My mom was the queen of Christmas decorations. On the outside of their home, were just three lit wreaths. One hanging from each of the front bedroom windows. The tree was in the living room window and she could never have too many lights on it. From the outside, it was minimal, but as you walked into the house, it was a different story! Every room on the first floor was decorated. Most of them were decorations made by her. If they weren’t, then they were Annalee’s, a stuffed decoration brand that she adored! Every year she received new ones to add to her collection. It got to a point that there was nowhere else to sit in the living room! Nearly every ornament on the tree was made by her. Most of them were in sets and had to be hung together on the tree. She had a pretty strict rule that ornaments had to be handmade, or have some sort of meaning to go on the tree Having hundreds and hundreds of ornaments meant we needed a HUGE tree every year. My dad would pick the fattest tree he could find. The marks on the living room ceiling prove that they were often too tall for the room. They would be so heavy, that we would need twine to anchor the tree to the windows to keep it up. There were many mornings before we learned that little trick, that we’d wake up in the morning to find the tree on the ground!
Cute angels and snowmen hung from the beams between rooms. Mistletoe and reindeer were in every room. Christmas cards had their own place but “special ones” would be prominently displayed for everyone to see. On each step hangs a handmade Christmas stocking. As we each got married, our spouse’s stocking, (also handmade) was added to the steps, as were stockings for each grandchild. There weren’t enough stairs so some of us had to share. The Christmas songs would be playing continuously and she knew the words to all of them!
This year, Linda took a day and decorated it all for my dad. I know that made him very happy. The tree we will all do together. That’s a tradition for us that we wouldn’t miss. Each ornament has a story and we all have favorites that we like to hang.
At our house, we finally got our outside lights up today. The kids are out with my dad, so they’ll come back to a surprise as they see the house all lit up. Drew has been asking us to do it for a few weeks now and with the new porches, I have to admit, it looks almost like a dollhouse all lit up. I love it! We haven’t gotten our tree yet. The only decoration we have up inside is the advent calendar. We are expecting some snow this weekend and it might be nice to be snowed in so that we can get the decorations up! We have nowhere close to the amount my mom and dad have at their house. We have some though and like my mom, most of our ornaments mean something to us. I am sure that my kids are tired of the stories I tell them each year as we unwrap each ornament and where we got them or who they are from but I tell them anyway. Each of us have our favorites and we hang them up ourselves. The handmade ones from the kids are priceless and irreplaceable.
This is my favorite time of the year and although it will be bittersweet without mom and Francine this year, our memories of all of the past Christmases with them will be evident as we unwrap each ornament and decoration.