What makes Christmas special for me: Fire

There are just a few things that say "Christmas" to me. I think this is the case with most people. Those things can be varied and obscure, but are often rooted in tradition, nostalgia, and fond memories. Over the next few days, I'm going to attempt to write about a few of the things that make Christmas truly Christmas-y for me simply because of the nostalgia with which they are imbued in my mind.

Years ago when I was only 6 years old, my parents decided to buy 2 1/2 acres of forest in the Rocky Mountains of the state of Colorado and build a home. At an elevation of about 8500 ft above sea level, Mom used to joke that there were three seasons--Winter, July, and August. Needless to say, it was critical that Mom knew how to build a good fire in the fireplace not only as a supplemental source of heat in the winter but sometimes as the only source of heat when winter storms would take out power that wouldn't be restored for days. From Mom, I learned how to build a fire, stoke and tend a fire, and how to respect fire. [DISCLAIMER: My siblings will quickly tell anyone willing to listen that I am a "pyro" and then regale them with funny stories of my escapades and mishaps with fire.] Moving on...

When the chill of winter settles in around Rosehaven Cottage, my burning desire to have a fire is kindled (all puns intended). Rosehaven Cottage is a drafty little cottage built in the late 1940's. It's nothing like the air-tight, super-insulated modern homes of today. So the hearth becomes a very important heat source in the winter. And during the Christmas holidays, it also becomes a decorated focal point with small Christmas trees on the mantel, a green garland swagged across the vintage red brick, and little scented Christmas-y and knick-knacks sprinkled in depending on our mood that year.

On Christmas morning, it was always a tradition in our home to start a fire burning and then throw the wads of wrapping paper into the flames as they were discarded from the presents. For those sitting further from the fireplace, it became a test of skill and aim. Hubby and I still do this today. Christmas morning just wouldn't be the same without a fire in the fireplace and mis-thrown wads of wrapping paper laying around on the hearth (some being batted around by kitties).

Now with all this talk about fire, I need to go get away from this computer and go tend the fire.

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7 comments:

Joanie said...

Hey, hey do I get to be the first one to comment? I love your Christmas series. Christmas is such a special time with all the memories. If I was doing this on my blog (and I'm not because I'm just too boring) I would write all about my Nativities and why they are so special to me. Wait... maybe I will do that and then post the link. Love you lots, Your favorite Auntie

Our Red House said...

It must be lovely to sit by an open fire at Christmas time. Our summery Christmases make fires out of the question!

Your fudge looks gorgeous!

Merry Christmas to you and your family. I really like your blog; it is so pretty to look at and interesting to read.

Kate

Jenty said...

That's very pretty. I like the stoking the fire with the wrapping paper idea. Not that we can use it, it's gonna be a HOT day here :)

Holly said...

We don't have a fireplace...I miss it all winter, but especially at Christmas time. It's just not quite the same. We always had the fire going in our home growing up. We had our Christmas Eve readings around the fire and then again, we opened presents on Christmas morning before the fire. Enjoy yours!

BittersweetPunkin said...

Someday we hope to retire and build a house in the Mountains of Colorado...we miss it so much!

We had a real fireplace in CO and here in WA we have a GAS one...those blue flames just don't have the same color and crackle as the real ones!
Thanks for the memory!!
Love,
Robin

the kittens' mother said...

Yes, we used to have a real fire too until I was about 7 years old, then we moved and it was gas, then we moved again and got a coal burner, which was quite nice. Now we have gas again and as Robin said, it's not the same as hearing the crackle.
The fudge looks yum!
Hope everyone is well, love from the kittens' mother xxx

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I have always dreamed of having a fireplace to sit by during winter and especially christmas. Your picture looks like a dream to me, simply lovely.

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