Christmas is Coming!

It's that time of year to get the house all dressed in shades of red and green...the colors of Christmas. I know, I know...that's a traditional, some might say "old-fashioned," color combination. But it's what works for us. You may find an occasional gold ornament on our tree and a very-occasional blue bauble...and OK, a couple of purple ones...but I draw the line on teal (one of my personal fave colors otherwise) or mauve. No way, no how. No surprises here...we are all about "tradition!"

Well, we used to be. Time was that NO artificial tree was allowed in our house. Live...or nothing! Then, we got a three small "fake" trees for our ornament collections: one for my sheep, one for Nana/Momma/Edith's Santas, and one for Missy M's bears. OK, we survived the invasion.

And then, last year, when Mr. T and I were spending the Holidays in Looeyvul, I caved and bought a pre-lit tree for our dining room window (photo, left)...and the corner was turned. I loved having a tree (which took the place of my sheepie tree), especially one that was easy to put up and no worries like a live tree...particularly since we would be away from home for a couple of weeks. Mr. T loved how the lights were already on the tree...he didn't have to wrangle the tangle of strands anymore...hurrah! It was perfect...and it made me smile every time I looked at it from the kitchen doorway. Ahh...

Sheepie Tree in the Dining Room window

Sheepie of many

So, this year, we went 'round the bend and bought a nine-foot, pre-lit, slim-line tree for the den (photo below, right). And I could not be happier! I also got these Scent-cicles, which make one tree smell like pine and the other like spruce. Ah...lovely! Now, I have nothing against live trees...heck, I hope loads of folks buy one of North Carolina's finest products! But, I totally understand the "beauty" of having a lighted tree, up in 10 minutes, give or take. And, even though the tree tops me by almost 4 feet, I assembled it by myself. Of course, I needed some help from the guy with the height in adding the ornaments...:-).

New tree for the den
The trees may be artificial, but the memories that the ornaments represent are very real indeed. There's the oldest ornament on the tree: a silver ball that used to be covered in glitter and silver may have lost some glitz, but it remains a reminder of childhood Christmases in Henning. There are the painted globe-ornaments and Santa shells that N/M/E crafted. There are Missy M's baby pics with Santa and all of her school pictures in ornaments...I treasure the moments each year when I look at each one. There are the ornaments we have purchased on trips far and wide...good memories all. And, there are the ornaments we have made, one for each year or so. Some are painted, some are cross-stitched, some are knitted, and some are quilted or sewn. All are special.

Still the tradition continues with our Nutcracker collection, which numbers 55 and counting. We have so many that we are hard-pressed to find places for them all. We lost some space on the TV cabinet earlier this year when the new mondo Vizio came to live with us, so the guys on top of the bookcase are a bit squashed together. The plan for next year is to enlarge the mantle (photo below/left) and expand the sofa table. All for the Nutcrackers...:-)
Nutcrackers on the mantle

Today I spent some time arranging the Nativity Scenes on the coffee table. One is an inexpensive wooden Nativity we have had as long as we've been married...37 Christmases. Another is in the form of a plate and its holder. My favorite is a ceramic Holy Family in simple, elegant glazed white that Mr. T's Mom made for us one year.

But the one with pride-of-place is the complete scene of ceramic characters that Mrs. A made for Missy M over a period of three or four years: Holy Family, Shepherds, Wise Men, and all the animals. I remembered to tuck Baby Jesus away in the drawer until Christmas Eve.

I usually put the Advent Wreath here, too, but I haven't found it yet. I did find the Advent Calendar I made when Missy M was maybe three or four, and it is up and in use.

We got the outdoor lights up about 10 days ago...including Chimney Santa (below, left) as well as The Santa Nutcrackers (we call them The Mens), all of whom are showing their age. We have the yard outlined in lights (as opposed to putting lights up on the gutters, like we did in MO)...and we like the way that works with this front yard. There are lighted snowflakes and stars on the porch, and a lighted "net" over the holly bushes. And the lighted deer are nodding away on the lawn (below, right). We haven't gotten the wreaths up on the windows 'cause that would mean a major trim to the bushes...and we just haven't had the time. Maybe this weekend.

Chimney Santa waving...

Lighted reindeer nodding

We did get the Henry VIII wreath on the front door. Now, admittedly, this is probably the oddest ornament collection we have...felted, stuffed characters that represent Henry and all six of his wives (two of whom he had beheaded), that I got on one trip to England. And, I added a William Shakespeare character...and a Beefeater/Guard from the Tower of London. If I gave it much thought, I'd probably wonder about its appropriateness. What can I say? Some people put a pickle on their tree...I have history hung on my door.

So what's next, you ask? I am eager to begin baking tomorrow...when I get to put on my Holiday apron, pull out our favorite Holiday recipes, and pop in some Christmas DVDs like Christmas in Connecticut, White Christmas, and The Hunt for Red October (don't even ask about that last one...we always seem to watch it whenever we bake chocolate chip cookies...:). I'm hoping we get the cooler weather we've been promised, so I can enjoy some hot apple cider, too. Then, I'm looking forward to the annual trip to The Nutcracker Ballet on Thursday. I wish this could have worked out when Missy M was here, but the schedules didn't match up. My shopping is pretty much done, but I'm still working on a few of my gifts, and I don't want to get behind in wrapping! And this weekend is reserved for writing our Annual Newsletter and the Christmas cards.

Yes, lights are twinkling everywhere...ornaments and collections are out on display...and the little china angel that topped all the trees we had when I was growing up is now topping our new artificial tree. The old and the new.

A very Merry Christmas is in the making, I do believe.

P. S.  Here are two more photos I snapped with my phone...enjoy!

Teddy looks happy about the new tree, all alight!

Duche$$ says "My rug! You put this here for me, right?!"


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