I had a blast Wednesday meeting a friend for coffee and talking writerly stuff, and then there was a birthday party I attended. All in all, a very nice day. I’ve needed one. During the party (which was at my house) I started snapping pictures of all the decorations we have up (we’ve kinda gone all out this year) and as promised here are some of the highlights.
Our Christmas tree has been up since the day after Thanksgiving. That’s a little early for us but with all the news we’ve gotten this year, extra cheer has been nice to come home to. We use colored lights on the tree, and that’s the only place we use them. All the rest, as you’ll see, are white lights. The ornaments on the tree are either gifts from friends, bought at special occasions, or home-made. Here are a couple of my favorite:
This is a tiny little nativity hidden inside a white star. At the bottom, there’s a place for a Christmas Tree light to be tucked up inside and illuminate the scene, but I prefer it just plain white. A friend from work gave this to me after he heard me admiring it for several weeks. He didn’t have much at the time and I wasn’t expecting a gift from him at all, it was so sweet (the ornament wasn’t much so I didn’t feel bad accepting it) but the memory is such a dear one, I smile every time I hang it on the tree.
This one is special because of the whole Isaiah 9 proclamation that I’d been reading for several days during advent and then WHAM there it was on an ornament as if He’d dropped it down straight from the throne room just to encourage me. I’ve always loved this passage:
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
(Isaiah 9:6-7 ESV)
I’d never seen one before with Isaiah 9 on it. Oh, there are plenty from the New Testament, and some from the Psalms, but I’d never seen Isaiah 9 referenced so blatantly before. It was definitely a God Wink, from Him to me. Every year I remember that (I’ve been practicing this remembering thing for a while) when I set this on our tree.
This is the last ornament I’ll share today. It’s a stylized ornament from Mount Vernon, and is meant to replicate the globe that George Washington had in his study in his grand estate. I had such a lovely time last Christmas with my cousin Sally, her friend, and Mom and Dad seeing Mount Vernon at night. There was a lovely tour of the estate with actors dressed in period costumes, hot cider, cookies, and even a real live camel! If you ever have a chance to go at Christmas, take that chance, it was definitely an evening full of memories for me.
This, is Aurelius. He’s a dwarf pine Mom bought me from Wegman’s and he’s only suppose to grow 2” a year. We’ll see about that Aurelius, we’ll see how fast you grow. Mom bought him for me because every year I lament and look sorrowful over the fact that our Christmas tree is an artificial one, and so now I have my own TINY natural one. Speaking of which, he needs a good watering, I’ll be right back. There, now he’s had a good drink. Aurelius means “Golden” and while this tiny tree isn’t golden in color, he is definitely worth more than gold to me. Doesn’t he look spiffy?
This is the mantle in the family room, and Mom and I are really proud of this one too! The lights and decorations are just right, and the ribbon adds a sparkling point for the lights. I also love the cheeky cardinal perched to the wreath. He’s just the right touch. It always takes us so much longer than we think it’s going to take, decorating, and there are differences of opinion and small catastrophes to overcome but in the end we have this lovely sight and that makes it all worth while.
See the lights shining through the ribbon? The look is enchanting with the lights out, but then I can’t take a picture which is kinda the point of this post.
It really looks as good or better than the decorations we saw when we were in Williamsburg in 2010. Our house has a Colonial look and Mom, Dad, and I love Williamsburg so we tend to have Christmas decorations that echo that style. There are lots of berries, small birds, bells, and natural elements. We’ve even made popcorn strings before and strings of dried cranberries.
That’s running white pine and some other pines draping gracefully down the sides of the front there, and that lovely over stuffed box fills the window nicely. I wish you could catch the scent of the running pine when the sun lays on it, it smells like Christmas.
Here’s our door decoration (again greens, birds, bright ribbons and berries) which has weathered nicely.
We have three outdoor lights, all like this one, and each one has a wreath too. Whew! This is becoming a long post even with the pictures. I think I’m going to have to do a ‘part two’ because we aren’t done with the decoration tour, not by a long shot.
How does your family decorate for Christmas or Hanukkah? Do you use family heirlooms, or add pieces bit by bit? A combination of both? What unique part of your festival display is your favorite? Tell me in the comments below!