Merry Merry Darling Girlfriends! MUSICA Take a deep breath everyone.🎁 

And Happy Christmas Eve!

Our halls are decked . . . twinkle lights are bouncing around, from the tree, around our doors, reflected in the windows and mirrors, and even in the reflection on the table! 

I think I even see them in Jack’s eyes! He’s being so good with the tree. Not interested in the lit up behemoth at the end of the room. Perhaps, he thinks, it might fight back! Taking no chances! Very smart kitty. 😻

Our tree is bedecked with favorite ornaments. New and old.

from near and far

From our English friend Siobhan (say it Shiv-On), she made from a seashell she found when she came to visit and dated it too, making a perfect memory. One of the must-haves on our tree.

And this little house, from one of my new embroidery kits . . . a new must-have!

And this one, marked “1982,” my first year on Martha’s Vineyard. I have dated ornaments all over this tree. If I can’t find one for the year, I make something, or get a little knitted sweater or stocking ornament and embroider the date on it!

All sparkly! Colored lights, candle light, fire crackling, Dean singing.

And I’ve been keeping busy at my day job! You should SEE all the new art I have for next year’s calendar (2019)! It’s such a gift to have time to play with my art. Another blessing to count today. And every day. Time . . . 💞 for the things and the people we love.

Like brittle making! I’ve been busy in the kitchen too . . .

To give to a BFF with the basket and lace cloth.

And this too . . . SUCH a wonderful time of year! Love is in the air!  Along with cooking sugar, pine, woodsmoke, bayberry, and oranges ~ all the wonderful smells of Christmas.

The rain came a couple of days ago and took our snow away. This is a cardinal, another excellent ornament, at the feeder outside our kitchen window, swinging in the wind and snow, during the rain that took it all away! Today it’s 41 degrees ~ Joe and I are dressing up (in festive “Be-an-elf” scarves and hats) and going downtown to our little old-fashioned Main Street to say hello to shop owners, buy stocking stuffers, look for our 2017 ornament, fool around, be festive, eat lunch. I love lunch out. For me, it’s the perfect Christmas Eve thing to do.🎄I hope there will be carol singers wandering the street! I know the Fisher Farm wagon pulled by horses and filled with happy bundled people will be clip-clopping down the street ~ because it does that every year! Yay for tradition! ❤️ 

Stockings are hung by our chimney with care, but they need to be filled! Looks like a job for Santa Claus! And I wanted to remind you of this MOST wonderful recipe for the Cranberry Tea Cake, the perfect Christmas morning thing to eat. The perfect new “forever” tradition just in cases you’re needing one! 😍

I couldn’t let this moment get away without wishing you all a Beautiful and Blessed Holiday filled with Love, Joy, Peace, and Musica (sent to bless us all by  the angels). Here’s to 2018 and lots of singing tea kettles!

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564 Responses to MERRY MERRY JOY to the WORLD

  1. Joann says:

    A Very Merry Christmas Susan and Joe—-may the Season be kind, may the New Year be wonderful and blessed……….and may the twinkle of lights remain long after the last tinsel is tucked away. Happy New Year!! XOXO

  2. Pam Wilson says:

    Merry Christmas, Susan and Joe! I loved reading your blog and seeing your cozy home all decked out for Christmas! Thank you for making 2017 more beautiful for all of us out here in Susan Branch Land!! We just moved from Danvers to Boxford a few days ago and one of the first things I did was to set out my Christmas Joy and Christmas From the Heart of the Home books. My daughter in law, Kristin, and I continue to soak up every quotation, drawing, recipe and all that you provide to your readers. Have a joyous holiday!

  3. Cathy Aquilina says:

    Merry Christmas Susan & Joe! Have a blessed day! Its almost Christmas Day, we’ve had a very busy Christmas Eve!

  4. Karen Gaudiosi says:

    Merry Christmas 🎁🎄! Love the ornaments on your tree 🌲Mine are all handmade, came from Germany, and all have special meaning and memories. There’s even a starfish for good luck in the New Year!

  5. linny says:

    Susan thanks for your great blogs and merry Christmas to you and Joe. The great lady, Carrie, is what Christmas is all about, such a blessing to her world and now sharing it here. peace and love to all. Ld

    • Carrie from Canada 🇨🇦 says:

      Hi Linny! I am so touched by your warm comment!
      We truly all are girlfriends, together, forever, through life’s blessings and tribulations, courtesy of blessed-Susan, and her wonderful blog!
      I wish you all the good things life has to offer.
      You too, are one of Santa’s elves, spreading joy, everyday. I can tell.
      Keeping magic and love in our hearts is the key, I believe…and yes, we all will continue to BELIEVE! When we believe in goodness, joy and light, all else falls away. Susan is the master of love, magic and spreading joy!
      Her blog helped heal my broken heart after my husband died, and in turn, my heart grew bigger and love spilled over to others.
      Hugs to you too, Linny.
      Carrie xoxoxo

  6. linda matera says:

    Merry Merry Christmas Susan………..We just got home from our grandson’s house.It was a fun amazing Christmas…Especially sinc
    e we found out that we will soon be Great Grand Parents!!!!
    Isn’t that GRAND?!!!! I am so excited and can’t wait to make a quilt for our newest member…..My daughter is going to be a grandma…wow…We are Blessed

    Have a blessed Christmas!

    • Jane Alexander says:

      Linda you sound like me this year. My son became a granddad to his grandson in March. Such joy! Love and blessing to you. This seems to have been one of the highlights of my life!

  7. Karen Schrimpf Saunders says:

    Merry Christmas Joe and Susan. Have a blessed new year!!💙💙💙💙💙🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄

  8. Ann Woleben says:

    Christmas blessings and joy for 2018~

  9. Sherry Johnson says:

    This missive that I opened just before going to bed is my #1 thing to be grateful for today. Thank you, and blessings for tomorrow and the new year too.

  10. Linda Pintarell says:

    Merry Christmas Susan and Joe! Sending wishes for joy and good health in the New Year!

  11. Linda J. Smith says:

    Happy Christmas Eve and a merry Christmas Day and may the New Year hold the blessings of good health and happiness for you, Joe, and your Jack! ❄🌲❄

  12. Sue says:

    Merry Christmas Susan and Joe, the clock just struck midnight. Just wanted to say thank you for reaching out so positively through your posts. You brighten mine and so many others lives. Thank you for your example of joy, contentment and genuine thoughtfulness expressed in these many pages. Happy Days.

  13. Candice says:

    Merry Christmas Susan, Joe & Jack. Thank you for your wonderful blog, Williard’s and tweets. You are a gift to everyone 365 days a year!
    All the BEST for 2018!

  14. Angie Burrett says:

    Merry Christmas Susan and Joe: you bring so much joy and delight to so many. 28 years ago I discovered your cook book whilst we were on holiday in Cape Cod. And your books have been a joy and your art has been enjoyed month on month in the calendars in my kitchen in deepest Devon UK ever since. Thank you. I wish you peace joy good health and continuous creative pleasure in 2018. X 💕

  15. Betty H says:

    Merry Christmas to you too Susan, I have enjoyed your blog so much this year. We are not having presents at home this year as we decided it can take over and cause stress, we are just having good food and time together. I heard on the radio about someone doing 12 acts of kindness and am trying to do the same, it’s fun to think up small gestures to make someone else a better day and I have found it gives me a little time to think about what other peoples’ Christmas might feel like, you could be very rich for example but sad because your lonely, very poor but happy because your children are tucked up in bed snug, you know, that kind of thing. I am not a do gooder, in fact I work in a call centre job where empathy is one of the requirements and I lack it, but it isnt something you can measure and just tick a box for – so this little exercise is great for working on it! (and I have been practising my watercolour a little, thanks for your encouragement when you visited my blog ages ago, it made my day!). Blessings to you and yours. Betty (UK) x

  16. sylvia in seattle says:

    Merry Christmas to all. We have a Christmas Eve miracle of weather here in Seattle/Ballard – SNOW falling and covering the trees and ground. Hardly ever happens. So pretty. Love it.

  17. The Merriest of Christmas’s from Todd and myself. I hope it is the best one ever for you and Joe and Jack! Loved seeing your festive decorations, etc. I loved the first quote from Dale Evans. When my mother was a very young girl (she is 85 now) Dale and Roy were camping in a lot across the street from her parents, along with their crew. Roy came to my grandparents house to ask for some soda crackers because Dale was experiencing morning sickness due to pregnancy. A much simpler time! We are having a quiet Christmas with just us two and our cocker Mitzie this year. We will enjoy some nice food, some great Christmas telly and just canoodling together in our little home. All the best for you and Joe in 2018! Looking forward to the Lakes and the picnic! xoxo

  18. Judy Purdy says:

    Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season. So, enjoyed all your Christmas traditions, always look forward to your blog. I usually save it till I am ready for bed. For it nice to read something positive and fun, it brings on the sweet dreams. Have a very Merry Christmas!

  19. Suzette Shoulders says:

    Happy Christmas, Susan and Joe! I just was checking to see if you had posted to the blog, and there was a new message! Your blog has been such a bright spot in my life this year, and your books, I love! I am so happy you are going to England again, and we will see another loverly book from that experience! May the light you shine into so many lives be reflected back on you Christmas morning! hugs from central Oregon, where the high today was 20.5 degrees! Inside was toasty warm , and we had friends come to dinner with us, so we all enjoyed the tree and exchanged gifts and laughed and talked for hours. Have you read ‘The Fur Person’ by May Sarton? I think if you haven’t, you should, for you live with such a special fun person, Jack the Amazing Cat! I always love seeing what he is getting into. I am surprised he isn’t interested in the Christmas tree… our cats always prowled around under the branches as if they were in the jungle, stalking some prey! Bye bye again, and may your Christmas Day be wonderful! Suzette

  20. Linda Hill says:

    Thank you for the wonderful post. I t brightened my evening. Blessed Christmas to you and yours and that sweet kitty! Linda from Idaho where it has been snowing all evening.

  21. Kelly Reid Machnov says:

    Happy Christmas Susan, Joe & Jack, from chilly Walnut Creek, California where it is a balmy 29 degrees! I want to wish you the very best and thank you for the wonderful blog and the online shopping which makes gift giving so easy and at the same time very special. Best wishes for a bright and Happy New Year!

    – Kelly🎄❤️🎄

  22. Linda C. says:

    What a Wonderful surprise to find a “Christmas Post” on your site this evening,
    Thank You so much Susan 🙂 Merry Christmas to You & Yours !

    Love from,
    Linda C of So Cal

    *Jesus is the Reason for the Season* 🙂

  23. Paula Johnson says:

    Thank you for taking the time to post on Christmas Eve, Susan. Today, I finished re-reading Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams. I began reading A Fine Romance (the one you signed on the Queen Mary 2) again, tonight. Your books are the only books (besides the Bible) that I read over and over again! I have read a small handful of books twice, but I keep going back to read your books: the combination of art, quotes, photos, your humorous, witty, and heartfelt, unaffected way of writing make for a delightful, entertaining read! I think about what was really going on in the nitty gritty of your heart and emotions when you first moved to the Island and I am amazed that you turned that into positiveness in spite of the heartache/heartbreak. I have not been brave enough to re-read A Fairy Tail Girl yet. It is also well written and has so many great stories; it is just so hard to hear all you went through. I will read it again, though!

    Much love to you and Joe and a very Happy New Year. I look forward to hanging my new Susan Branch calendars~but I am still enjoying December 2017.

    • sbranch says:

      You are so sweet Paula, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I felt I had to tell the hard stuff in order to make the good stuff understandable. Most of us, sooner or later, will have some sort of crisis of the heart . . . we all get through the best we know how. Happy New Year to you and yours!

      • Paula Johnson says:

        Thank you, Susan. Telling how you got through your “crisis of the heart” has probably given hope to others going through a similar experience, and will continue to do so. Thank you for keeping your diaries all these years! That in itself is a feat. I have trouble writing in mine every day, and if I miss a day, it is amazing how quickly I cannot recall things that I KNOW were important at the time! 🙂 A big hug for you!

        • sbranch says:

          I know just what you mean. I love knowing what I made for Christmas dinner last year! And that’s just the beginning. Has to be part of some sort of beginning of day or end of day ritual. Or both. Happy New Year Paula! xoxo

  24. Vicki Robinson says:

    Merry Christmas Susan and Joe! Wishing you God’s Blessings in 2018.

  25. Joan kotvas says:

    Merry Christmas. Snowing but hope to travel to Oglebay to see festive lights. Happy and healthy New Year to you and Joe and to all girlfriends. Peace in 2018. ❤

  26. Wende Taylor says:

    Merry Christmas Sue, Joe n’ Jack. Wishing you God’s blessings.
    Cheers to 2018!
    (PS: my Dave made your “old fashion” drink tonight from your recipe and LOVED it, he wanted you to know 😀)

  27. Marianne M says:

    Happy Holidays, and thank you for taking time to write your lovely blog, it always make my day(s).

  28. Judy from Maine says:

    It’s still dark here in Maine on this Christmas morning. The snow is falling and that special snow quiet is surrounding me. I just re read your Christmas blog, always a special read. Thank you for being you. Merriest of Christmas to you and yours.

    • Margot in Sister Bay says:

      Wow Judy! What a great description of a gentle snow storm. “That special snow quiet” has always been so difficult for me to explain to folks who have never experienced snow. The white diamond blanket that is left. Trees with white frosting on top.

  29. Laurene says:

    Susan, I made the cranberry tea bread, without the nuts, and served it last night. Delicious even cold with some cream cheese. Merry Christmas and a creative and healthy New Year.

  30. Peg says:

    Wishing a joyous Christmas to you, Joe and Jack!

  31. Annie Semega says:

    Happy Christmas dearest Susan & your cool hubby Joe! I always look forward to new posts on your blog & the Willards. Being laid up with plantar fasciitis, I couldn’t decorate this year & yesterday my darling hubby developed the flu…so many thanks are in order for bringing the spirit of Christmas into our home last night.

    Wanted to alert you & Joe to an article on the “English Riviera” that appeared on “The Daily Mail’s” website. Wow! Sounds amazing. You can search that term, check on their travel section, or send me an email & I can send the link. xoxoxo

    • sbranch says:

      We’ve missed Christmas too a few times, and it’s just made the next year even more festive. Enjoy your “time off” and get well soon. I looked up the English Riviera article, very interesting, thank you!

  32. Deb says:

    🎅 Wishing you, Joe and Jack a beautiful and loving Merry Christmas and a peaceful Happy New Year. Thank you for you, Sweet Sue, and all that you do for the world. 🎄

  33. Paula Wallace says:

    Merry Christmas Susan, Joe and Jack! I just loved seeing the pictures of your tree and all the lovely decorations! I hope to make your cranberry tea bread! Wishing you all a Happy New Year as well! Your blogs are so uplifting! Thanks for sharing! We ❤️ you!

  34. Arnette Webb says:

    Merry Christmas! Have a Blessed New Year!

  35. Ginette Wheeler says:

    Merry Christmas Susan, Joe and sweet Jack! Hope Santa filled your stockings with care! Much Love for the New Year!

  36. Shannon(Pennsylvania) says:

    Merry Christmas dearheart, to those you love and to those who love you back! Right now we are headed south on I81 on our way from PA to WV. Christmas Eve was wonderful, spent with daughter and dear son in law, son and beloved grandsons, and oldest grandson’s new girlfriend. Hubby and I attend late Christmas Eve candlelight service at church, got up at 6 this morning, and should be at my moms by noon! I81 is normally packed with traffic but we pretty much have it to ourselves this morning. Happy holidays, dear girlfriends and kindred spirits, wherever you might be this Christmas day❤️

  37. Cheryl in Northern Virginia says:

    Merry Christmas!

  38. AngieTink says:

    #HoHoHo 😉 Merry~Christmas~Morning My Sweet~Elf~Sue & Santa~Joe & Jack! 🙂 Santa Was Here!!! 🙂 Oh~My~Goodness!!! Hooray!!! Twirling Under The~Mistletoe 🙂 😉 Elf~Herbster & Elf~Me Have Been Doing The~Christmas~Jiggity~Jig All Morning…. & Of~Course Opening Our Christmas~Gifts!!! 🙂 🙂 Clearly We Both Have Been Very~Good All Year! 🙂 😉 I Was Flying Around Sipping My~Christmas~Hot~Chocolate & Here I Am Reading Your Magical~Christmas~Blog! I Love Your #ChristmasTree & #Jack Is Beyond Adorable! (Christmas~Kitty) Meowy~Christmas~Jack! Thank~You For All #YourChristmasMagic Sweet~Elf~Sue! I Think You Are Getting #MoreSNOW Today!!!! So Enjoy Your White~Christmas! #HoHoHo & Make a Snow~Angel For Me 🙂 Wishing You & Joe & Jack The Most~Magical~Christmas~Day! Yay! With Lots Of LOVE & JOY & Warm~Hugzzz xoxo #Poof! Jingle~Bells & Silver~Bells & Hark~The~Herald~Angels~Sing…… 🙂 😉 🙂

  39. Tricia B says:

    Merry Christmas 🎄 and a lovely holiday to you dearest Susan, Joe and Jack! I hope you have a blessed day! Thank you for your blog posts and the wonderful artwork you share with us throughout the year! Happy Holidays! ❤️😘. Happy Holidays to all of the girlfriends and boyfriends throughout Susan Branch Land of Smallville! Peace on Earth and good will to you all!
    To Carrie in Canada …. GOD bless you! Thank you for being an angel here on earth and reminding me that though there is so much craziness in the world today… what you did for your friends and loved ones… brought me to tears. Tears of joy for your goodness! Thank you! Merry Christmas 🎄

    • Carrie from Canada 🇨🇦 says:

      My dear Tricia!…my heart literally leapt, reading what you wrote! You too, are an angel, and I thank you for writing all that you did. I am so moved. Literally. I am in tears. Joyful tears.
      So many good thoughts/feelings are exchanged, just from you writing and me writing, I see that and feel your goodness.
      I wish you continual joy too. It’s contagious, isnt it? You see that too, right? Joy is the best remedy and it starts by feeling it in our hearts. Then sharing it with others.
      And Susan shows us the way. It may be magic and our Lord, but it is truly, our Susan.
      Hugs to you too,

      • sbranch says:

        Thank you again Carrie … and once more, we can all see, it doesn’t take so much, it’s always the little things when it comes to people. Blessings for us all. xoxoxo

  40. Carolyn Rector says:

    Always love your posts. Love to see the pictures of your beautiful home. We got snow last night after 7 pm and now it’s 19 degrees here in Ohio. Merry Christmas to you, Joe and Jack, of course. Received your calendar for a Christmas gift.:)

  41. Bobbie Calgaro says:

    Merry Christmas Susan and Joe! Hope there is snow in your forecast today. We awoke to snow in PA where we are visiting family. Many blessings and peace in the new year.

  42. Kathie Ferko says:

    Merry Christmas to everyone…..
    To dear Susan and Joe…the merriest of holiday seasons
    To girlfriends around the globe….happiest of holidays
    Susan…your house looks amazing as always.
    Just received your 2018 calendar today….
    You remembered my suggestion of Louisa May Alcott’s
    Birthday on 11/29…. same day as me.
    As always
    Kathie from Limerick

  43. Patti Varga says:

    Merriest of Christmases to you Susan, Joe & Jack. Your messages are so inspiring and refreshing. I feel like you are a next-door neighbors although we are states apart. I did meet you in New Hope, PA at your book signing and tea. I visited Martha’s Vineyard about ten years ago so I can picture all you describe
    in your blogs. Until I visit MV again, I lose myself in the pages of your many books. Good health and happiness to you all in 2018.

  44. Debbie on Cape Cod says:

    My dear Susan, may your Christmas be filled with song and good cheer. Thank you for all the happiness you bring us through out the year!❤️

  45. Cindy Maulin says:

    Cindy Maulin
    December Cindy Maulin says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    December 24, 2017 at 10:37 am
    Good Morning Susan and Joe!!! and Merry Christmas Eve!! Big news!!! It’s snowing here in St. Louis…a beautiful soft fluttery snow…#snowglobe….watching the joy and anticipation on my 7-year-old’s face is priceless..AND…she got a call from Santa Claus this morning reminding her to be sure to get to bed right on time tonight..🎅🏼 cute moment…
    I can see from your blog post that things are Christmasy ( word?😊) at your house. I know what you mean about going out and about on Christmas Eve…. visiting friends and neighbors and spreading Christmas cheer is just the best! Enjoy your festive day!! We are headed out for a hike along the river…. so over the river and through the snow we go! Merry Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2018!!❤️❤️
    Cindy Maulin says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    December 24, 2017 at 10:42 am
    me again….to clarify.,. The 7-year-old is my GRANDDAUGHTER !!! LOL!! Whew
    and I forgot to say how much I love the news print concerning the “shocking cake recipe”….😁…those firefighters are sure witty…❤️
    Reply24, 2017 at 10:37 am
    Good Morning Susan and Joe!!! and Merry Christmas Eve!! Big news!!! It’s snowing here in St. Louis…a beautiful soft fluttery snow…#snowglobe….watching the joy and anticipation on my 7-year-old’s face is priceless..AND…she got a call from Santa Claus this morning reminding her to be sure to get to bed right on time tonight..🎅🏼 cute moment…
    I can see from your blog post that things are Christmasy ( word?😊) at your house. I know what you mean about going out and about on Christmas Eve…. visiting friends and neighbors and spreading Christmas cheer is just the best! Enjoy your festive day!! We are headed out for a hike along the river…. so over the river and through the snow we go! Merry Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2018!!❤️❤️
    Cindy Maulin says:

    December 24, 2017 at 10:42 am
    me again….to clarify.,. The 7-year-old is my GRANDDAUGHTER !!! LOL!! Whew
    and I forgot to say how much I love the news print concerning the “shocking cake recipe”….😁…those firefighters are sure witty…❤️

    • Cindy Maulin says:

      Dear Susan….my techno gremlins are lurking… so sorry for this debacle!!! It’s going to take a Christmas miracle to make sense of it all !!!!! 🎄😘

    • sbranch says:

      Here we go Cindy … I don’t know how you did this, but somehow you managed to combine all of your comments… Love you dear, happy Boxing Day, and all the days of your life! xoxox

  46. Charlotte M. says:

    Merry Christmas Susan and Joe and Jack! My brother is in Vermont and it is snowing gangbusters up there his Christmas morning. Hope you get some too.

  47. Darla Unger says:

    Thanks for all the blogs…. I can imagine how cute your house is decorated. Have a Merry Christmas and New Year!!

  48. Judy in Oregon says:

    Merry Christmas!

  49. Anne says:

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you Susan (Joe and Jack too❤️)! Thank you for this comfort spot we can come to all year long….it’s the best😘👍❤️
    It snowed 2 inches in Pittsburgh this morning! It was so pretty and perfect👏❤️❄️

  50. Charl says:

    Hello Susan,
    Cyber-sending ….”Merriest Christmas Wishes!”
    I hope you, Joe & Jack have a wonderful and magical Holiday!
    Warm Hugs,
    Charl (Cape)

  51. Jane says:

    Happy 2018! Looking forward to it! Love!

  52. Patricia Basher says:

    My dearest Susan,
    It’s Patricia, from Spain. Merry, merry Christmas to you and all your beloved ones!!! Know what? You were present here at my home yesterday on xmas eve. I cooked for the first time your sweet potato casserole as dressing for my stuffed turkey, and… know what? It made mu dad clap!!! Oh myyy! My dad who’s Mr “this is sour” or maybe “it’s too salty” was delighted with the casserole and I felt so waaaaa!!! For an extra of happiness Father Christmas bring me your 2018 calendar and “falling in love with the english countryside” and I felt that was the cherry on my ice cream!!! Isn’t it beautiful? How your recipes and art reach so far, and with a little of my own work in the kitchen, we together made a kind of grinch man clap? Thank you for that!! Lots of love , your spanish friend ,
    Pd: I am sorry, my english is a little poo!

    • sbranch says:

      Patricia! Hello waaaay over there! Yay, I was in Spain for Christmas Eve! And together, you and me, we made the grinch man clap! Who could possibly ask for anything more? My day is made! Thank you Patricia! Your English is wonderful! Happy 2018! xoxo

  53. Ruth Thomas says:

    Merry Christmas! Thank you for another year of bringing beauty into our lives and showing us those things that can pass us by. Love you and Joe!

  54. Jody says:

    Thank you for a year of goodness and blessings. I have to tell you that I have been reading through my old book, Christmas from the Heart of the Home, by Susan Branch. Next year I will read it in November. I especially enjoyed the little story, “Loss of Innocence” this year. I have 9 grandkids and some believe in Santa, and some do not. Your story made me think of my childhood love of Santa.
    Merry Christmas and JOY-full new year!

  55. Julie says:

    Merry Christmas!! Hope all is well, glad you have more time for the art we all will get to enjoy. I found a new magazine that I gifted myself–made me think of you and your blog. It’s called LandLove and it is printed in the UK. Do you know of it?

    • sbranch says:

      I went and looked it up, seems like my cup of tea. I’ll get one while we’re in England! Merry Christmas Julie, thank you for the inspiration!

  56. Hillaire Gallagher says:

    Merry Christmas to you Susan, Joe and Jack…Happy 2018…
    Love to all!!
    Hillaire Gallagher

  57. Winnie Nielsen says:

    And a very Merry Christmas to you and Joe today!! I and looking froward to all the upcoming adventures with your trip to Britain this Spring!!!!! I can’t wait to be one of the GFs in the back seat enjoying new places, people and excitement of lots of new and interesting shared stories and information that you post. WooHoo, England here we all come!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I can’t wait either. We did a good job this time, of planning! Planning for not planning, but planning just the same! So fun to have you all along with us! England, here we come, and don’t forget, Ireland too. Land of leprechauns and fairies and emerald green, or so I am told!

  58. Mimi Houston says:

    Merry, Merry 💜❄️🎄❄️💜Christmas Beautiful Susan and Joe!!!! The world loves you so!!! Thank you for the gifts you give all year long!!!

  59. Rosemary Thomas says:

    Happy Christmas Day, Susan! A lovely day here and we are grateful for our blessings as we celebrate the reason for the season. I love the cranberry cake…made it when you posted it before…just right and easy to make. I ordered the tiny stocking set from you and hung one of them with our daughter and son-in-law’s stockings as they expect their first baby in April. They loved it!
    Here is to a wonderful 2018…full of peace and joy!

  60. Merry Christmas Susan! I love the frosty heart ❤️ ornament that you have on your 🌲. The open door with wreath looks very welcoming. Very cold here. Maybe it will be heading East.
    Warm Hugs,

  61. Michelle says:

    Merry Christmas, Susan. I just reread Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams for the third time. It always captivates me like the first time. Wishing you and Joe all the best in 2018.

  62. Candice Hill says:

    Hello, Susan…You are such a joy to the world. If I ever feel down, all I have to do is read something that you have written, and I’m picked right up! Thank you for all you do. I think you are an especially nice person, and a gift to all of us. Merry Christmas to you and yours! 🙂 Love, Candy XXOO

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Candice! I feel so lucky to have met so many wonderful people, like YOU, through this blog. What a gift!

  63. Florence Payne says:

    Susan-You are my favorite person in the whole wide world. I have many of your books and love them very much. You are such a talented person. God blessed you with so much. I just love you.

  64. Florence Payne says:

    What does required fields are marked mean? Florence Payne

  65. Donna Weir says:

    Your letter was a delightful Christmas treat, dear Susan. Blessings on your New Year. Carrie from Canada spoke to my heart. I am inspired to share more love, just as you do on your blog, Susan.

    • sbranch says:

      Makes me so happy to hear that Donna xoxoxoxo

      • Carrie from Canada 🇨🇦 says:

        Dear Donna, your words are so special, and I thank you for thinking of me in your note.
        And in turn, your note spoke to my heart and I am so grateful to you for reaching out.
        Happiness isn’t the destination, it’s the journey along the way.
        And Boy!…what a journey it is, right?
        And Susan guides us through it all! I understand it now.
        She connects to all of us girlfriends, around the world. Then we connect to each other, spreading joy to others too. We must always BELIEVE! I believe we can all, together, fill this planet with pure joy and sincere love.
        Hugs to you too,

  66. Ginny Evans says:

    As they say in Canada, Happy Christmas! to you and Joe, Susan, and thank you for the gifts that keep on giving–your wonderful blog, art and love shared with all of us. You make my “spirits bright.” Of course, we’ve never met, but you feel like a real friend. (I’m the one who grew up in So Cal when you did, moved with hubby to Canada for 35 years, then to Texas and your blog helped keep me sane during that hard transition two years ago.) You helped me when I thought life had ended, to remember that beauty is still possible and simple things are still the best. Somehow, you embody all the “atmospheres,” the love of beauty and the east coast that I have, then you bring it to life just as I try to do–only WAY better!! Life is now more normal, but you still inspire me with each blog and you allow me to live vicariously in my beloved east coast.

  67. Rosemary Monk--Near Boston says:

    Dearest Susan, Joe and Jack,
    Ho, ho, ho! Am taking a few minutes to write a Christmas love letter to you, for providing another year of beauty, humor, thoughtfulness and hope. I have enjoyed reading all your posts for a number of years now, with no plans to stop. I had rattled on and on earlier in the day–before our Christmas dinner (so yummy)–about the Season in all its wonder, with my beloved husband and children. Then realized I really Was babbling, so will only say that, at the end of this Christmas day, I am feeling very blessed. My wish for you and yours is simple–joy and laughter, work and rest in fair measures, peace and enough plenty. My prayer for our country, all countries, and our world is the same–what the Good Lord wants for Everyone: Joy and laughter, work and rest in fair measures, peace and enough plenty for everyone. God said: Love your neighbor–Whoever that neighbor may be–as yourself, and Do unto others (All of ’em, whether they look, speak, or pray like us–Or Not) as you would have them do unto you. If we try to follow these rules–one day at a time, one person at a time–I choose to believe we can change our world. Oops, sorry–off my soap box. I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but also believe the prayers and God’s instructions bear repeating. Ending now before I totally run out of steam. Am going to read this post again tomorrow, to look at the pictures and read all the lovely words again. Merry Christmas my dear, see you in the New Year! Your friend (who hopes to meet you some day), Rosemary (from a White Christmas! in Winchester, MA)

    • sbranch says:

      You can babble around here anytime dear Rosemary. You are so right, it’s all about love. Sending a whole Santa’s sack full of it to you and yours. xoxoxo

  68. Gloria Hoeft says:

    Merry Christmas to you and yours, Susan ! Love seeing your home all decked out for the holidays, like something out of a fairytail . My first book from you was bought at a book sale at a hospital my daughter had worked at. She does MRI’s on people, now animals of any kind 🙂 I knew when I looked at that book, I had to have it ! That was the start of loving anything Susan Branch . It’s like going home . I get your calenders every year and any books I can get my hands on. I always look forward to your blog. Don’t ever stop your beautiful work, you are a true treasure !

  69. Ann Waddell says:

    Merry Christmas Susan,
    It sounds like you and yours are having lots of Christmas merriment, and I also wish you a happy New Year. I live in Stockbridge, and the town is always festive this time of year. Friday a friend of mine and I went to the Red Lion Inn in the afternoon, and there was a harpist playing carols in the lobby! They have this for most of the month of December, and it’s always such a treat. We got cups of hot chocolate and sat on rockers to listen to the music. There was a fire going, and of course a large Christmas tree, as well as garlands and other seasonal decor. It was heaven, and cozy and sweet all at once. I wish everyone could feel as happy and peaceful as we did that afternoon!
    Be Well, Ann

  70. Judy in Ohio says:

    Thanks, Susan…Merry Christmas!!

    I just saw your entry here …It is now Christmas Day evening and it
    has been a long few days…But always nice to visit your
    site to get that spark of “elan vital” that you always seem to exude!! 😉

    I hope that you & yours had a wonderful day!! And wishing you
    and the Girlfriends and ALL of us a new year filled with as
    much peace, joy and love as we can possibly stand!!

    Thank you so much for being here…especially this past year!!

    May God bless you and God bless us everyone.


  71. Charlene Scholey says:

    After a lovely Christmas Day I found your Christmas letter and it was like a late gift🌲Thank you for thinking of all of us be happy in 2018.
    Love, Charlene Scholey

  72. HelenD says:

    Love your joyful, uplifting spirit! Wishing you and yours a bright and merry 2018!

  73. Ruth R. says:

    Merry Christmas to you, Joe and Jack! I hope you spend your day well and had time to take it all in. You have been a blessing and inspiration in my life. I am so lucky to have crossed paths with you and your work. Your blogs are so beautiful and important to me, they are always a sign to slow down from a hectic lifestyle in the city and enjoy the moment with you. Lots of love and blessings!

  74. rhea foley says:

    Merry Christmas Susan, Joe, & Jack! Lots of love and blessings coming your way and an exciting New Year.

  75. Martha says:

    Wishing you & Joe and all the kitties a very Merry Christmas and Happy, Healthy New Year! This has to be my favorite Holiday and favorite time of the year. Family and friends! Love your tree and decorations!

  76. Cindy says:

    Thank you for sharing your art, quotes and photos with us through your blog. It brightens our days and adds a little happiness! Merry Christmas and New Years Blessings❄️

  77. Linda Who Still Says "Land" says:

    Our Christmas surprise gift to family and friends was annnouncing our elopement Winter Wedding which took place on Saturday, December 16th at Martha Mary Chapel at the Longfellow Wayside Inn in Sudbury, MA. Mother Nature’s addition of snow that week made for a perfect setting. There were toasts and well wishes with the surprise announcment at Christmas dinner as well as little framed photos as gifts. Wishing you and Joe the best of Christmas celebrations and a Happy New Year.

    • sbranch says:

      How romantic! I’m so happy for you, Linda! What a beautiful time of year for a wedding! xoxo

      • Barbara says:

        Linda, I work right down the street from the Wayside Inn. Your wedding must have been so beautiful. What a place to celebrate. I wish you and yours all the happiness.

  78. Pam Butterick says:

    Loved this, including your tradition of lunch out on Christmas Eve, and finding the year’s newest dated ornament!
    We have sung carols in past years on the corner, and no one organized it this year!
    My elf friend Sioux and I will work on that for next year! Thank you Susan. Lovely and heartwarming. ❤️

    • sbranch says:

      I adore running into carol singers when I’m out! While we were in Rainy Day, music was playing, and everyone you walked past was either singing or humming, which was almost the same thing! Merry day after Pam!

  79. Rebecca says:

    Hello Susan!
    I’m a bit tardy with writing to send you wishes for a lovely Christmas, but I do hope you and Joe had a wonderful Christmas. We had some family come to spend it with us and there has been so much to do. To our delight, we managed to have a “White Christmas” and now we are experiencing some very arctic temperatures. We stocked the bird and squirrel feeders and I’m praying they will all find somewhere safe to weather this out. In the meantime, thank you once again for your delightful blog. Your posts have been such a blessing and I pray that you will have a very blessed New Year.

  80. Sue Stoodt says:

    Hoping you and Joe had a marvelous Christmas! Sending you so much love for the new year, and so much gratitude for all the JOY you’ve brought to our lives. Every year I pick a word — usually PEACE or LOVE because they’re my favorites –but this year my word is JOY. That will be my focus – finding JOY in everything, large and small. Thanking you again for all of the JOY you bring to all of your girlfriends all around the country, all around the world. We LOVE you! Cheers to 2018! <3

  81. Noelle Sweeney says:

    Merry Christmas to you Susan,Joe and Hack. Thanks for posting on Christmas Eve I so looked forward to reading this. So joyful and inspiring. I made the cranberry sauce the other night and it was to die for , so I can imagine what this bread is like. Love to you and thanks for being you.

  82. My first comment is caught in the “waiting for moderation” machine, so just wanted to say how grateful we are (my husband reads you, too) for your approach to life. Your joyful creativity is a blessing to us all.
    Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year.
    Jeanne of Iowa

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Jeanne! I was having too much happy Christmas yesterday to “moderate” and now I have 155 comments waiting, that I want to read first . . . But thank you, and hello to my dearest Iowa! xoxo

  83. Maureen says:

    Merry Christmas Susan, Joe, and Jack! And to all the kindred spirits of Susan’s delightful blog! It is cold and snowy here in Michigan, the perfect Christmas weather. I’ve been a bit blue this year, my son is serving in South Korea in the Air Force, but thanks to technology and mail we were able to be with him. Susan, thank you for taking the time to post!
    Happy New Year!

    • sbranch says:

      Please be sure to thank your son for me. I send my prayers for his safe return. He’ll be home soon! xoxo Happy New Year Maureen!

  84. Marilyn says:

    Hope your Christmas was extra special. Happy New Year!

  85. Darlene Westmoreland says:

    Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year!!

  86. Pam Burkham says:

    Merry Christmas Susan and Joe!
    Each year I request a wall calendar from my daughter. This year I requested and received a 2018 Susan Branch Calendar. I will do my best to keep birthdays and appointments written in a neatly printed hand! I read each month over and over and feel a joy inside! Thank you for sharing your talents!

    Hugs and Blessings!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Pam! I’m so happy you like it! I’m painting all new art for the next one, and loving every moment of it. Always I ask myself the same question, “What would the Girlfriends like to see?” Hoping to get it right! Happy New Year!

  87. Sandra says:

    Happy Christmas and greetings from the uk..where it is actually snowing this evening..Boxing day here. Thank you for your wonderful Christmas letter and all the lovely photos it means to much to see how you both are and the delightful decorations in your. Home.Loving the Gratitude book I received for Christmas..taking the words to heart and enjoying the the next treat will be to put up your lovely calendar..and peek through the months ahead..
    Hope you had lots of lovely gifts and enjoyed every moment of Christmas
    Sending love and many wishes for 2018 xx

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve been getting “snow pics” from my British friends … Carrie sent pictures of Oxford dusted like a very fancy cake! Was beautiful! So happy to hear from you Sandra. Happy 2018!

  88. Jennie Lou says:

    Happy Christmas to all and Blessed New Year. Gird up your loins, girlfriends, its going to be a bumpy 2018!

  89. Diane Fulkerson says:

    Hope you and yours had a wonderful Christmas 🎄. You are a blessing to all of us… thank you ❤️

  90. Elaine Woodford says:

    Susan: I adore the picture you are painting of Jack in the tea cup. You’re right about “books, cats & tea” to make a cozy home. I have all 3 as well, except I have TWO cats, Sadie & Annabelle. They bring such comfort. Glad they don’t live outside today, it “feels like” 1 degree in Hartville, Ohio! Bless all the kitties who don’t have homes. 🙁 Happy New Year to you and Joe & Jack!

    • sbranch says:

      I had an older kitty when I got Jack, and thought one new one was enough for her, but I was so wrong! Two would have been fine. Jack would have a fit if I got another one now, he believes he is king of our house and he likes it that way! But next time (not too soon) I will get at least two kittens and maybe three. Little beloveds!

  91. Eileen Ammendolea says:

    Merry Christmas Susan and Joe. Wishing you a Christmas full of peace, love, and joy from the heart of my home to yours!

  92. Suzanne says:

    Merry Christmas and Happy 2018! Already looking forward to another year of “anticipation” of your blog posts! So fun and refreshing! ♥

  93. San says:

    Your home and tree look gorgeous Susan. Thanks for sharing so many pretty pictures.

  94. May you and Joe (and Jack) and all your family have a joyful Christmas time and a very happy, satisfying and accomplish-ful 2018. You bring such beauty and happiness and inspiration to all your readers and followers.

  95. Kathy Pinkerton says:

    Delightful reading your letter! Merry Christmas! 😊

  96. Deborah in Odessa says:

    Good Morn’n!! It is Winter!! I just found this cheery blog. What a treat. I am going to make that Cranberry Tea Cake. Thanks. New art for 2019 calendar. Awesome. Your home looks so cozy. The New Year is almost Here! Wow! That was fast. I am rambling, Stay warm and cozy because I just saw the weather map. It is freezing drizzle here. Thank you, until next time.

  97. Merry Two Days After Christmas from snowy, 0 degrees Wells, Maine to Susan, Joe and Jack, plus all the wonderful girlfriends who thrive and support each other thanks to you!
    I’m sitting here in the early morning light, as the sun creeps up over the trees and the birds skitter about, flocking to the window feeders for their breakfast treats. Reading your Christmas Eve blog post and responses from girlfriends, near and far, adds to these early morning delights and is another bright gift in this happy season of reaching out to others. Continued joy to all through the rest of this holiday week and into the New Year. Stay happy, healthy and content this winter and in to spring as you travel back to England and Ireland with us in tow to take it all in.
    Cheers to all for a bright 2018 – and may we have peace in our world.
    Blessings to all,
    Nancye T., Wells, Maine

    • sbranch says:

      Wearing so many shawls this morning, I’m like a walking bed! Jack cuddled next to my leg with one of the shawls over him too. Couldn’t love it more! Happy New Year Nancye! xoxo

  98. Karen says:

    Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year! Thank-you for all you do!!!

  99. Dionne Street says:

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, Joe, and Jack! I found the cherries and they are yummy! I also tried the old fashioned and it was very good! Thank you!

  100. Florence Payne says:

    SUSAN-Would you please tell me which of your books has the Cranberry Tea Cake recipe? Thank you Florence Payne I know it is here, but just wanted to find it in one of my books. When trying to send this-it tells me I have already posted this, which I have not.

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