My mother’s house always seemed to be the best Christmas house ever. I never lived there because she and my father built it after I’d been married seven years. He lived to enjoy it only 12 years, but she lived there 37 years and relished every moment.
Her house seemed perfect for Christmas because the carpet was red and the upholstered furniture had lots of green with red touches. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, and she had elves on her mantel long before they appeared on the shelves of other people. The white staircase was often decorated with garlands or poinsettias which added to the atmosphere.
Her tree was usually pathetic, for she loved getting it from the farm. Since the only evergreens on the farm were cedars, that was her tree choice. One year Daddy actually attached it to the ceiling by a cord to keep it from falling over. Even after he died, Mother would get someone, usually her cousin Donald, to go out with her to cut a cedar for her Christmas tree. That idea was surely attached to her childhood memories of what her father brought in as a Christmas tree.
Of course the pictures I have of those times are pre-2009, so we all look young.
Now I look around my house, decorated for Christmas, and think it may be a Christmas house as well. Our walls are red, which adds to the atmosphere. I love our old decorations and enjoy deciding where to put each item—sometimes the same place as last year, sometimes not.
This year, I decided the mantel theme would be “what Santa brought long ago.” You can see the dolls and wooden cars and trains and building blocks. Featured in the center is a church music box that Steve has had as long as he can remember. Wound up, it plays “Oh, Come All Ye Faithful” without a hitch.
I love our fresh-cut tree, even though I’m forgetful about watering it. I love choosing gifts and wrapping them for people I love. When we only give gifts to those closest to us, it’s easy when we know them well. Our nativities and pictures from Christmases past are always fun to look at and reminisce.
Every year I realize I’ve done too much. Too many presents are under the tree; too many items are ready to put into stockings. Fortunately, we have two mantels and two sets of stockings, but I should fill them with fruit as my parents did. But room for fruit is at a premium after I put in the goodies I’ve accumulated all year. When I bought the needlepoint-looking stockings, I intended to discard the ones I’d made in 1970, but the family protested and we’ve kept both, adding one, of course, as each in-law or grandchild joined the family.
Christmas is such a family time and I know for many that brings anxiety and problems. I feel sorry for them because for me Christmas is a joyous family time. The blessing I most appreciate about my family is that we all love the Lord and try our best to serve Him. From mission trips to other countries to working in the local food pantry to hosting all the singles who show up at church, our children—all four of them—serve Christ and His church. Praise God for my family—my greatest Christmas blessing! I can’t wait to welcome them to my Christmas house.
(All the pictures will show up better if you click on the title to go to my blog. Merry Christmas!)