The Cool House: Double Celebration

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Double Celebration

In February I posted a photo of fireworks with the news that The Cool House had a big birthday to celebrate. I promised a fortieth birthday party, to be held in June because the blueprints for the house date from that month. In the usual way of things here that date got pushed and shoved back until a couple of weeks ago when I realized that Halloween had passed and nothing has been done. At this time of year we are usually planning to celebrate the winter solstice with a few friends, so I thought as we're already planning special food and decorating the home why not ratchet up the festivities and toast the anniversary of Beach House's 40 years as well?

Of course an event this important requires a certain amount of preparation. Before we decorate for the holidays we clean the house thoroughly. This will be the last thorough dusting and scrubbing that some spots will see until the holiday ornaments are put away and the greenery is burnt on January 5th, so I want it to be as good as it can be. We wash the windows so they sparkle to reflect the candlelight at night and let as much natural light in as possible during the day. Once all the housework is done and the guest rooms are ready for partygoers who want to stay over we can start making the house warm and welcoming.

For the solstice, we have a yule log that, at nightfall, becomes a roaring fire and we gather lots of greenery from the conifers in the yard to make wreaths for the front door and exterior lights and a saddle for the mailbox. I place branches of holly and fir into tall vases, and lay juniper branches and more holly on the fireplace surround and credenzas. To make the greenery stand out I add citrus fruits, lemons, limes, satsumas and tangerines, or naartjies, as The Guy calls them, and votive candles. I push cloves into oranges and pile them up throughout the house, and heap more cloves and lightly crushed cinnamon sticks under candles in votives, which makes the house smell great.

And what's a holiday party without scrumptious rich cakes and puddings made with dried fruit and brandy; cookies with butter, spiced with ginger cinnamon and nutmeg, and Stollen? Not only do they taste great but the enticing smell permeates the whole house. We'll toast the winter, and the house, with champagne, dark Trappist ales from Belgium and gluhwein. If all goes well we may even sing a few wassailing songs, too.

This year the party will be more important than ever; we will celebrate not only midwinter but the serendipity that brought us to Beach House, this wonderful creation that has been a home for forty years and provides us endless delight in its uniquely modern design.

Double Celebration: Winter Solstice/40th Anniversary has been entered in the "Home for the Holidays Contest", run in conjunction with Right@Home. This post was written for as part of a sweepstakes sponsored by SC Johnson’s Right@Home.


Marilyn said...

Everything looks positively lovely - aglow and delicious. I'll take one of those cute wrapped puddings, please, and some gluhwein to go.

Jennifer said...

happy Anniversary to the Beach House! It looks so nice and inviting, warm and crackly!