on the December table

december table

I have documented the year with monthly photographs of my kitchen table. Capturing the jumble that accumulates here, at the heart of the kitchen, is also a way to record some of the domestic stories of our family life.

December has arrived. Steadily and ineluctably, the turning of the year approaches. The days are almost at their shortest, and the house buzzes with anticipated festivities. This is a magical time of lights and laughter; wishes and wonder; feasting and family.

I am taking my tea in a bone china cup and saucer that belonged to my Granny. I miss her a good deal at Christmas:  her cheerful but wavering voice singing along to the carols, and telling us the stories behind the treasured decorations on the tree. I don’t often use her china, but the gold edging seems appropriately celebratory, and the ensuing memories are a bittersweet comfort.

I’ve already made several batches of homemade mince pies, tweaking the pastry so that its sweetness perfectly balances the rich, fruity mincemeat. I love baking at any time of year, but in December there are so many treats to share over a cup of tea. I’ve already had requests for my annual batch of Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookies.

Each year, I add a decoration or two to our collection. This year, it was these hand-painted glass and gold baubles, which I picked up in a charity shop last month. The little angel is a Provençal santon, part of a set which my aunt, who lives in France, sent to the boys last year. Her plan is to add a couple each year until we have the full nativity scene. This is my favourite of the little figurines, and the toddler’s too, he loves to hold her in his chubby hands.

I’ve been writing for 91 Magazine for a little while now. It’s usually published online, but editor Caroline recently sent me a copy of the first ever print issue, which is every bit as lovely as you’d expect. I hope that there are many more print editions in its future, but in the meantime, you can buy and read the latest issue online, which includes my interview with Emma of Mabel and Bird.

The little stuffed moon was made by Sarah Buck and bought via Instagram (she still has a few left, if you’re speedy!) It’s destined to be a Christmas present for the littlest, who loves the moon. He has a moon and stars mobile in his room which he always says goodnight to before going to sleep, and on bright nights, he loves to be lifted up to peep behind his bedroom curtains at the moon in the sky. It’s always a pleasure to buy handmade gifts, particularly when they are sure to charm their recipient.

For my December flower, a dried hydrangea, one of a pair that I liberated (filched!) from a bush overhanging the pavement several months ago. They dried perfectly, retaining their rich colour. It seems appropriate to have this delicately preserved beauty on display for the final weeks of the year. Thus ends the last instalment of 2014’s kitchen stories.

White, pink and gold : the December table.

The year’s kitchen story in full:

{the January table}

{the February table}

{the March table}

{the April table}

{the May table}

{the June table}

{the July table}

{the August table}

{the September table}

{the October table}

{the November table}

{the December table}

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