It has been hard to blog since the 20th, after Bridget and Danny’s party. Getting ready for the arrival of my non-L.A-based family, finishing with presents, wrapping, sending, checking the list thrice and all the while working to remain calm and centered as I watch my partner (Richard) doing the opposite—that is to say, waiting until the last minute to shop, scrambling to have someone else wrap at the last minute, putting together what turned out to be a sensational compilation of Christmas songs.

On the 21st, my winter solstice birthday, I received many moving calls, cards and wishes including on my blog and Facebook. The kids came over for awhile, Richard surprised me with a lovely green marzipan cake, I blew all the candles out (there were only 7 instead of 72 but I bet I could have blown all 72 out as well) Actually, I think I already posted photos of that celebration.

I forgot to write about the Christmas tree, You gotta understand, I am a Xmas tree nut case….In New Mexico we have a 14 foot tree (plastic cause Vanessa insisted and, you know what, it works anyway) and 100s of decorations that have become my friends over the years. Amazing decorations. I think the importance I place on the tree and its décor is because my father did. He wasn’t an ebullient man but at Christmas time, when it came to the tree, he poured his heart and soul into it. Richard, on the other hand, hasn’t celebrated Christmas with a tree for something like 19 tree, no garlands, much less kids and grands gathering. So we went out to pick a tree. He came with me. NO MAN HAS EVER COME WITH ME TO PICK A TREE! I picked one and then he found a better one…the one we bought. We had shopped in Santa Fe for ornaments (There are 2 Xmas Shops there that are open all year and have the best stuff). We found there the most unique twinkling lights with seven different twinkling patterns, We discovered lots of musical instrument ornaments, horns, trumpets, piano, guitar, flutes, oboe, a jukebox, piano, Elvis and a base drum with “Rock On!” written on it. Little did I know this would become the theme of our Xmas tree.

Then, back in L.A. when we got the tree, we also found collector handmade 45 single records from the 50s and 60s made into ornaments and even more instruments. We got home and put up the tree, got the lights on including my special (brought from Santa Fe) heart lights. They are about 2 inches across, bright red and are the best accent ever. They make a real difference mixed in with the small white and other color lights. Richard then asked me to remove all the price tags from the newly bought decorations while HE HUNG THE MUSICAL ONES. When I called Simone to tell her what was happening she said she couldn’t believe that I had relegated the hanging to Richard. I’m the one who uses a laser beam every year to direct my main Xmas helper, Tommy, perched way up on a tall ladder to move a particular ball 2 inches one way or another. It takes at least a full day and a half to finished my trees…along with wine and mellow jazz. That’s Tommy and my annual drill. So this year I’m taking price tags off and Richard’s doing the hanging!! He was working on his music theme, hanging the 45s and various instruments just so in relation to Elvis, the “Rock On” base drum and the hip Santa with Ray bans on a motorcycle. When he’d finished and I looked up from my manual labors, I saw that he had created the theme all right, but it was all clumped at the center of the front of the tree and everywhere else was mostly bare. “Richard,” I said, “You can’t leave it like that. Your theme is fabulous but there needs to be decorations all over the tree. Look at all the empty areas!.” “No, this is fine,” he replied. BUT, knowing we wanted it to be a copacetic tree trimming event, he let me decorate all the tree. I even bought more very special balls and when I had finished he said he thought it was the most beautiful Xmas tree he had even seen…”By our powers combined!” said he and it was true. We did it together and although there were times when we were each outside our comfort zone we made it work. Ben McCarthy, Richard’s assistant, who has lived here for 18 years but worked with him for 22 or so, said it was the best Christmas he’d ever had.

On the 23rd, we had a party (photo in a separate post) that morphed from what I had suggested be an intimate gathering of family and closest of friends—singing Christmas carols—that sort of thing, Into something MUCH BIGGER, but that’s for another blog. I am one who plans in advance and has everything worked out down to the last detail. Not Richard. So for me, the days leading up to the party meant trying to manage my stress level, not get mad or impatient and trust that Richard knew what he was doing. …He did.

The party day, the 23rd, Lulu ad Nathalie arrived, Lulu from Tucson and Nathalie from my ranch –so the entire extended family was here.

Xmas eve we all went out to a great pizza place together with Tom (Hayden, my ex) and his fabulous wife, Barbara Williams and their son, Liam, who is Malcolm and Viva’s age and they all get along great…as long as we don’t try too hard to define who is a brother as opposed to an uncle.

Xmas day Vanessa and the grandkids, Lulu, Nathalie all came over to Richard’s to open presents and then, as evening drew nigh, we went to Troy and Simone’s home where they cooked their first Xmas dinner—for 21 people. Besides all my immediates, there were Shirlee Fonda (my stepmother) her partner Rob Wolders, Bridget, Oliver and Danny, Troy’s father, Tom Hayden, his wife Barbara and their son Liam, Richard’s roommate at University of Michigan, Joe Allen and his wife Annette Tapert Allen and her son, Nick, Paula Weinstein and Hannah. Troy and Simone turned their yard into a magical kingdom with hanging fairy lights and ornaments and they put couches outside (and many heaters) and it was a grand and historic event. It was Troy’s first tree, in their own house. To top things off, Troy made 3 kinds of ice cream…Vanilla, peppermint and apricot and, I tell you, all three were to die for. He reminds me so much of my father who also loved to make ice cream.

Richard, Me, Tulea with Richard's roommate at University of Michigan Joe Allen and his wife Annette Tapert Allen

So, now I will write about our party.

See you next time.

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  1. You have a large and lovely family. As a strategic tree decorator I do love the laser pointer idea! But it is much more fulfilling when you can combine artistries to ceate one artful tree. Thank you for always sharing your gifts.

  2. What a wonderful Christmas you had Jane , I sure that will go down in oiu mind set. Good times sometimes are not easy to come by here and there yoiu have a good spot or so . Nice to see you enjoying your time.
    To grow and live on with Trust we must adapt. Both in our real and virtural worlds of Subject Accountability the virtual objects within our past history tell the story of who we are.
    thanks Jane a nice share

  3. Your Christmas sounded beautiful. May your 2010 be filled with as much peace, joy and love as you can cope with! x

  4. Such a lovely entry. Thank you for sharing, Jane. Everyone’s looking great!

  5. So where are the pictures? I have to see this
    fabulous tree!!

  6. Happy New Year and belated Birthday Greetings!

    I loved to read your very nice description of the X’mas Tree. Your words about your Father reminded me of my own Father (who passed away when I was 15) and who loved x’mas!

    Ileft my wishes at my blog.

    All the best,

    Maria Carmo


  7. All the best for 2010 Miss Fonda

  8. Happy New Year Jane!

    Sounds like you had wonderful Christmas with your family and friends.Your Christmas trees sound great.Do you have pic’s of any of them?

  9. i *love* this post. it’s so sweet and honest. you captured the angst that can result when we have to compromise within our relationships…no matter how much we love our partners, it can still be hard to LET GO (of control). 🙂 one of the highlights of 2009 for me was reading your blog. hope you plan to blog just as much in 2010. happy new year!

  10. What a lovely Christmas celebration Jane. God bless you (all of your endeavors) and your family.


    Bon Bon

  11. Jane,
    My wife and I absolutely love you. When your “videos” came out, years ago, we bought them all, and I was sore for weeks, until we started getting into shape. You’ve certainly been an inspiration to millions. Thank you.
    My wife has Lupus and is trying to do everything possible to maintain her health. When I think of health and longevity of life…I think of you!
    Please, if you get a chance, I’m including a link to a column that I write.

    It’s small potatoes, but, you might like them. Could you read my articles and tell me what you think? Many thanks.

    I apologize if you’re bothered by this.


    Rev. Charlton Walker
    Eudora, KS

  12. nice to be on christmas time with all the family , Richard , son and daughter, grandchildren but you deserves it !! I would have dream to have a mother like you! frederique dhenein

  13. Am wondering how you feel about taking down the tree? House feels so empty without it. My husband was very much like your father when it came to decorating for Christmas. At one time we would trek through the tree farms to saw it down. Thanks for sharing such wonderful times. Sounds heartwarming and cozy!

  14. Jane-
    i am a little behind I guess because i did not realize you are in a wonderful new relationship which makes me VERY HAPPY !!!!!!
    Best Wishes and Lots of Thriving to Both of You.
    I hope that we can stay in touch.
    With Lots of Love Always,

    • Carolyn???As in the Carolyn who worked together with me on the GI MOvement?? I never thought I’d hear from you this way. I am thriving, yes. And you, dear woman. You till running Willie’s Farm Aid work? Love, moi

  15. After all that description, I would love to see a photo of the completed tree. It’s alaways amazing to see who likes Christmas. I never would have imagined you would like it so much esp. tree trimming. Blogs are great!

    • Alas, I have lost my camera!!!!! Will try tofind someone that has a camera that can send to m computer before we take the tree down. Richard said he eill miss it too much and wants to leave it up awhile longer!!!

  16. Happy Birthday, belated, Jane Fonda. Your real fans love you ! As do your real personal friends.
    (I say this to all celebrities whom I support.)

  17. Why were the pics taken down of the Xmas celebration at Troy’s home? They were lovely!

  18. Jane:

    Just found this via Vanessa’s FB page. Although we are well into spring here in Atlanta, it was nice to read about your happy holidays. I well remember lovely time spent with V before and just after Malcolm’s birth…such a happy time. So sad that D ruined that for V and us.

    It was a time of transition for you and what a wonderful place you are now in. Remembering making watercolored hearts for Valentines while I was traveling and sending one to you at V’s house. It said: “Here is a heart for you to hold onto, until yours mends.”

    So glad it has. You are blessed.

    Jim and Clayton

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