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I began arranging Christmas villages on our mantel a few years ago, mostly because villages are harder to set up under a tree, and also to keep our Godzilla cats from stomping them. The fragile cardboard houses are from around 1930 pre-war Japan, and the tiny figures (lead Zinnfiguren) are mostly pre-war Germany. As satisfying as this ephemeral holiday art is to create, I found that it needed a story. I began my Christmas tale with the 2006 mantel and have added characters and their stories to it since then. If you want to know about Will and Harmony and all of the other townspeople in my mantel villages, just click on the 2006 button below, read the "chapter" for that year, and then follow the links toward the present mantel.

Antique Christmas Card (58K)

2016 Season's Greetings to all ...

xmas(10K) Every year at around this time I find myself surprised all over again by how quickly time flies. Don't we all feel that way? We like to mention the fact to our hairdresser; to the mail carrier delivering that distressingly early Christmas card; to the FedEx guy, the yoga instructor, the man who tunes up our furnace.

Not this year. This year, the holidays cannot come fast enough. Anything to take away the taste of this long, protracted nightmare of an election. (It should have been held on Halloween.) Whether you were for him or for her or for one of the others, you have experienced your fair share of emotions, and they ran the gamut, from shock to outrage to wonder to inspiration, with every nuance between. Now that the election is over, it's truly time to put it behind us and to try to connect -- or reconnect -- with those who didn't share our views. Whether it's a spouse or the neighbors with the big [Opponent's Name Here] sign on their front lawn, it's time to be civil again. We can do this!

And a good time to do it is during this holiday season. Okay, granted, emotions will be still be raw during this year's Thanksgiving dinner. But by Christmas time, can't we let a little joy back into our hearts? Let's take a cue from the children. They get it. Christmas can't come fast enough for them, either -- but for an entirely different reason. They can still see the magic -- in the beauty of a carol, the sparkle of a lighted tree, the wonder of the first new snow. They've been exposed to a crude and upsetting election cycle, and yet they can still see the magic.

Let's be more like them. They still love their friends, their parents, the towns they live in. Some of us may be holding our breath as we do this and some of us may be holding our noses, but: let's move on.

Warm wishes,


Click here to see 2016 mantel village.

Christmas gif(45K)