A favorite at Christmas: Christmas from the Heart of the Home (review)

The stockings are hung (although sadly, there’s no chimney), the candles lit, and creche arranged–it’s the most wonderful time of the year! And every year for the past twenty-something, I’ve added Susan Branch’s Christmas From the Heart of the Home to the stack of holiday books on my coffee table. Branch inks and watercolors every inch of every page so that reading her Heart of the Home books is like reading her journal.

The book is everything I want at Christmas: a little whimsy, a lotta charm, family and friends, and homey goodness. And it’s my favorite book  Christmas book for the home. This little gem has some great recipes, from appetizers (chicken pate and Christmas oysters, anyone?) to a traditionalfavorite Christmas book Christmas turkey (or goose if you’re brave enough!), along with delicious sweet goodies and holiday beverages (spiked and not).

One of my family Christmas cookie favorites is something we call butter nut balls. Branch’s Mary’s Mother’s Snowballs are similar–except that the dough is wrapped around a Hershey’s kiss. My daughter insisted we include these little treasures in our cookie baking next week. Eaten still slightly warm they are to die for. Seriously.

But Christmas From the Heart of the Home is much more than a recipe book. I find myself turning the pages of this favorite for ideas to Deck the Halls—lots of candles, garlands of pine, and Christmas trees everywhere (even the kitchen!). Or how about taping Christmas cards around a doorway (I do!). The pages dedicated to the Magic of Snow are probably best understood by those of us who live in northern climes (Branch on Martha’s Vineyard, me in the Great Lakes)—the greatest love-hate story of them all. And throughout, those family memories and traditions, all delightfully illustrated and painted to size.

Need a Christmas treat for yourself? Check out Susan Branch’s blog, store, and news about anything from the Heart of the Home. I, of course, especially love her books. I usually get myself a little somethin’ somethin’ after the holidays, and I think this year it will be Autumn From the Heart of the Home, because, let’s face it–after Christmas, northern Falls are the best. (Sadly, Christmas From the Heart of the Home is out-of-print, but I found plenty of copies on ebay)

So whether my Christmas is lean or lush (and it’s been both over the years, believe me) I can depend on Christmas From the Heart of the Home to reassure me that heart and home are truly what matter most.


    • Laurie says

      …”her way of life”–me, too! Home, family, food, and friends 🙂 Thanks for visiting my blog Kathy and please stop by from time-to-time!

  1. suze06@gmail.com'Susan Martin says

    I’ve loved Susan Branch since one of our library patrons introduced me to her books back in (gulp) 1997. I found her little book, Christmas Joy at a discount store for 5 bucks years ago, and since discovering her blog back in 2012, I went on a hunt and now possess a copy of each of her books. I agree that the Christmas from the Heart of the Home is one of the best!

    • Laurie says

      Too funny when 1997 seems like ages ago! But it was just about that time–or even a little before!–that I discovered her. I agree CFHH is one of Susan’s best–thanks for visiting my blog!

  2. erin1956@gmail.com'Erin Middlebrooks says

    i love all things Susan Branch. I bought this book this year online second hand. I adore it. Wonderful post!!!

  3. ostellitano@aol.com'Olivia says

    I agree with you…Susan has carried me through on tough times and continues to put joy in my heart reading her blog and books. We are so lucky to have her in our lives. Merry Christmas to you….

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