So for this week’s “five things,” my blogging buddy Heather has asked us to share our five favorite Christmas decorations. In no particular order, here they are!
I love our Christmas tree. There are so many memories attached to it– from the ornaments I bought when Bryson and I were newly married, the ones I received each year as a child, to the ones my own children have received every Christmas– continuing the family tradition. There are gilded fruit ornaments, glass icicles resembling candy canes, and lots of shatterproof balls in red and gold. After five kids I finally wised up and stowed the glass baubles away, perhaps for a future date. We are all about the shatterproof ones now.
I have been pleasantly surprised at how good the twins have been with the tree this year. Last year we had ornaments scattered throughout the house and quickly instigated a “no ornaments on the bottom third of the tree” rule. This year Bryson has told them that they are only allowed to touch the ornaments with one finger (because, really, asking them not to touch at all is just entirely unrealistic!), and this has been working really well.
We have been reading A Christmas Carol as a family on my Kindle with only the Christmas tree lights & fireplace lighting the room at night. It has been magical.
Speaking of the fireplace, I have to include it even though it’s not really a Christmas decoration. Last year when Bryson was working out of town I decided to make over our main living room. My personal splurge was purchasing this electric fireplace for the space. I grew up in a home with a large hearth and loved spending evenings listening to the crackling fire. We don’t have a very big house, but this little fireplace fits very nicely in our room and adds a substantial “cozy factor” to our home.
My favorite place in our entire house is curled up with a book and a mug of hot cocoa in the leather easy chair next to the fireplace. There is always a stack of books on the mantle, and at this time of year I always have a selection of some of my family’s favorite Christmas stories there.
Of the books, my personal favorite is an old book my grandma gave me a few Christmases ago that used to belong to her family when she was growing up. Entitled The Fireside Book of Christmas Stories, it’s in surprisingly good shape for a book published in 1945! There are some wonderful tales in its pages, and it makes me smile and think of my grandma every time I see it.
I love that my nativity set is the first thing that greets us when we enter our front door. We have quite a few little nativities scattered throughout the house, but you cannot go anywhere in our house without passing this one repeatedly– all day long. It is our constant reminder of the Reason for the Christmas season. Sitting on our antique piano directly across from our entryway, I hand glazed it when I was a teenager for a church youth group project. It is always the first thing I put out every year when I start the Christmas decorating. It has held up remarkably well, with only one minor casualty when a stocking holder fell off our half wall last year, cracking one of the camel’s noses. Thanks to Bryson’s mad super-gluing skills, it is scarcely noticeable from a distance. You will also notice in the picture below that we have now given up stocking holders. 🙂
On the half wall above the piano & nativity set are our stockings. This year I couldn’t believe how many of them there were!!! They aren’t handmade, but they have special meaning to me regardless. When we were first married, Bryson and I spent Christmas with my parents and they had the first stocking shown in the picture above made just for Bryson. Ever since, I have had stockings made for each of our children by the same company, and decided to get one for myself as well since my old one (which my beloved great-aunt made for me) was quite a bit bigger. That one usually hangs in my bedroom with Bryson’s childhood stocking. This year I simplified a bit since we have a newborn in the house, so sadly they are still in storage. But seeing all of these hanging in a row makes me smile. With all the difficulties I have had over the years in conceiving, difficult pregnancies, and complicated postpartum issues, I never thought I would have so many to adorn our living space. Blessings, each one.
Rounding out my top 5 is the ginormous poinsettia we receive from Bryson’s work each year. Seriously, you can’t tell from the photograph but this thing is HUGE. It sits on the floor in our basement and hits me at my waist. That’s how tall it is.
Every year when the florist drops it off on our doorstep I have a huge giggle over it. Before we finished our basement we literally had no idea where to put it. Bryson jokingly refers to it as our second Christmas tree. It’s really not too much of an exaggeration.
It is beautiful, though, and we certainly love having it in our home this time of year.