). If you or any of the girlfriends are interested in what living with a pet bunny is like, check out the House Rabbit Society at
    I hope, Susan that all your friends and family in California are safe from the fires and that this time of crisis will end soon. No one should lose their home at Christmas, be it human or bunny. 🐰

    • sbranch says:

      Most animals are defenseless against humans, sadly. And I know God put them here as a gift, and to test our humanity and decency, which we fail rather miserably at. Bunnies, so sweet, trusting loving. Like kitties, and dogs and cows and every other thing. That man was a hero to me, and to so many. Love you Laurie!

  82. Marguerite says:

    I found “Stillmeadow Calendar” by Gladys Taber sitting on the shelf at the library. I had never read any of her books but remembered her name from your blog.

    The book was a delight and I read it in the very best way–with a lighted Christmas tree, fire in the pellet stove, cup of coffee, cuddled in a soft blanket with Bella, the sweetest little Chihuahua ever put on this earth. Simple pleasures are always the best.

    Twice in this book Gladys Taber mentioned one of her “beloved” authors–Beverley Nichols. I could hardly believe my eyes because Beverley Nichols has been one of my favorite authors for years. But no one knows him (he was English and Beverley is a boy’s name) today. His books are delightful and I, too, have reread them several times.

    For cat lovers, Mr. Nichols wrote two short books, “Cats’ A, B, C” and “Cats’ X, Y, Z”. He adored cats and knew he would have many during his lifetime, so he decided rather than struggling to think up names, he would simply start with “One”, “Two”, “Three” . . . which worked well until he got to “Six”. He decided he could not go outside and shout “Six, Six” within hearing distance of his neighbors.

    So, your recommendation of Gladys Taber was a double treat for me, and I just wanted to thank you for the recommendation.

    • sbranch says:

      Cute story, six six six, ha ha ha! You are so welcome. Kindred spirits manage to find each other in the dark!

  83. Peggy Cooper says:

    Didn’t get a chance to read this until this evening, and I’m glad I waited since we have our first snow here in Roanoke, Virginia. So your cozy words were just the right thing for a cozy evening.

  84. Lorie Hartsig says:

    Merry Christmas and thank you for your lovely gift of snowy scenes and the picture of all of you kids (minus your little sister). We have snow here at our little Delaware beach and THE CROWN is streaming on netflix! A cozy Sunday, indeed. btw: Have you discovered Call the Midwife? My FAV!
    Merry Christmas to you and your sweet Joe.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh yes, seen that lots. Went back for a recap of the full first season of The Crown yesterday (while painting) … putting off new season to make it last for a while! Enjoy your snow you lucky girl! Merry Christmas!

  85. Beth from Iowa says:

    Thanks once again for a really beautiful blog – sounds like EVERYONE needed this one!! No snow in central Iowa – just a few flurries in the corners of the state – these wonky weather patterns have moved it all elsewhere. I would gladly give up every flake to CA if it would help.
    The super moon shone down on our 25th Christmas celebration this year! I drug everyone outside to see it – even though it was pretty cold. Even mother nature was celebrating that night!!😇
    Husbands are the best when it comes to outdoor decorating – mine gets up on a huge ladder holding onto a 10 ft extension pole to get our lights way up in the maple tree. I stand on the ground clutching the phone and saying many Hail Marys – so far so good she’s still listening😘.
    I hope you, Joe and little Jack will have a really great Christmas and New Year!

    PS: all of our sheets have holes in them from Kitty Kisses – they like to help making the beds!

    • sbranch says:

      Us either. I knew it was weird, but you just proved it. No snow in Iowa or New England? But snow in West Texas and almost everywhere else? This can’t be right! Hug that good husband of yours! xoxo Merry Merry Beth!

  86. Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

    They are now evacuating eastern part of Montecito as well as Carpinteria 🙁 includes flowers grown for Rose Parade,,,,

    I’m downtown Santa Barbara so ok at this point but could not imagine it’d move into Montecito! Ash looks like dusting of snow as it floats down gracefully….about 1/2 – 1″.

    Trying best to stay calm reading your delightful blog,…..what would we all do without you, Susan? Reading your Christmas Book you signed in 1992 for me at I believe @ PS Limited.

    Think I’m in shock. It’s not the fear it’s going to burn my home, it’s the mass devastation to so many – especially the animals.

    Thanks for all the love and prayers!

    • sbranch says:

      That’s me too. The beauty that’s being destroyed. We need it so much. And the loss for some people. All profound. Of course we’re sad. xoxo

  87. Carolyn says:

    ❤️. That is all.

  88. Missi says:

    What a wonderful post to read this morning. Love all the pictures too!!

    I just received my desk calendar in the mail. Please keep making this type of calendar!! Yours is the most beautiful! Most are so sterile for a business office. I use my calendar at my kitchen desk.

    Merry Christmas and blessings in the new year!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ll make it as long as they let me … I design for the manufacturer that makes this calendar (it’s called licensing), and so far they love it so keep our fingers crossed! Merry Christmas Missi!

  89. Sharon in So. Calif. says:

    Hi just wondering if I got lost, have been in moderation mode for 2 days 🙂

  90. Mary S. says:

    Dear Susan, I am so happy that you saw The Man Who Invented Christmas! I was just getting ready to tell you about it! I loved it so, so much! I thought Matthew was marvelous in it. Did you know that PBS Masterpiece is coming out with a new Little Women on Mother’s Day? I am very excited about that! It’s going to be on Sunday night Mother’s Day and the following Sunday night. I just have to tell you that I’ve always done the same thing you do – turning out all the lights and just leaving the Christmas lights on, and sitting and looking at the Christmas tree while listening to Christmas music! I have done that since I was a little girl. I used to do that instead of doing my homework! LOL! Lots of love from Mary S. In Fresno, California

    • sbranch says:

      I heard about the new Little Women … we’ll be in the Lake District in England on Mother’s Day, basking in the glow of our wonderful picnic in Beatrix Potter’s garden, so I guess we’ll have to see it when we get home! Quite the compliment, Masterpiece doing American author! They picked the best.

  91. Hi Susan,
    I enjoyed your post as always, made me smile and filled me with inspiration.
    I am so excited to travel with you once again. 😉

  92. Janet in Pittsburgh says:

    Thanks so much for such comfort and joy at such a busy time of year. I absolutely love how you sit in front of the tree each year, listening to Frank Sinatra. There are several traditions that I do each and every year. I think it keeps us all young at heart. Merry Christmas to you, Joe and Jack.

    • sbranch says:

      Brings back our childhood excitement … and dreams. Very special to have those quiet moments. Merry Christmas Janet. xoxo

  93. Judy Lincicum says:

    Dearest Susan, I am so excited to tell you what I have just found, but probably already know about it, being the English lover you are. I just learned of a site called Britbox that plays nothing but British movies and TV. It currently is paying a series of episodes called Dickensian, which are weekly episodes of Charles Dickens characters all thrown together in the most interesting of stories. You will recognize them all, I’m sure. It has different programming than Acorn which is also British, but besides Dickensian, it has Cranford, Larkrise to Candleford, Emma, Pride and Prejudice and many more classics. I just didn’t want you to miss out in case you have not heard of it. Merry Christmas and much love to you, Joe and Jack.

    • sbranch says:

      I now have Comcast, Amazon, Netflix, Filmstruck, and Acorn… TV is costing an arm and a leg, and they keep making more that I want. I think I’ve drawn the line. Getting rid of Filmstruck because I can’t make it work. Britbox is killing me, it has all my favorite things! But I do have Cranford on DVD, Emma and Pride are recorded…see if Britbox has Hobson’s Choice … one of my very favorites of all. Merry Christmas Judy! xoxoxo

  94. Margaret Harke says:

    Merry Christmas to you, Anna Susana Branchburger. I am so looking forward to you taking me again to England, but I am most excited to be going via your blog to Ireland. Thank you, Maggie Fitzgerald

  95. Denise S says:

    I have not commented for a long time, but I have a potpourri of responses this time. I read of so many deep and serious topics. But I find myself totally fixated on the before and after pictures of your dining room! Your touch is evident of course. But unlike the design magazines your outstanding design is real, individualized, quirky and lovely. And so welcoming.

    I’m also taken with the comment on your very worn Christmas book with the husband calling you “your lady.” I know you got a laugh out of it but it set me to thinking. Susan, can you imagine how many households have some version of that? Where you are a character in the family? It happens in mine. “Oh Susan would love that” has been said more than once!

    Merry Christmas to you and Joe!

    • sbranch says:

      How could I not love that? When writing my first book, my dream was that some of my recipes would become “family favorites.” I tried to make them really good! And now, here we are, and I am Susan and your lady, and feeling humbled, grateful, lucky. I’ve tried blood oranges, they add wonderful color to the depth and beauty of the drink and make it even more festive, if that’s possible! Merry Christmas Denise. Love hearing from you. xoxo

  96. Denise S says:

    PS. I forgot this in my comment. I can’t wait to try the Amarena cherries in Joe’s old fashioned. They are so popular here they are in the grocery store! I also have a small innovation to this excellent recipe. I use blood oranges! Girlfriends, this really is the greatest version of this drink ever. I never liked old fashioned until this version. Try it.

  97. Rhonda says:

    I adore your inner voice brought outward, Susan dear Branch. You bring with your words and person a “feeling” and a “place” that doesn’t exist outside of beautiful you! It is actually a powerful, wonderful thing that you do when you bring a community of friends here for a read and a chat. I’m grateful that one of my dear friends told me that you were here.
    I read all of your books as if a person starved for a story. 🙂 Blessings to you and all that you do.

    • sbranch says:

      You are so sweet Rhonda, thank you for the kind words and please tell your dear friend that I said thank you! Merry Christmas! xoxo

  98. Candice Hill says:

    Dear Susan…Just wanted to thank you for the cute bookmarks. I love them! I hope you have a very Merry Christmas. Wuv, Candy 🙂

  99. Karen says:

    Beautiful, simply beautiful. Thank-you so much, as always.

  100. Kathy Hughes says:

    Oh, how I needed to read your blog today! In fact, I had missed the last two. Wouldn’t you think in retirement that life would slow down? Thank you for the beauty of it, the great suggestions, the comments that made me laugh aloud, and for the wonderful pictures and artwork as always. Love you and Joe! Have a lovely, merry Christmas!

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