Monthly Archives: November 2022

Louis Wishes You a Cool Yule — Louis Armstrong

Listen To This

Louis Wishes You a Cool Yule — Louis ArmstrongFor decades, Christmas audio and visual gems have been stacking up like generations of handcrafted family ornaments. From Bing Crosby and Elvis to A Charlie Brown Christmas and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and everything in between, there has been one staple missing, however, from the arsenal of yuletide goodness: a Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong Christmas album.

The legend, whose name has been synonymous with holiday smooth moods, now has his first official Christmas release, a one-stop shop of remastered Satchmo’s finest sugar-and-spiced jingles to saddle up the most wonderful time of the year.

This 11-track remastered time capsule includes classics like the wassail-waltzing “Winter Wonderland,” the soft-brush peppermint rush of “White Christmas” and signature Satchmo numbers such as “Zat You, Santa Claus?,” “Christmas in New Orleans” and “What A Wonderful World.”

The most endearing track is a somewhat mysterious reading of “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” known to most as “The Night Before Christmas.” A testament to how much he loved the Christmas season, an ailing Armstrong recorded this track alone on a reel-to-reel tape recorder months before his death in 1971.

Satchmo’s love for Christmas was as big and robust as his music. The brilliance of his signature trumpet and gravel-tone voice brings an unmistakable gift of happiness that embraces the hustle and bustle while encouraging spontaneous sing-a-longs at the drop of a snowflake.

The wonderful world of Louis Armstrong is a vibrant reminder that music transcends the peaks and valleys of life through the joy of a happiness that is merry and bright.

– Chris Rucker

Chocolate-Dipped Peppermint Meringues

  • desserts christmas4 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • Red gel food coloring
  • Melting chocolate
  • Crushed peppermint

Lined baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar together until foamy. Gradually add sugar on medium speed. Beat on high until egg whites are whipped to stiff and shiny peaks. Use a brush to paint red streaks inside a piping bag fitted with a piping tip. Fill bag with meringue and pipe onto prepared baking sheets. Bake at 225 degrees 1 hour. Turn off oven and leave door closed another hour for meringues to dry (for chewy centers, remove from oven after 1 hour). When completely cooled, dip bottoms into melted chocolate and crushed peppermint. Makes 64.

Glitter, Greenery and Gold

In The Home

A love for decorating plus a love for Christmas adds up to a sparkling holiday home in Mitchell Park.

For Evans resident Carson Staton, the holiday season truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

“Everything is so joyful and cheerful,” she says. “The décor is so beautiful, and of course, there’s the reason for the season. I love to spend time with family and appreciate all the little things.”

This year the holiday promises to be the best Christmas yet because it’s the first one that Carson and her husband, John, are spending as parents after their son, 11-month old John Thomas, was born in January.

Actually, the first Christmas they spent in their Mitchell Park home, where they have lived since August 2020, started out with a bang as well. Three months after they moved into the house, the hot water heater exploded. Carson, who starts decorating for Christmas in November, had to take everything down for repairs.

Curb Appeal

Under normal circumstances, however, she likes to change her décor. That dates back to the days that she and her mother, Caroline Ginn, who co-owns The Ivy Boutique and Mish Mash, would redecorate their home.

“When my dad would go out of town, we would flip a room,” Carson says.

Her love for decorating has carried over to her married life. She has collected Christmas decorations through the years, and the Statons’ two-story red brick house is full of holiday cheer that begins with the curb appeal.

A green wreath with a red bow hangs on each of the four windows that face the street, and green garland accented with red bows is draped on the white fence slats that meet brick posts. On the front porch, a wreath with red pomegranates hangs on the door.

Whimsical aluminum Christmas trees on red and white striped posts and an aluminum sign that warns “this house has elf surveillance” add a touch of playfulness to the front porch. Decorative gift boxes with ribbons sit beneath a tree.

A pair of glittery green packages with red polka dots and red ribbons sits atop a teak table sandwiched between two black rockers. The porch also features a teak bench, a ceiling fan and stamped concrete flooring.

The second-story balcony, which is stacked on top of the front porch, is one of the Statons’ favorite spots in the house.

They like to eat meals on the balcony and watch the neighborhood activity as children play in the park across the street and neighbors walk their dogs. Their mini goldendoodle, Kirby, likes to hang out on the balcony as well.

“He’ll sit up there and growl at all the dogs that go by,” says John. “They can’t catch him up there.”

The Christmas décor includes a pair of three-legged metal bamboo candlesticks, accented with greenery and pine cones, on the teakwood and wicker bistro table. Green garland with red ribbon and lights hangs on the black wrought iron railing.

Holiday Accents

Inside, the traditional reds and greens of the exterior décor give way to a neutral color palette.

“I’ve always been into neutrals and then put in pops of color,” says Carson. “I think color just makes a room happy. I like to add pops of blues, corals and greens.”

Tucked in a corner of the living room, a flocked tree features large white ornaments, gold poinsettias with flecks of white and a spray of gold picks at the top. Presents are wrapped in aqua paper and tied with white ribbon.

Three white knit stockings hang from the fireplace mantel, and an elf, elegantly attired in white and gold, is perched on top of the fireplace screen. The greenery along the mantel is accented with white and gold balls. Two white trees and an angel sit on one side of the fireplace.

A nativity scene on a gold tray accompanies two gold reindeer on the coffee table, and a gold wreath with silver balls hangs on the mirror. Santa, clad in aqua, stands on an end table, complementing the gold-framed abstract oil painting above the sectional couch.

On the stair railing, gold poinsettias, silver balls and pine cones are tucked into flocked greenery. A large gold bow is tied at the end.

The oak hardwood flooring extends from the living room into the dining area and kitchen, which the Statons renovated when they moved into the house.

Talents on Display

The kitchen features white quartz countertops and subway tile, and gold, silver and white Christmas décor accents the room. A white, gold and aqua painting of a nativity scene is tucked in a corner of the countertop, along with a gold candleholder decorated with greenery.

While a white-suited Santa stands on the counter, a silver Christmas tree sits on top of the stove. A glittery gold tree sporting round white ornaments also shares counter space with three gold packages.

A trio of silver ceramic pots are lined up in the kitchen window, and each one holds a letter to spell “joy.” Faux greenery and a gold bow accent each container.

In the adjoining dining area, four glittery gold trees line the table. The centerpiece includes a gold tray filled with flocked greenery, white balls with glittery snowflakes, glittery gold balls and pine cones. The place settings feature fluted chargers trimmed in gold, and green napkins rest on the plates.

Christmas greenery brings a touch of the outdoors inside, and a wreath hangs from each of the bay windows.

The distressed sideboard is home to a pair of gold lamps and a brown dough bowl filled with two skinny trees with burlap bases as well as green and gold ornaments.

Carson, who first picked up a paintbrush as a child, painted the acrylic waterscape above the sideboard. “It’s a little piece of the lake. That’s our happy place,” she says.

John’s talents are on display in the dining area as well. After the water heater exploded, he widened and converted a former coat closet into a bar. “That was John’s design. It’s his piece of the house,” says Carson.

Double doors lead to the bar, which features a wood shelf, subway tile and a mini fridge. Magnolia leaves on the shelf surround a gold-framed invitation to their 2018 wedding, and another gold frame on the bar holds the recipe for the Ginger Staton, the signature drink at their wedding. A beverage dispenser is filled with a mix of cranberry juice and ginger ale.

Sentiments of the Season

The bond that the couple developed as high school sweethearts has carried over into the teamwork that defines their holiday decorating strategy. While Carson does the arranging, John says, “I pull things out of the attic and lift the heavy things. That’s about as much as she’ll let me do.”

The festive decorations also extend to the backyard patio, which they renovated in 2020. A table is topped with two reindeer topiaries wearing silver bells, an elf, two cone-shaped white trees and a white bowl filled with red and white balls and greenery.

The open patio also features two ceiling fans, a TV on the brick wall, a sloped ceiling with beams and a day bed hung by ropes and chains.

“We had the day bed before we moved into the house, but we knew we wanted a spot for it,” Carson says.

Sharing the sentiments of the season, pillows on the patio furniture and the day bed say “Joy,” “Merry” and “Noel.”

As much as the Statons enjoy the holidays, however, they know there is a time for everything.

“I would leave it up year-round. It just makes me happy,” Carson says of the Christmas décor. “But I take it down by the time it’s supposed to be put away so we can start the new year fresh.”

By Betsy Gilliland