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The Beat of Gaia's Heart

A Christmas Tea for All the Toys -- Today!

Welcome to my Christmas Tea Party for All the Toys! Come in and see what they have all been up to.

You know I love koalas. You can see it by my website. What you may not know is that I’ve been adopting koalas (and other creatures) in plush and other forms, all my life long. So there’s a big crowd at my house by now.

The oldest of my koalas, whom my late husband used to call Grandmére and I always (for some unknown reason) called Baby Face, came all the way from Australia during World War II. She was sent home to my oldest sister by my father, who was stationed there. When I was born, several years later, my sister gave Baby Face to me. Over the years she’s lost all her fur and just about all her features, but she is still the dearest teddy bear I have – I love every strand of her excelsior stuffing. (Yes, she’s really *that* old.)

Well, when Baby Face (Grandmére to all the other creatures living in this house – she’s the oldest, and I’ve had her the longest), heard about the Christmas Tea Party, she decided to organize everyone and throw the grandest party anyone had ever seen!

She gathered the biggest teddy bears – that would be the four-foot-tall Panda, who usually doesn’t do anything but sit around and look cute, and the five-foot-long Polar Bear, who usually just lies around – and got them started on decorating. They had to go down to the basement and find all the boxes of ornaments and lights, trees and trains, tinsel and toppings. Now there are twinkle lights and streamers and snowflakes all over the house amid a veritable forest of Christmas trees – one tucked under the stairs, one in the middle of the living room, one on top of the piano! – and even a small tree on the dining room table, trimmed with cookies and strings of licorice and sugar cubes – with bells ringing here and there, train whistles tooting, and all the musical animals and music boxes singing and playing away. It’s quite noisy, but in a very cheerful sort of way.

Then Grandmére marshaled the medium-size bears and other animals – skunks, moose, dinosaurs, penguins, dogs of all breeds, wombats, platypuses, kangaroos, and anteaters – into baking cookies and tea cakes, from recipes she brought all the way from Australia all those many years ago. She had the plush squirrels gathering nuts from the yard for the cookie toppings and the cake frosting, and it was quite funny to watch them scrambling up and down trees and scurrying through the leaves to find whatever the real squirrels in the neighborhood had left behind.

Right now they’re brewing tea of all flavors – we have quite a collection of teapots here, and I believe Grandmére’s got them all in use – and organizing the flavors of jam and jelly and honey so that everyone can find their favorites easily. There are apricot and mandarin orange marmalade, pomegranate jelly, mint jelly, apple and pumpkin butters, quince jam, blackberry, blueberry, cherry, peach, and plum preserves, lemon curd, and many, many more.

The house smells quite delicious, with apple and cinnamon and nutmeg and butter and eggnog and cocoa and toast for the jams and jellies and – yes, eucalyptus, too; Grandmére has a special pot of eucalyptus tea just for the koalas, brewed in a special green pot with a koala on the lid. And there are special eucalyptus leaf treats, frosted around the edges with sugar crystals and decorated with red berries from the bush tucker plant and muntrie berries, too. It’s so festive!

And she assigned the tiniest of bears – the ones just a few inches high down to an inch high – to act as messengers, since they can ride on the backs of the plush dragons and bats and birds – peacocks, bluebirds, owls, and ravens – and ride the toy trains from upstairs to down to make sure all the toys know they’re invited to the tea. Some are even riding the little bicycle ornaments and the sleds and sleighs and little cars and firetrucks from the Christmas tree to spread the word!

Some visitors dropped in from Harrods in England and Steiff and Hermann’s in Germany, as well as beautiful bears made by a wonderful bear artist in Taiwan, and many koalas and kangaroos from Australia, some handmade; lots of the animals came a long, long way to be at this party. Others didn’t have so far to travel; they came from all different parts of the United States, from bearmakers with amazing talents.

The cats and the mice are coming, with the mice riding on the cats’ backs; Pooh and Eeyore and Tigger and Piglet are already here, and I think Pooh has already sampled all the different flavors of hunny. Sleigh bells are ringing, and carolers are singing – one particularly beguiling little white bear with a Santa hat and a gift box wrapped in red velvet is warbling away merrily, and a little Jack-in-the-box bear in elegant clothes is playing a special melody.

Other entertainment is being provided by a Dean’s Rag Shop Bear in his formal suit, playing his violin, and two angel bears with furry white wings in their fancy gowns playing harp and horn. (There’s a little yellow bear with white furry wings who tags along with them, although he doesn’t play an instrument; we think he’s working up the nerve to sing.) We even have a drummer – a sweet little bear in a military dress uniform of reds and blues and golds with a snare drum and a music box hidden inside. Some of the creatures are dancing in the kitchen, where the floor is hard and smooth, and others are snuggling up and getting ready for that famous long winter’s nap.

The koalas have all found spots in the Christmas trees along with the ring-tailed lemurs, and the birds and bats have perched. The dragons have lit the fire in the woodstove with their breath, and the house is warm and cozy as it drizzles and sleets outside. The grizzlies and brown bears have found snoozing spots under the trees and in chairs and couches, the unicorns and griffins are dozing over their cocoa, and Grandmére is getting ready to tell stories of the Dreamtime to anyone still awake.

We hope you have enjoyed this glimpse of our Christmas tea party for all the toys in this house, and that you might like to join the Summer Party in Koalaland, too. The koalas have all worked very hard on it, and would like the pleasure of your company.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, God Jul, Froeliche Weinachten, Joyeux Noël, Feliz Navidad, Buon Natale, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Hanukkah, and a very Merry Solstice to all – and to all a Good Night!
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