Christopher Radko’s Heart of Christmas

 

 

Christopher Radko’s Heart of Christmas ****

 

 

I’m joining Jain at Food for Thought, a delicious blog for readers with an appetite for the written word~

 

During the month of December you are invited to share a holiday book, in whatever manner you chose. . .using your decorations, collectibles or food from the kitchen.

 

 

I have been a collector and admirer of Radko ornaments for 20 years~ the happy recipient of ornaments as gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, and Christmas. I have to confess that I got this book back in 2001 and bought it primarily for the photos and decorating ideas within the pages. My first thought when deciding on Christmas books to share was to go to this book, thinking I had plenty of ‘props’ in the way of ornaments to use.

 

What I so LOVE about Food for Thought is that in revisiting this book for this review, it opened my eyes to things I had not seen before. There are wonderful passages here within these pages in addition to the eye candy of full-color photographs shot at private homes and at locations such as the Governor’s Mansion in Hartford, Connecticut, and the historic Lyndhurst manor in Tarrytown, New York.

 

 

“When it comes to decorating for the holidays, no phrase sums up Christopher Radko’s philosophy better than ‘too much of a good thing is wonderful.’ And each page of the delightful Heart of Christmas celebrates his exuberant take on this special time of year, inviting you to fill your home with the same abundance of spirit and joy that is the hallmark of a Christopher Radko design.”

 

 

“Packed with information and lavishly illustrated with more than 200 photographs, Christopher Radko’s Heart of Christmas, will inspire you to bring the most important message of the holidays—one direct from the heart—into your home.”

 

 

In 1983, Christopher Radko’s family tree, adorned with more than a thousand cherished ornaments, fell…breaking glass treasures that had been collected by four generations of family members.When his Polish grandmother was devastated, he traveled to Poland to find glassblowers who could replicate the vintage ornaments and his ornament business was born.

 

 

2010 marks the 25th anniversary of The Christopher Radko Company. To commemorate this celebratory year, they are offering a 25th anniversary ornament and finial. In addition, there is a special 25th Santa collection, comprised of 12 ornaments based on the best loved Radkos santas of all time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  “Decorating for the holidays is not just about appearance; it is a doorway to deeper meaning. When fresh greener and cherished decorations are hung with joy, purpose, and a sense of continuity with the past, they transcend simple décor and feed the soul. They make our homes into places that nurture our own hearts and souls and those of the people we love.”

 

 

 

“So turn off your mind for a few minutes and think with your heart. Our minds tell us that Santa doesn’t fly through the sky and squeeze down every chimney in the land, but in our hearts we know his energy is real, that the spirit of giving that he encompasses is real.”

 

 

 

 

“Christmas offers an open channel to our hearts. The portal may be an ornament passed down by your great-grandmother, a recipe for wassail in your grandmother’s flowery script, candy-striped stockings knitted by your mother, a carol your father loved to sing at the piano, or a crèche built by your grandfather. Each generation adds its own flourishes to traditions so that all the strands are woven together, the fabric becomes still longer and stronger.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

“By entering into holiday preparations in a spirit of celebration rather than of duty, you can avoid the burnout that often accompanies the season. In a very real way, those of us who love the rituals surrounding Christmas are preparing something sacred, and temple for this ceremony is our home. Decorating for the holidays is not just about appearance; it is a doorway to deeper meaning. When fresh greenery and cherished decorations are hung with joy, purpose, and a sense of continuity with the past, they transcend simple décor and feed the soul. They make our homes into places that nurture our own hearts and souls and those of the people we love.”

 

 

 

 

“Anyone who doubts that food has a spiritual component should think of the association of eggs with Easter, of pumpkin pie with Thanksgiving, of chocolate with Valentine’s Day. Holiday fare is essential to celebrating Christmas, but its presentation can elevate the repast to an art form. When we eat these traditional dishes, we nourish more than our bodies, just as decorating our homes with seasonal produce imbues them with spirit. No holiday is as rich with foods having symbolic meaning as is Christmas. . .”

 

 

Another thing I love about Food for Thought is it awakened the food passages for me. Having thumbed through this book countless times,  I was oblivious to the numerous foods mentioned. A mention of Panettone had me dashing out to pick up some. I had always seen these beautifully decorated boxes at Home Goods & The Fresh Market (& more recently Trader Joe’s), never having tried this treat before. Having had it described to me as an Italian Fruitcake, I had no desire to try it, but what a WONDERFUL discovery~ it was light, airy & just slightly sweet, nothing at all fruitcake-like. Since trying I have seen numerous Panettone French Toast recipes as well as for Panettone Bread Pudding. I’m so enamored with it, I’m taking some with a bottle of Prosecco & for a hostess gift. . . toss in an orange or two & it’s the perfect morning fare for the Christmas holidays. I would have never made this discovery without Food for Thought!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The true spirit of the season reminds us to rise about our baser instincts and transform ourselves into the people we know we can be. You can instill in your self-limiting adulthood the childhood belief in infinite possibilities.”

 

 

Be sure to visit Food for Thought~ stop in for Happy Holiday reading~

I’m also joining

  23 comments for “Christopher Radko’s Heart of Christmas

  1. December 17, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    What a glorious post, Mary! I didn’t get my Radko’s out this year. My collection is very small. I enjoyed seeing this so much!

    We certainly liked our Panettone. I wish I had picked up two when we were at TJ’s! The french toast was very good. Another day I buttered a few slices and toasted them under the broiler. So very good.
    Merry Christmas!

  2. December 17, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    I cannot believe how many CR ornaments you have! what a special collection..you must put them out and away preciously..Another fantastic post for Jain’s FFT:)

  3. December 17, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    What a wonderful Christmas spirit of charming decorations…a beautiful tree…panettone has always been part of my Christmas’ I had wanted to post some Christmas cooking …I always fill my panettone with a custard cream or layered with chocolate cream..but maybe next year!Beautiful! xx

  4. December 17, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    I am also a collector, and this warms my Christmas heart :-) I wish Radko would offer a Jeep ornament. We love french toast Panettone. Your tree is amazing!

  5. December 17, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    …And, I thought I had a lot of Radko ornaments! HAH! Your collection is amazing and your tree is spectacular! I would love to know just exactly how you pack and store all of them? I’ve tried to get the original boxes with as many of mine as possible and I have some Radko storage boxes (similar to old-fashioned hat boxes). Also, many of them are so heavy that I have trouble finding enough sturdy branches to hang them on. Do you use a live or artificial tree? Any tips you can give me would be helpful. I don’t know how I missed ever knowing about the book, too!

  6. December 17, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    Oh what a beautiful post! It’s so festive and elegant and Just Love everything!
    I LOVE french toast made with that bread, I freeze lots of it for winter treats, AND sometime use eggnog in the batter…
    Happy Holidays to you and yours,
    Hugs, Donna

  7. December 18, 2010 at 6:15 am

    Wow, you have just upped my “Christmassy” levels 100% !

    Thank you so much.

  8. December 18, 2010 at 10:18 am

    What a fabulous collection you own and your tree must be even more breathtaking in real life. I love the quote about too much of a good thing being wonderful! Your tree certainly fits that bill. Have a wonderful Christmas filled with meaning and joy and love.

  9. December 18, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    good morning, what a dazzler this post will be, a book of radko~

    oh my, and what a tree!

    ft i have to agree with you, how you enjoyed seeing your radko book again with fresh food for thought eyes, thats exactly what i have felt with the time life christmas, the magic of nutcrackers etc, its just fun reading different again and sharing.

    i had no idea radko was born out a christmas mishap.

    oh my, and what a tree! your collection is astounding, you MUST own every single piece! i am sure your fav is motorboat santa :) mother earth is calling me, but i love frosty in the turquoise thunderbird! what a great shot of the nutcracker and book too…

    how fun you found new food too! your photos as always are magazine worthy…

    oh i am so sad, your post ended… i could have scrolled my entire day away here! what a gorgeous wonderful christmas at your home, thank you SO much for playing at food for thought, i am in awe as usual!

  10. December 18, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    I LOVE your post today. Those ornaments are wonderful. The worst part is wrapping & storing them so none get damaged or broken. I love your narrative about how each generation weaves the threads of tradition. And I also see you have the same china I do… Fitz & Floyd. I LOVE it. In fact we had company last night & I need to go finish washing desert plates. Thanks for sharing. Charlene

  11. December 18, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    I love Radko ornaments and have a good many. I dropped the largest one I had of Santa with lot of packages and one half was crushed . I still use it as a vignette tucked behind something that hides the broken side.

    I was told not to take the paper labels off the ornaments because it would devalue them. Is that true? I feel a little tacky with the label on my ornaments.

    Have a wonderful Christmas.

  12. December 19, 2010 at 12:19 am

    Oh, my! I do think that is the most amazing Christmas tree ever! I’d love to stand in front of this one for hours just taking in the delights of each special ornament. You must have each one ever made. I didn’t know there was a book. I must get this for one of my friends who also has a fabulous collection of these. Hers are all clustered on garland that swags across her mantel. What a fun review! Awesome photos as always!~ Sarah

  13. December 19, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Thanks for everyone’s kind comments, especially at the busy time of year! I keep my Radko in plastic storage bins, wrapped in tissue & sandwiched in bubble. I do hang on the few collector boxes on my charity or special issue ornaments, but most I toss since they are so bulky. I do save the Silica Gel packets that you find in items to store with my ornaments so I can hopefully keep the moisture out of my bins, since we are humid most of the year. I have heard you should keep the tags on the ornaments for the value, but I don’t have plans to sell them and they remind me too much of my retail days :-)

  14. December 19, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    I have a few Radko Santas in my collection also. :) Your tree is spectacular!

  15. December 19, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    Mary, What a gorgeous tree full of Radko ornaments! I have a small collection compared to yours but I love every one of them. Have you ever counted how many you have? I went to a Christmas tour last year in the historic section of Richmond. One house had a tree loaded with over 3000 Radko ornaments. You could not see a single branch of the tree. It was fabulous. Thanks for your kind comment and I am now your newest follower.
    Merry Christmas
    Sherry

  16. Carolyn
    December 19, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    I am so glad that you have shared your tree with all of your followers. It is a vision of beauty! Your Radko Collection is unbelievable. I love all of your great Fitz and Floyd pieces as well. Merry Christmas to all and will see you in the New Year. CGE

  17. December 19, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    Your tree and ornaments are stunning! What a gorgeous collection! So vibrant! I love them!

    Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

  18. December 19, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    Beautiful post. All the ornaments are lovely … so many and so colorful! Beautiful trees.

  19. December 20, 2010 at 8:02 am

    Absolutely beautiful ornaments!!! Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

  20. December 21, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    What a beautiful tree, the ornaments are all gorgeous. Merry C!hristmas!

  21. December 21, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    You have a splendid collection of Radko ornaments and thanks for explaining the history of the new company. Happy Christmas!

  22. Pat
    December 21, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    Mary I have been so busy and have missed so many of your glorious posts…I promise to catch up very soon. I’m so glad I did not miss this one! I love Christopher Radko’s ornaments and have a few. Your tree full of his ornament is so magnificent! I could look at it all day and find delight in each ornament! It must be so much fun to hang them all.

    Panettone has always been a part of our Christmas breakfast since I was married 36 years ago! My whole family loves it!

    Merry Christmas to you and your family! Happy 2011!

  23. December 22, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Such a wonderful post…your tree and ornaments are delightful!

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