This year, while putting up our decorations, I realized my children don’t really know the stories behind most of them. I tell them as it comes up, but sometimes things never come up. So I write. For visuals on the things I’m talking about, see Flickr to the right.
The ceramic tree is probably my most precious decoration right now. Not only was it Grandma Jean’s, but all four of our grandparents had one they put up each Christmas. Plus Mom had the coolest one – with a “cave” in the base for the three white glazed ceramic figurines of Mary, Joseph, & Baby Jesus to go in. I spent literally hours of my childhood at Christmas time gazing at that tree & those simple figures. I loved that thing. The one we have, though, was auctioned off at a family gathering a few Christmases back. Dad knew I wanted a ceramic tree so spent a whopping $70 to get it for me. I thought it was so extravagant & assured him I could keep looking on ebay & get one eventually, but he really wanted me to have that tree. It brings tears to my eyes to think about it – I’m glad that tree sits in our north room each Christmas for the kids to put the little plastic bulbs in & gaze upon over their growing up years.
We put two teddy bears under the tree each year; another gift from Dad. It’s a cute story. The Christmas I was newly pregnant with Nate, the first grandbaby on both sides, Dad spied these & gave them to “the new baby”. Even before they arrived, Dad was gaga over his grandchildren! One holds a drum & plays “Little Drummer Boy” & the other has a trumpet & plays “Jingle Bells”. It’s also fitting because Dad loves music (was a music major & played trumpet in the Ohio State Marching Band) & knick-knacky toys. He had started quite a collection of Grandpa toys. These fit right in & hold a special place in my heart.
Our hearth is one one those things I most appreciate about this dear old house. That’s the only place I decorate, but it’s up high so little ones aren’t tempted, and it’s in the center of the house so a few little things there makes the whole house feel seasonal. The stockings were bought before Callie was born. There were eight different patterns, so we got one of each in hopes of not running out for a good long while. So far, the plan has worked. The little one hangs each year a new baby is expected. On the hearth, we put greenery & white lights along with various items given to us over the years. Among them, six candle rings with white poinsettias & gold gifts sit nestled in there. These were used at the wedding shower my home church gave me, hosted by my dear friend Diane. She gave them to me afterwards & each year I think of her family when I put them up there. Then there are two angels – one a flower pot angel with curly hair from my aunt, & the other a pine cone & golf tee angel from a cousin. Both are adorable & I have plans someday to use these ideas as gifts to others when the kids get old enough to join in the making of them.
Coloring books are a MUST under the tree. My brothers & I spent most of the Christmas break under the tree coloring to the old Firestone Christmas records in the background using nothing but tree light. We always had multicolored lights. So far, our kids only know white & yellow lights, but Keith has already put the order in for colored lights one of these years. It does bring back memories.
Our tree holds all kinds of various ornaments. Over the years, the kids & I have made most of them. One year I made a whole bunch of clay gingerbread men, of which about ten remain. Then I made stuffed felt mittens, snowmen, & trees one year. Those are really cute, but are more time consuming & the kids can’t help at all. One year the kids & I made jingle bell angels; I love those. Both last year & this Anders has made something in Sunday School class for the tree. One year it was a gingerbread angel & another a popsicle sequin tree. Callie made a nativity scene for us last year & it hangs on our calendar peg this year. Grandma Gertie made me about a dozen lace snowflakes for our tree when we were first married. I LOVE those snowflakes; each one unique. When I was growing up, Mom had a cardinal that clipped into a nest or branch by the nest. So, when I saw something like it at Michaels a few years back, I snatched it up for memory’s sake. Then there’s the battenburg lace angel we made in ladies Bible study one year in Korea. Someone gave us a couple kissing for a wedding present, so that goes on each year to commemorate our first Christmas together. And there’s the pasta angel – completely made of various pasta noodles – made by my cousin’s family. That one is another idea I hope to do one day with the kids to pass out to church friends or something. Cute!
I guess that highlights some of my favorite Christmas decorations & the stories behind them. I also love our nativity set – Little People – but it is constantly being rearranged & played with which is why we got it, but also why I didn’t photograph it. Here’s a stock photo instead…