Part 18 in a 25 Part Series: Maryann's Favorite Christmas Things
Fires in the fireplace!
When shopping for a home I desperately wanted one with a fireplace. A WOOD-BURNING fireplace. None of this silly gas business. Fake! Overly easy! Cheap! Safe! I wanted none of those features in my fireplace, no sir. My childhood home had a wood burning fireplace, tucked inside a gorgeous stone mantel. I loved it, as I FIERCELY LOVE EVERYTHING FROM MY CHILDHOOD HOME. It was perfect, you see? Perfect.
Here's that fireplace:
Here I am on my 3rd birthday. The fireplace was quite large, with big brass andirons. Here's a farther away shot:
It went all the way to ceiling...sniff. I miss it. In fact, we had two fireplaces: one in the living/family room and one in the kitchen. A KITCHEN FIREPLACE. Where were we--Italy? No, we were in the most perfect house ever built in America.
Do you see it there on the right? With the exposed brick? Oh God, oh God, my beautiful house. Why did we leave you? WHY?
This has taken a turn. The point is, I'm super into fireplaces. So when I found a great condo with a nice big wood-burning fireplace, I knew I was home.
I like fires in the fireplace whenever the weather is cool, but it's a great part of Christmas because of how you can decorate it!
I hang my Christmas cards attached to ribbons on either side, frame it with little berry topiaries, and best of all, STOCKINGS! One for each of us. And like my childhood fireplaces, there isn't a mantle, which means I get to hang them on the grate, like I did as a kid.
I know what you're thinking, "Ack! You can't have stockings hanging when there's a fire in the fireplace!" That's where you're wrong. Or safety-minded. But mostly wrong. The difference between my fireplace and my childhood one is that I only burn manufactured wood. Back home we'd keep bundles of real wood in the garage, and have to craft a fire with kindling and everything! There was a real fear that a log would dislodge from the group and send sparks flying out. With manufactured wood you don't even need a grate, really. It just sits there. There's no danger of it moving. Which means I can fold the grate so that it only spans the mouth of the fireplace and not the rest of the stone.
These stockings won't head home with me to my parents', though, as I have TWO stockings at home! One my mom made and embroidered, and another my grandma made me for me. I don't have a photo of my mom's, but here I am with my grandma's: