............Christmas at my house. Our family tradition is to put up all our Christmas decorations on the day after Thanksgiving. This is a greatly anticipated event, let me tell you. My 7yo has been talking about it ALL week. In fact, the night before he said he was going to get up really early. I told him the earliest Mommy would be ready to start was 8:30. My husband (who *bless his heart* gets up early almost every day with my oldest son) told me he was up before 6:00 a.m. Luckily, my 3yo and I slept in until almost 7:45. (We started on the tree and decorating at 8:10 a.m. and I wasn't finished until close to 2:00 p.m.) Anyway........I thought you might enjoy seeing a little of the holiday decor in my home. And if that's not your cup of tea, please feel free to skip reading this and go find something more interesting to read. No offense taken, I promise!! :0)
As you can tell (no doubt) we use an artificial tree. This tree has a wonderful history in our family as my husband and I bought it about 15 years ago as newlyweds. It is something of what we call a "Charlie Brown Christmas Tree" here in the US. To explain this, please see the following definition which I copied from Wikipedia.
"The term Charlie Brown Christmas tree is used in the United States and Canada to describe any sad-looking, malformed little tree. Some tree buyers intentionally adopt such trees, feeling sympathetic to their plights. The term comes from the appearance of Charlie Brown's Christmas tree in the TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas."
So yes, our tree has seen better days, but I consistently resist replacing it. This year, in fact, the DH offered to get up early on the Friday after Thanksgiving to go buy us a new one for a "great price". (He would not have trampled anyone to get it however!) I told him we should save the money and put up our Charlie Brown tree. It has such sentimental value to me. The box it is stored in is the original cardboard box. It is covered with about 15 layers of masking tape which our little cat immediately began gnawing on. Sorry.........I'm digressing.
The cool thing this year (as shown in the above photo) is that my boys are actually able now to help assemble the tree. For the first few layers of branches, I was actually able to coach them from my chair while I sipped a mug of lemon tea with honey. They were also total troopers in hanging the ornaments on this year. So in some ways this year's tree decorating was less work for me than usual. (The DH's contribution to our yearly tree decorating is to haul the box in from the garage after which he goes for a run. So........he's in great shape and comes back afterwards and admires our hard work. The great bonus this time was that he later put up our icicle lights and angel outside. Thanks, hun!)
Here is the tree after being decorated. You can see that it's "style" is eclectic. I completely love having a mixed up bunch of ornaments on the tree. While I can aesthetically admire other people's themed trees, I wouldn't have anything other than a tree like this in my home. It is covered with ornaments from my childhood, ornaments given to me by students, and ornaments my children have made. I love it!! The tree skirt is one that I made before I had children. The hearts are actually little pockets; however, I forget that every year and never hide anything in them!! Maybe this year since I've blogged about it I will remember to hide some fun surprises in these for the boys.
This photo didn't turn out very well, but a new addition to my Christmas decor is this greeting card hanger given to me by my mom. She hung this in our kitchen doorway every year of my childhood. You insert the cards into the links and can hold many cards this way. In the past, I just tape the cards we receive onto the posts you see in the photo. However, now that I've inherited this retro/vintage piece of wonder, it will become a new tradition in our family. In the photo below I have taken a close-up of a sprig of fake mistletoe. I used to get a big kick out of this as a child and can remember trying to get my parents to kiss under it. I really love it in all its cheap-plastic beauty.
On top of my antique china cabinet, I draped a fabric garland that my cousin Phyllis made and gave me a few years ago for Christmas. It is really neat. She just cut little strips of various Christmas fabrics and tied them onto a rope. This would be a great project in many seasonal variations.
My dad made this wooden Nativity set for us before we had children. This is the first year I've put it up since our boys were born. I am so happy to have it on display again. It is my absolute favorite Nativity. The color variations you see are from each section of wood being stained a different shade.
This is another treasure made for us by my dad. It is a tree with 12 ornaments which represent the 12 gifts in the 12 Days of Christmas song. There is a close-up photo below.
This shows the partridge in the pear tree and two turtledoves.
This Santa advent calendar is made from fabric and was another gift from my cousin Phyllis. There are 25 little pockets designed to hold Hershey's miniature chocolate candy bars. This is a favorite of the boys.
I ordered this fabric advent calendar a few years ago. Each pocket holds a piece of the Nativity scene and in the last pocket is the baby Jesus. I wanted to have an advent calendar that would represent the true reason for the season. This way we can focus on that message a little bit each day as we add another piece to the calendar. I couldn't find a link to this exact calendar; however, here is a link to some that are very similar.
This shows a little shelf with the wooden Nativity, our advent wreath, and a quilted wreath wall-hanging that I made before kids. Unfortunately the photo is really dark and you can't see the colors in it very well.
These three photos show the pieces of our Christmas village that we set up on our shelves in the dining room (actually we have a very open floor plan so our dining room, living room, and kitchen are all pretty much one area). We are so lucky that Grandma Donna purchased these beautiful pieces giving us one per year until we didn't have room for more. This year we only put out our 6 favorite pieces. The boys are so happy to have these upstairs. They all light up and most have moving parts as well. In the past we've had these in our basement (which is finished) and so we haven't been able to enjoy them as much. They will be much loved up here on our main living floor.
This beautiful wall-hanging was also a handmade gift from my cousin Phyllis. It hangs in a place of honor next to our tree every year.
Here is a little hodge-podge of items on the windowsill over my kitchen sink. I spend LOTS of time here since we don't have a dishwasher. The photo didn't turn out well, but most of these decorations are ones I've had for years. I never buy new decorations. After writing this post, I realized that most of our decorations have been given to us as hand-me-downs or as gifts. And I really love it that way. There is special meaning to nearly everything I put out each year which is just as it should be, in my opinion.