This is truly my favorite time of year! I love to make our home feel “Christmas-y”. I love the smell of the Balsam perched in our family room. I love to re-study the ornaments packed away so many months ago. I love the warm, cozy feeling I get being surrounded by my family amidst plastic tubs of greenery, lights and pinecones.
As long as I can remember, we’ve always spent Thanksgiving weekend readying our home for Christmas. Forget about shopping, I’m not into crowds and lines. Usually the only reason I venture out into retail world in the days following Thanksgiving is to buy another string of lights or extra package of bulbs.
So, here’s a few shots from last weekend…
Here we are, just like Santa's elves - ready to "make Christmas"!
Yeah, I know. I have a lot of stuff stored away in our basement. But, really - it is pretty organized according to seasons. And I know right where everything is.
Well, kind of.
Maddie? Maddie? Where are you?
While little helper-Maddie was sweating and grunting and hauling heavy boxes around the house...here is where we found Will.
These railings are usually my first project every year. It's time-consuming and messy. But I love the outcome. Stay tuned...
This is a tree-skirt that my Dad made for me as a Christmas gift the year Bill and I got married. This is definitely one of the most precious Christmas treasures that I have. It took him a really long time to make and it has amazingly beautiful detail.
So, after pulling Will away from Cartoon Network, we started with the artificial tree assembly. The kids pretty much did this on their own this year with a few friendly reminders to "make them fluffy!" from me once in a while. They thought the color-coded branch system was pretty cool.
My girl. It's really hard for her to pass up a photo opportunity.
I'm not a big fan of artificial trees, but we bought this several years ago when we were in home-transition. I figure as long as I have the stuff to decorate it with as well as the time to put it together - we'll continue to put it up.
I guess this one is more of a "decoration tree". We do not put presents under this one, it just displays my dad's tree skirt. It holds the gold ornaments that I have collected throughout the past 15 years from different locations (Maine, Florida, Las Vegas, New York, etc...) along with various other gold/silver ornaments and all white lights.
Here is Maddie in action. We like to spread the mess throughout the whole, entire house. It makes it much easier to see things that way.
And it gives me an great chance to vacuum up those fake pine needles and sticky gold glittery things in each room as well.
I got this plate from my Aunt Debbie many years ago, I think maybe even before I was married. It has served Santa and his reindeer cookies and carrots every Christmas Eve for the past 9 years.
Between all the decorating, it's very important to find some time to sneak in a Christmas story or two. These are our favorites...
Now, its finally time for the real deal. Here are the kids ready to go tree-hunting in the parking lot. We've cut our own a few times before, but honestly...I just don't like to be in the cold that much. These little tree-lots suit our family just fine!
I know it may seem strange to have 2 trees. But it's just the way we do it.
You can just see it in his face, can't you?
Sorry, honey! I just couldn't resist these cute little action shots...
I love to pick a tree that is at least 8-12 inches taller than we really need. I take all the branches removed from the bottom and cut them into manageable sizes to place with a red berry-garland for my fireplace mantle.
Almost every year, however, I panic that Bill cuts too many branches off the tree. He's been known to do that before. You should see the trees in our backyard...
...it also wouldn't be complete without a little cocoa to warm us up...
The following Hallmark collectible ornaments are one of my very favorite traditions that my mom started for us years ago. Since she's been gone, my sisters have kept up with this tradition every year for our anniversary gift. Each ornament coincides with something that has happened in our lives the past year. For example:
This is from the year that we did a bunch of landscaping and installed a firepit complete with a set of Adirondack chairs in our backyard.
This tiny nondescript ornament is a kind of a test I like to give myself. Every year I hang this ornament on our real tree and then see if I can actually find it again come January and time for clean-up. Trust me. It's a lot harder than it sounds. Once when we were still living in Kansas City, I actually finally found it in the tree while it was lying on the curb.
You gotta have a kissing ball by the front door...
So, here's the completed tree in our family room...
These stockings were made by my great Aunt Loretta. Mine (which is the old yellowed one on the far left) is from when I was a kid - probably from about 1976. She knitted one for Bill after we were married and then a couple more for the kids as baby gifts.
...and the entry...
...and front door...
The sled is one that we used as kids, and the ice skates are my mother-in-laws.
Whew...are you as exhausted as I am?
So, that's just a touch of our Christmas decorating traditions. Now, I have to go since a warm cup of hot chocolate, a cozy blanket, the Grinch-book and my kids are calling my name from the family room. Happy Holidays!