Finally all the Christmas cake and cookies have been eaten at our house, although there are a few Japanese mandarins left. Today, January 6th, some celebrate Twelfth Night, when the Christmas tree is finally dismantled and all the decorations put away for another year, so as not to bring bad luck upon the house. Well, we wouldn’t want that, now would we? So we took down the decorations and all the lights, put everything away in the storage boxes very carefully, put out the tree for the recycling pick-up and replaced the items that had been removed to make room for the decorations for the Christmas season.

On the table where I put our crèche I usually display what I call my “rock” collection, probably the most eclectic one you’ll find. It’s not at all comprehensive, it consists of things I have picked up over the years which have a geological source. They vary from the formally carved pieces, like the sculpture you see below, to slices of geodes, a chunk of fool’s gold, some fossils, even stones I have picked up in places I’ve visited.

Sun and Moon, an onyx sculpture I bought in Mexico
more than twenty years ago

A chunk of petrified wood, basically a fossil where all the organic
have been replaced with minerals

Leopard skin jasper, a member of the quartz family, formed into an egg shape
I am particularly fond of this stone and have a necklace
and earrings made of it

On the left, three stones I picked up on the island of Vulcano, a small
volcanic island off the north west coast of Sicily.
They used to smell very strongly of sulphur but no more

On the upper right, a piece of lava I took from the slopes of Mount Etna, or
Mongibello in Italian, the very active volcano in Sicily

On the lower right, a stone I picked up on the beach in Cannes,
on the French Riviera

Not even vaguely connected to geology, I keep keep this treasure on
the table along with the “rocks”
Un chiodo del cinquecento or a nail from the sixteenth century which
a restorer gave me in Florence when I visited his botega or workshop

Well I hope it doesn’t bring bad luck but I always leave my Christmas front door wreath up until if gets so dry that it starts to shed everywhere, which is usually about March. I’m so cheap! Happy Twelfth Night.