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21 December 2012
Today is the date of the winter solstice, the official first day of winter. It is also a few days to the celebration of Christmas, as you are undoubtedly aware.
December also marks a special season at Hearst Castle in San Simeon here in Central California. There are special evening tours and with the great decorations that are put in place here, the effect is certainly one to remember.
It is fun to fantasize about entertaining on the grand scale, especially having a full staff to assist with all the arrangements and shopping. I don't know if it would reduce holiday stress, but I'm willing to try, aren't you?
I love the huge Christmas tree shown above. It's probably 15' tall and doesn't come close to dwarfing the huge room.
There is a veritable mountain of presents under the tree and plenty of space for the entire family to enjoy the unwrapping process.
The mantelwork of the fireplace was originally from France and was created in the 16th century. 500 years old and exquisitely beautiful.
Now it's time for the Christmas feast! To celebrate this great festival this dining room could accommodate a large crowd.
Now is when you really need the staff, since it would be nearly impossible to get the mashed potatoes or the green bean casserole from one end of the table to the other without getting cold. And to serve all the guests would require platters and bowls that few could lift.
Just think about all the dishes that would need to be washed for this grand banquet! Bring in a new crew just for the clean-up.
Then it's back to the huge living room for after-dinner drinks and conversation.
This is a slightly different view of the same large hall showing it sufficiently expansive to allow two large Christmas trees, one at either end.
After a bit more conversation, perhaps a family argument or two, some caroling and then card-playing; it's time for your guests to retire to the guest houses (yes, plural).
Or you could wrap up warmly and step out onto one of the many terraces around the castle and watch the moon reflecting off the ocean in the distance.
The Hearst Family still has access to the Castle at times, and perhaps you might find yourself invited to one of their soirees and experience this for real.
Til then, we can dream and enjoy a brief visit and wonder what it must have been like back in the day...
We at Discover Central California wish you and yours a very merry and blessed Christmas season!