Monday, December 15, 2008

The Christmas Tour of My Home

Okay, tour is probably a bit of a high bar which I will not scale, but I did want to redeem myself after the year(s) without a Christmas tree, and Boomama calls it a tour, so a tour it is. I'm sure that there will be many others that are more beautiful, better photographed, and better described, so if that's what you're looking for, go to the main post.

First, we chopped down the tree. We all tramped all over the hill. Amanda would shout out, "How about this one?" and Kyle would yell, "I found one!" and Terry would say, "This one looks nice." Finally we decided and brought one home. As usual once we got it up, it appeared to be a bit crooked, but that's okay with us.

Then we put on the decorations, and I have to admit that hearing the kids' excitement did make me feel a little badly about not putting one up last year. In fact, for about a week, I'd often find Kyle (4) sitting right at the foot of the tree and staring at the various ornaments. The style is more "early parenting" than "house beautiful" and I like it that way. Amanda (10) and Kyle pretty much decorated it, so Amanda favored the macaroni/paper plate wreaths and thumbprint Christmas tree ornaments that she made throughout her preschool years at church and preschool.

I did take charge of some very special ornaments. We love to travel and back on our honeymoon (almost sixteen years ago), we bought an ornament of New Orleans, and a tradition began. We now buy ornaments on most of our trips, and each year it's fun to remember those trips as I put on on the snow shoes from Colorado, or the streetcar from San Francisco, or the Santa on the Gondola out of blown Venice glass, or the Lighthouse from Chatham (Cape Cod).



The other ornaments that are precious to hang each year are those that my grandmother made. Throughout the year (I think -- but certainly in the fall), Mammaw always had a project going. She bought those Christmas kits and made those hard plastic ornaments (like the bell you can see there at the bottom right), or the ones made of sequins and felt. I inherited some of my favorites: the stained glass felt ones (you can see the angel at the very top right of the picture), and the Wizard of Oz characters (Dorothy is on the edge sort of below the angel). She worked on these for many years, gradually replacing the balls on her white-flocked artificial tree with homemade ornaments. (If you click the picture you can see the vacation ornaments as well as those of Mammaw's in more detail).

While they did that, I put up the nativity scene. The small bookshelf where it used to sit got moved, so I wasn't sure where I would put it this year. I finally decided on top of the microwave (which is right at the edge of the kitchen/living room). Why not? My phone is above it, so I look at it frequently, and I like that.



The mantle is probably my favorite. I bought the lighted garland years ago, and I love the sparkle it brings. One unique thing is that we don't necessarily use the same stockings each year. I think that the snowflake is always mine, but the reindeer, bear, and Santa rotate -- with Amanda and Kyle calling dibs, and Terry taking what's left. Another fun fact is that I bought those stockings about eight or nine years ago, when Kyle wasn't even a twinkle in his Daddy's eye. In fact, there was no twinkle -- we weren't sure that we would have a second child, but knowing that we might change our minds, I bought four, because I wanted us to all match. So four years ago when we got to use all four, I was reminded of my faith and my hope, and they still remind of that time in our lives.



We don't do outside decorations, other than the penguins (which are right at the top of our driveway this year), but fortunately living here in New England, Mother Nature usually takes care of that for us.


Thanks for coming! Merry Christmas!

28 comments:

Carrie said...

I love your tradition with ornaments. That makes the tree so special. I don't have anything that has a great deal of meaning yet BUT my nativity set (which was gifted to us) but I didn't put a picture of that up on my post. Oh well.

I LOVE your fireplace, btw. It looks so very cozy.

Ashley said...

So pretty! I enjoyed touring :o) Come visit me at my house (blog)!

Jamie lea said...

You have a beautiful home :-) Thanks for having us all.

Hootin' Anni said...

Oh how I love this time of year!! I love the country home in the snow and your fireplace.
It's all so beautiful!
Thanks for participating in the tour of homes...

My 'tour' is now added, it's called "Faces of Christmas"...part of my collection, all close-ups.

And there is an announcement of my 1st ever Blog Giveaway too.

Stop by sometime soon, won't you?

Happy Holidays.

Dena @ Green Acres said...

Your home and family are both beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

Kim@ForeverWherever.com said...

I understand the joy of the ornaments from trips! We've been collecting for almost 20 years! The memories come back with each one! Thanks for sharing your beautiful home with all of us!
-Kim

Erika said...

That tree? Your house? Oh my, just beautiful!

Kim said...

There's a lot to be said for homemade ornaments like the ones you got from your grandma and the ones your kids make. But I'd caution how you store them; a lot of mine didn't survive their mini-storage experience.

It's fun to see Christmas through the eyes of a child, isn't it?

Ameratis said...

The nativity is great! Crooked trees are the best. Thanks for sharing :)

Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

Love the idea of collecting ornaments from places you visit. I'm hoping we get some snow like that for Christmas! It's back in the 60s today. In December. In Rhode Island. It's just wrong.

Erin said...

SO beautiful!

Mary Ellen (megardengal) said...

How fun- cutting your own tree down! We did that for years- now with the kids being older - went out and bought one! Enjoy those blessings of children you have!

blessings
mary

Melissa @ Breath of Life said...

For some reason, I'm thinking of Little Women while looking at the picture of your house. I have no idea why! But it looks inviting and I wish I could pop right on over.

Have a Merry Christmas.

Dianne said...

My husband and I have the same tradition - buying Christmas ornaments as our vacation souvenir. We've done that since before we were married, when we bought the angel that goes on top of our tree at a craft show. Sniff . . . but I'm not doing a tree this year! Oh well, will make next year more appreciated.

I love a nicely decorated mantel!

the pleasures of homemaking said...

Buying an ornament while on vacation is such a nice tradition! That must have been so much fun cutting down your own tree! That's something we've never done. Thanks for the tour!

Manuela

Nise' said...

We don't put any decorations outside either because we love very close to a middle school and they are too much of a temptation! Thanks for having us over.

Anne said...

I loved the tour... thanks for sharing. I especially lilked the story behind your stockings - and am glad all four are being used:). Merry Christmas!

Keetha said...

Lovely!!!

My favorite is that last picture of your house in the snow.

Merry Christmas!

Katrina said...

I loved reading all the behind-the-scenes stuff about your decorations.

We often pick up an ornament in our travels, too. This year, there are a few Hershey Kiss ornaments adorning our tree.

Kristy said...

thanks for sharing! I used to live in CT...Tolland. Been in IL for over 18 yrs now. Blessings!

jill said...

Thanks for sharing your holiday home. Merry Christmas!

angeleyes Blue said...

I grew up in upstate NY and we always had a live Christmas tree. I remember once dad had to chop off the top as it wouldn't fir in the house. Of course this was when a tree was $5. All you had to do was go and chop it down.

My hubbie was in the military and they never knew where they were going to end up so a real Christmas tree was just a detail.

We have been together 19 years this year and in the beginning we were just poor. I remember once making a tree out of green construction paper and taping it to the wall.

We became affluent had children and daddy would take the children to the gas station and they would pick out a tree for $80. No Biggie. Once we had 2 trees in the house. A couple of years ago I decided that we could afford an artificial tree. We now do that but the kids are teenagers.

Our tree is always perfect. I miss the live trees that are in motion---crooked and look like a spaceship taking off.

Have a very Merry Christmas all :)
The Albuquerque Tuckers

35 and holding said...

simple is good. I like your tradition of ornaments. WE do similar here. Merry Christmas! Stop by my blog!

Musings of a Housewife said...

Look at all that snow! I miss New England winters. I feel like, if it's cold, it ought to snow! Merry Christmas!

Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) said...

GIRL - I LOVE your house!!! I have never seen it. So cool to see what it looks like from the outside. IT is beautiful. LOVE IT!!!!

Phillips Phamily Mama said...

LOVE the snow and your house! We like to collect ornaments on trips, too. My mother-in-law has a miniature tree in her entryway with all her "travels" ornaments. Have a wonderful Christmas and thanks for sharing!

Lisa writes... said...

Venice? Wow!

Love the sneak peek into the snapshot home!

Amanda said...

Lovely house and you picked a great tree! Thanks for the lovely tour and Merry Christmas!