Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas around Our House

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around our house.  I think I've got things pretty much ready for our baby, the only one of the five boys who will be here with us to celebrate the birth of Our Lord.  Last year was "our" year, and we had all five boys, four spouses, and four-going-on-five grandchildren gathered under our roof ('twas a Christmas miracle!); this year, it's the in-laws' turn to have the married kids (and the six-going-on-seven grandchildren) with them.  But instead of focusing on what we won't have this Christmas, I am focusing on what we'll have.  I am feeling extremely blessed that even though our youngest son is currently stationed in Germany, he was able to get enough leave to come home for a few days.  Yes, life is good. It is very, very good indeed.

So the halls have been decked.  Cakes and cookies have been baked.  Grocery shopping has been done (and even though there will only be three of us here to eat it, I have enough food to feed a small army--because moms of large families simply don't know how to rein it in at the supermarket, even after the nest gets emptied).

I love decorating for Christmas--not just because the house looks so festive and beautiful, but because almost everything I put out each year has a special story behind it and invokes a precious memory.

I've always enjoyed poring over the Christmas editions of magazines like Victoria and English Home.  It's fun to see how other people decorate (and I usually wind up wishing I was a little better at it!).  But I thought I'd give you a mini-tour of how we do it up here at Chez Pearl.  It'll be like flipping through the glossy pages of the Christmas edition of a home decorating magazine...or not.  Anyway, here goes.

I did something different with the kitchen window this year.  I usually hang some sort of greenery over it; but instead I decided to hang something that reminds me of several of my daughters-in-law, who have a knack for creating visually appealing, Pinterest-worthy signs such as this one.  These little paper "chalkboard" flags are a departure for me, but I really like how this bunting looks.  It makes me happy!  (Perhaps I can chalk that up to the fact that "Be Merry" is the message I decided to write on the flags!)
Moving on to the dining room, one of my favorite rooms in our house.  It's oversized, which is perfect when your family is big and continually growing.
I've got the Christmas crackers out, in preparation for our Christmas Eve pizza party.  And did you notice that little lighted porcelain village piece there?  That's the bridge from "It's a Wonderful Life" (my favorite Christmas movie of all time), and if you look closely, you can see George Bailey standing by the railing.
I didn't put my other lighted village pieces out this year (Ralphie's house and school from "A Christmas Story").  It's not because I don't love them; it's just that I was starting to feel like maybe it's all a bit too much.  And yet yesterday when my husband's sister was telling me about another sister's absolutely spectacular Christmas décor, I fretted that mine was passable, but nothing to write home about.  So as usual, I'm caught between wanting to go big or go home, and wanting to keep things scaled back and modest.  (What are your thoughts on this?)

On a sideboard in the dining room is a collection of wonderfully detailed "Possible Dreams" Santas, mostly gifts from my beloved late mother-in-law.  The one in the green robe, second from the left, was actually a gift that my #2 son gave me one birthday.  He was only about nine years old at the time and conspired with his grandmother to procure it for me.  He had her pick it up when she was visiting with her daughters in VA, and he paid for it with his own money.  How sweet is that?
Speaking of my mother-in-law, in the dining room there is also a Nativity that she made in her ceramics class and gave to my husband and me on Christmas 1980, which was two days before our wedding.  She had fired it in antique white, but told me that I could change it if I wanted to.  In 1990, I finally got around to painting all the pieces.  Now I think of it as a project that she and I did together.
The living room feels almost like a little chapel to me at Christmastime, because of the oversized Advent Wreath and Nativity that dominate the space.
In the center of the Advent Wreath: a Nativity that our youngest son gave
me as a gift last Christmas.  (Those boys know what their mama likes.)
Aside from our main Nativity in the living room, on the shelf there is a large, stunning "Willow Tree" Nativity that sons #3 and 4 gave me several Christmases ago (and next to it, a lovely Santa that son #4 gave me another year).
The living room is also where we display our collection of hand-carved and hand-painted wooden Santas, which my husband brought back from trips to Moscow years ago.  My favorites are the ones with Nativity scenes painted on them.
You can't have too many Nativities--that's my motto!  So I was incredibly touched when our next-door-neighbor gave us one that had been cross-stitched by his mother (who was quite a prolific cross-stitcher, apparently).  When she died and he went through her things, he said he thought of us as soon as he saw it and thought it belonged with us.  This framed beauty has become the centerpiece of our family room mantle at Christmas.
Another thing that's going to become a staple of my family room décor from now on is this precious picture of son #2 dressed up as Santa, with his infant son wearing a "Santa's Helper" elf hat that his Papa and Grammy gave him.  Is that the cutest thing you've ever seen, or what?
So that's what Christmas looks like around our house.  Lots of Nativities.  Lots of Santas.  Lots of family photos.  And lots of great memories of loved ones--some who are still with us, and others who are missed, but never forgotten.
Okay, readers.  That's it for the tour.  May your days be merry and bright, and may all your Christmases be...

never mind, forget the white part.  As for me, I'll take a mild, GREEN Christmas this year--thank you very much!


  1. I love your how you've decked the halls. I think as long as your heart is full of Christmas spirit, minimal or many decorations are just fine. 99% of our Christmas decorations stayed in the basement this year. Partly because we won't be here but mostly because of one resident 14 month old. We are at the kids felt tree, advent candle holder, stockings, tree (with a gaping hole with no ornaments right in front and down low) and the Little People Nativity. So we are crazy minimal this year but we feel Christmasy anyway. And yes, I do normally love snow for Christmas but I am thrilled with our anticipated green and warm holiday!

    1. Madeline, I have to tell you that you are one of the people who inspire me to keep blogging. I am always so happy to see your name in the combox--and I so appreciate every comment you've left.

      I hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your little ones. I'm sure I don't have to remind you of this, but boy, it goes by fast. Cherish every Christmas when you have them all with you. I do miss those days!

      God bless you! Merry Christmas!

  2. Beautiful! I just love this post!!!

  3. Beautiful! Love Christmas decorations that have memories!