Welcome to my family room. This is the room where we spend most of our time and the room where most of the Christmas activity will happen. The tree is covered in over 1200 colored lights and there will be a fire even if our weather changes and we need the A/C that day. We push the couch back against the wall, move the coffee table and have the grandest of times!
Here are the side cabinets of the entertainment unit. I told you you be seeing the Santa pictures of years past! I know the sane people of the world just have one Santa frame and update the picture each year - but, where is the fun in that? I just can't bear to part with any so my Santa picture collection just grows larger every year. So many wonderful memories in each face!
Here we have more pictures and some more of the Santas that I have grouped this year.
I used to put most of the Santas on the mantle but last year I decided to try something new. I only put out this "mercury" Santa and the jars of my old family ornaments and I like it. I would love to do a sophisticated mantle some day but this is really the room for the kids and they love it like this.
So here is our tree. Even though we only have 8 foot high ceilings, we buy a 9-10 foot tree every year. We love a tree with lots of breadth and that is the only way we can get what we want. Then, we begin the trimming process. Some times it takes more than one try - witness the scratch marks on our ceiling! Then the fun begins. I don't have the patience of Martha - or of her helpers I guess - so I put up the lights by going in and out of the branches but I am not compulsive about it! I do like the depth that that system gives. Then, I hang the plain, glass balls back in the branches. Then it is time for all of our special ornaments and I finish off with lots of different icicle ornaments we have collected over the years. The tree is mostly my job. My husband has even less patience than I but he does the outside lighting so I'm O.K. with that. I just put on my favorite Christmas CDs, light a few candles and before I know it, I am done. This year our tree is very fresh and drinking lots of water but I have hung so much that the branches are pointing down a bit. I still love it and am already dreading having to say good-bye to it on Jan. 1!
I have so many favorite ornaments but I found a few up front to show you. This girl was made by Kristin when she was in middle school. I think she is salt dough and has had a few accidents over the years but I love her.
This was Becky's first attempt at counted cross stitch when she was about 8 years old. She went on to do some beautiful hand work but it is always fun to see where we started!
Every year I tried to make some kind of ornament to give to all the people in the girls' lives -teachers (classroom as well as P.E., art music, etc.), G.S. leaders, dance instructors, S.S. teachers - well, you get the idea. Any way, this particular year, I made these pasta ornaments. Imagine my surprise when I clicked on a blog the other day and saw that these little ladies have made a comeback this year. I guess if you live long enough everything old is new again!
This is one of our most meaningful ornaments! It is a Christopher Radko done to honor childrens' cancer research. Everyone in our family received one the year our granddaughter was diagnosed with liver cancer. We treasure it and her!!
We always tried to make a picture ornament in scouts every year. This one was simple and has been copied a few times since.
This ornament was one I had my S.S. class make one year. It was made from burned match sticks and a "Shrinky Dink" nativity. We loved doing those Shrinky Dinks. I remember having all of the neighbors - adults as well as kids - over one year to make dozens and dozens of ornaments because it was so much fun to watch them shrink!
These were probably the first ornaments my girls made by themselves because all you had to do was thread tri-beads on pipe cleaners and connect. Even though they were simple, they have stood the test of time.
This is a pink pig given to us by my brother and sister-in-law. They bought it at Richs in Atlanta to commemorate the Pink Pig on the roof of the downtown Richs every Christmas. We Christmas shopped up there every year and seeing Santa and then riding the Pig were a must. The trip took you around the roof of the store which has a HUGE Christmas tree in the center and you could see all of downtown Atlanta. Another of those wonderful memories that return every time we look at the tree.
These last 3 are handprint ornaments - something I always love doing because I love to look at those little hands.
And here is the skier that I mentioned yesterday. He looks so much like my little guy from so many years ago. Of course, there are many, many more and almost every one has a story to tell. I love it when my children and grandchildren are here and we look for all of our cherished memories snuggled away on that tree. The stories get told and retold and the little ones never seem to tire hearing about the good old days. These are my favorite parts of Christmas - the things that happen without a gift in sight. I can't wait! They'll all be here in 3 days!!