A Suburban Small Town Christmas


Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Happiest of Holidays to you and yours! It is truly my favorite time of year. I (happily) feel like one of Santa’s elves during December! After spending the first half of my life in a big Southern city, even though we have no family living close by, we are blessed that we’ve lived in a small New England town the last quarter century, especially at the holidays! Grab a cup of cocoa, take a break from the “busy”, and enjoy some “MERRY” with me!

While 2021 was not that great or even much less stressful than 2020, our month of December has been wonderful! Part of the special magic of our Christmas holidays is living in small town suburbia. My heart is so happy to be part of a small town when it is the holidays, and New England has no shortage of adorable hamlets! With so much going on, it is impossible to NOT catch holiday spirit!


Our fresh tree this year is probably the prettiest one we have ever had, and came from our favorite family-owned tree farm, in Shelton, Connecticut. Jones Tree Farm was started in 1848. The trees are hand pruned and so beautiful! (Poor Mittens just doesn’t understand why Santa won’t pet her)!

What makes New England so special this time of year? For one thing, decorations abound that make my town and the surrounding areas look vintage Christmas-card perfect and merry! It warms the heart when running errands.


The clock tower in a popular shopping center in Southbury, Connecticut is decorated for the holidays and plays Christmas carols when it chimes during December. It is so festive at night all lit up, as well.




This beautiful old Santa Claus greets commuters at an exit off the freeway in Torrington, Connecticut. 


A decorated tree lights the way in Middlebury, Connecticut. 


Also in Middlebury, St. George’s Episcopol Church ushered in the holidays with the 53rd annual Gingerbread Village and Christmas bazaar.

My daughter snapped this photo of us at the entrance to the church where the Gingerbead Village is displayed. Check out that December sky!

My daughter snapped this photo of us at the entrance to the church where the Gingerbead Village is displayed. Check out that December sky!


We have gone to the Gingerbread Village for years, since my daughter was a little, and the three of us still love the tradition. (I wrote all about the village in 2011, here). This year was as exciting and breathtaking as ever!



I have such admiration for those that build the amazing structures! This season, for the first time in years, the three of us assembled a gingerbread camper from a pre-made kit. We ended up with icing everywhere (including on the dog), but it made for an evening of family fun and laughs. 


It’s been great weather this December! How romantic is it to have ice cream in the falling snow?

We wish you a Merry Christmas!

We wish you a Merry Christmas!

One of our favorite places to get homemade ice cream is a small, family-owned dairy farm in Oxford, Connecticut that doesn’t close until late December.


We took a break from the hustle and bustle of errands to enjoy a sweet treat, while admiring the beautiful silo against the backdrop of a winter sky, and watching a barn cat happily chase the softly falling snow flakes. 


A gazebo (that looks like it belongs in an episode of The Gilmore Girls) at a stoplight in Woodbury wears evergreen finery, with old-fashioned charm. I bet it is just adorable at night, all lit up! 

A garden gnome and a nutcracker!

A garden gnome and a nutcracker!

My friend Andrea and I stepped out to dinner to swap presents (our annual “vintage” gift swap). I loved the life-sized nutcracker standing guard in front of the tavern – so festive! 

I love my hometown. It’s the type of place where you go to the grocery store and see people you know, where we look out for one another, and where we cheer each other on. 


Did you see the Voice on television this year? Jim and Sasha Allen hail from our hometown, and made us all so proud. (What an amazing musical family)!  Audrey and I got to catch a live viewing of one of the episodes at our beloved Edmond town hall. It was exciting to see someone from our hometown with such amazing talent, and to see them make it as far as they did (top eight)! Way to go!


Though I have lived in my home for over twenty-five years, I have never made it to the Sandy Hook tree lighting, until this year, when I was invited by a friend and her husband to join them.
















It was so heartwarming and wonderful! We sipped hot apple cider while chatting with the owner of one of our favorite little local shops, then walked down the street to the church on the corner that had a living Nativity scene, complete with beautiful llamas brought in from another friend’s local farm.


The street was lined with families and smiling faces, lamp posts were dressed in twinkling lights and greenery, and when the two big trees at the crossroads were lit, it was exciting to hear everyone cheer. It was like being in the middle of a real-life Hallmark Christmas movie! 


The townspeople make it so special. It’s the type of town where neighbors leave surprises in your mailbox, like this goodie bag that contained the cutest handmade “knitting” themed ornament made by a sweet friend who has lived down the street from me for over twenty years. 
















On the walking trail in town, a little tree is merrily decorated for the season. It started with one walker placing an ornament, then someone else did, until…


I smiled ear to ear last week as I was out for a walk on the trail and saw the Jogging Santas (and pup), who jog on our streets each year passing on holiday spirit, waving at the kids at school and passersby throughout the town. Their joy was contagious…that’s what it’s all about! 


Our hometown also does a Holiday Decorating tour, complete with a guide on Facebook. There are three “tours” to drive, each taking about an hour, with residents’ homes all done up for the holidays. Each one is special, and it’s become a holiday tradition to drive through admiring all the lights. 

So many friendly shining faces!

So many friendly shining faces!

Lots of lights! One of the homes on the “Lights Tour”.

Lots of lights! One of the homes on the “Lights Tour”.

Another favorite, this home has a lights “show” in time with music that you tune into on your car’s radio!

Another favorite, this home has a lights “show” in time with music that you tune into on your car’s radio!

At my home, I am baking cookies, watching Christmas movies, reading Christmas cards, and looking forward to a bit of time off with my little family over the holidays. 

Merry Christmas, fellow Farmgirls! Muh-Huah!

Merry Christmas, fellow Farmgirls! Muh-Huah!

I have hope for the New Year. Do you believe in Christmas miracles? I witnessed one recently, when this beautiful red rose surprised me by blooming through the snow and freezing night temperatures.


Everything else was dead in my flower bed, but God gifted me a Christmas rose!

Whether you’re in a small town, or a big, buzzing city,I hope you are enjoying the charm and magic the holidays can bring.

“And to all…a good night!”

And to all…a good night!”

Thank YOU, dear readers, for all the comments you have left, and to our dear MaryJane and MaryJanesFarm for making the world a lil’ bit cozier! Tell me, what are you doing this time of year? Is there a special something about your community that you love about the holiday season? Leave me a comment and let me know you’ve dropped by!

Wishing a very Merry Christmas and Happiest of Holidays to you all! See you in the New Year!

Until Next Time…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  1. Meredith Williams says:

    Hi Nicole! Merry Christmas to you and your family! Growing up, my family always visited Jones Tree Farm for our tree! Thank you so much for bringing back that memory for me!! ❤️

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Meredith! Awww, I am so happy to hear that! We have also gone strawberry picking there in the summer, and apple picking in the fall. My favorite is Christmas…the trees are beautiful and reasonably priced, and it is just so festive and fragrant! Merry Christmas! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  2. Carolann Harris says:

    Merry Christmas and a Good New Year to you and your family, Nicole! ( and to all the farm girls “family”)
    I live in the city now ( Philadelphia) and there are decorations and lights all over, especially in one large and one smaller city park nearby but I remember driving around with my family and admiring everyone’s lights as you mentioned when I lived on Long Beach Island in New Jersey.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Carolann, we used to live right outside Philadelphia for a short time when we first married. I remember that area was always so cheery with lights. I used to love going to New Hope at Christmas. It was so long ago, I wonder if the little shops that lined the streets are still there? Neighboring Lambertville, NJ was also charming. Enjoy your holiday, thank you for reading and commenting, and Merry Christmas! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  3. This will be the first of many….we get to celebrate our sweet Kaleb’s 1st birthday on Christmas Eve. We are making new traditions. We keep some of the old, but I’m always open to change. Merry Christmas.

    PS: I enjoy your blogs. Thank you for keeping it going.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Dear Nanette, Happy Happy Birthday to sweet Kaleb! Enjoy your traditions, new and old, and have a wonderful, happy holiday season! Thank you for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  4. Sharon says:

    Appreciate your uplifting blogs. Truly all it it takes is one person at a time, one by one, smiling/greeting/expressing appreciation and gratitude, & suddenly the whole world is a little/LOT brighter! Merry Christmas!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Sharon, thank you! I hope you have a wonderful, Merry season! Thank you for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  5. Roberta B. says:

    Hi Nichole, May you and your family have a Blessed Christmas and New Year. So enjoy reading your blogs. please keep them coming in the New Year. At 75 years young, there is still a Farmgirl in me. Merrrrrry. Christmmmmmas !!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Roberta, how wonderful a comment this is! Thank you! I am glad you enjoy the blog, and am wishing you the best of holidays to you! Merry Christmas! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  6. Gina Norris says:

    What a special treat to read your blog today!

    I live in a rural area in California, a far distance from you! Thank you for sharing your traditions, many are similar to mine and your photos brought back fond memories.

    Merry Christmas to you!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Gina, Thank you! California is one state I have yet to visit, but it is on my list! Someday! Merry Christmas! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  7. Happy Holidays Nicole!
    I couldn’t agree more about New England’s special feeling at Christmas time.
    It’s just magical and filled with Christmas traditions…
    Wishing you and yours a very, Merry Christmas and more miracles in 2022!
    Deb ( Beach Farmgirl)

  8. Sandi King says:

    Beautiful pictures Nicole. So merry and bright and full of joy. Thanks for a great post. We are having summer weather on Christmas Day instead of winter weather which I was hoping so much for. One day it is cold and windy and the next day it could be warm and sunny. I wanted winter like it should be in this area. Anyway, it is good to have friends and family around and that is what we will have. Merry Christmas.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Sandi, Merry Christmas! I am so glad you enjoyed the post. I hear ya on the weather…I’d much rather have it cold for Christmas. Last year, we had a heat wave and it was like a warm spring day, like the Christmases I grew up with. Not my favorite type of Christmas weather, but come January, I will be wishing and hoping for spring to come fast! Have a wonderful, healthy holiday season! May 2022 be a better year for us all! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  9. Joann jaworski says:

    Thanks for the moments shared, brightening the day. Merry Christmas

  10. Wonderful place to live I can see! Thank you so much for sharing with all of us. Best wishes for the New Year to you and yours.


    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Barbara, today is Christmas Eve, and we got a dusting of snow. I am happy you enjoyed “visiting” me here. Have a wonderful holiday season! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  11. Merry Christmas Nicole
    I’m still loving your articles

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      How wonderful to hear from you, Barb! Oh my goodness. I would love to catch up. I still have my same email address. I miss those days of Farmgirl Chapter fun. I still have my table runner you taught us all how to make, and even made a new one for the coffee table last year. I hope you and your family are well. Much love your way! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  12. Hello Nicole, thank you for taking the time to share some wonderful Christmas cheer with the rest of us! I enjoyed every bit of your blog, but; was especially touched by the rose blooming in the snow. That really is a miracle and, as you said–a gift from God. Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year to you and your family. Love, Tammy

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Tammy, thank you. I still don’t know how or why it bloomed in the cold like that other than it really was a true Christmas miracle. This was not a great year for us, but that made me remember to have hope and take things one day at a time as they come. Thank you for reading and commenting, and I wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, as well! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  13. Judy says:

    Thank you for that beautiful Christmas Show!
    …and that ROSE…WOW!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Judy, thank you! Wasn’t that rose something? It was in my cutting garden, blooming on a day that I had great worries about something. I saw that and could not believe it, as everything else was dead in that garden. It was a perfect rose, like a sign of hope. I will never forget it. Merry Christmas! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  14. Heidi says:

    Happiest of Holidays! The gingerbread village rocks!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi My dear, longtime farmgirl friend! Maybe once this pandemic clears, we can plan a knitting weekend again the same time and we can see it together! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  15. Joanne Allen says:

    Merry Christmas Nicole,
    I live in Alberta Canada and have followed you for years. I wrote to you once before telling you about my World War 2 memorabilia room. I just want to thank you for making this year a little brighter for me each month. It hasn’t been an easy one so grabbing a cup of tea and sitting down down to share a visit with you brings me much joy. From my husband, our dog and from me Merry Christmas and Good Health in 2022

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Dear Joanne, it is good to hear from you. I am sorry you have had a difficult year. It has been one of the worst years ever for me, too, so I understand. Still, I try to find happiness each day, and be thankful for the blessings we do have. I know it is difficult to do sometimes, especially in these times. I am sending a warm thoughts, big hugs, and a pat on the head to your sweet pup. Thank you for joining me here at the blog each month – it means so much to me. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  16. Ruth Schleich says:

    Thanks for the moments shared, brighten up my day. Have a very Merry Christmas

  17. Deb says:

    I enjoyed your Christmas pictures and article(as usual). You are blessed to live in a town with “Hallmark Christmas charm”. A rose in the snow-what a blessing. Love all the decorations. One of my best friends was born in Derby Conn.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family and Happy New year.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Deb, thank you so much! I am so glad it made you smile. Also, I am very familiar with Derby – not far from us, and there are some great little places to go junk-tiquing! Merry Christmas, and Happiest of holidays to you and your family, as well. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  18. Beverly Battaglia says:

    I love this blog! You received so many comments! Pictures are great. Love the rose!
    Love you,

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Thank you, Mama. I miss you! Wish you could have seen the rose in person. You would have loved it. Love you back, Nicole

  19. Linda says:

    What a heart warming New England Christmas! You have shared it with us in such a beautiful way that I feel as if I’ve seen it for myself, thank you! My husband and I live near the Central Coast of California. It is a charming town with great shops and warm kind people. Santa Barbara is 2 hours south of us and Monterey is 2 hours north of us. The nearby seaside town of Morro Bay constructs a Christmas tree out of crab pots. Each year it’s in a different spot, we have fun driving around until we find it. Then we like to stay and enjoy their Lighted Boat Parade. Nearby in Avila Beach is Avila Valley Barn a wonderful place for families to stop by and enjoy their Christmas events and celebrations! There are hayrides, feeding of farm animals, Christmas trees, shopping, a deli, roasted corn and cider donuts to name a few! Hope to see you all on the Central Coast of California soon!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Linda, thank you…I am so glad that you enjoyed this post! Where you are sounds so very lovely! I have not yet made it to the West Coast but I would love to see that part of the country. It’s been on my list of places I want to go someday. I’d love to see the crab pot Christmas tree! I love traditions like that. It sounds like the Christmas traditions there are absolutely wonderful! Have a great New Year! Thanks for commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

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