The genial flame

Jeff snapped this photo of me just before guests arrived at our York home, December 2010.

Jeff snapped this photo of me just before guests arrived at our York home, December 2010.

“Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart. ”Washington Irving

Those who have been following this blog for over two years now will know that our family has so much for which to feel grateful this Christmas.  But there also have been many changes and losses; people and things that we miss more keenly at this season.

One thing I have missed most in the past two years is the way we used to have dinner parties and company during the Christmas holidays.  While Jeff’s cancer diagnosis and ongoing treatment have meant this is not feasible for now, perhaps we will someday again have lots of people to our home for festive merry-making.

Until then, I invite you over for a virtual visit with us.  Grab a plate, fill a mug, pull up a chair and chat while you sip and snack.  Afterwards, gather around the tree with other fun-loving folks for some hilarious surprises and maybe some fun singing.  Stay as long as you want.  The beauty of a virtual visit is that it can happen anytime, and be as short or long as you want.

Merry Christmas to everyone who is reading these words.  Whatever brought you to our online home, we’re glad you are here!  We wish you a lovely finish to 2014, and a year bright with promise in 2015.

Grady greets you from our Alexandria home, December 23, 2014.

Grady greets you from our Alexandria home, December 23, 2014.

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Sheila

    Good morning Julia and Matt! Merry Christmas from 428, from our Verandah to yours! We’ve shared so much and you continue to be close as I remember our laughter and tears. You are a dear friend♥️💚🎄

    • Thank you Sheila, and Merry Christmas to you too! Your lovely package arrived, but I haven’t opened it just yet. But it won’t be much longer now. See you on the Verandah! ❤

  2. Judy

    Such delightful photos! Your beautifully decorated Christmas tree and even the details of the room itself shows that all was done with extra caring and love. You look very pretty standing there for Jeff to capture what would be a precious moment in time.

    Grady and the sparkling tree are too adorable for words! His little face looks full of delight as he takes in the magic of the colorful tree. I’m glad that you could preserve that special memory and share it with us.

    • Thank you Judy. These memories are precious and I’m quite sure everyone reading this has similar happy memories (whether preserved in photos or just in the mind) of Christmas Past. I’m so glad you are here to share mine! Merry Christmas to you and Stew! And to everyone else who read this.

  3. Chris

    Merry Christmas, Julia. Wishing you and Matt many blessings today, and throughout the coming year!

    • Hi Chris, so nice to hear from you! And all the best to you and your family for the New Year!

  4. mike c

    Felice Navidad. Prospero ano y felicidad.

    • Muchas gracias! Y lo mismo para ti.

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