Through Every Season

Tag: Christmas Decor (Page 1 of 2)

Christmas.. Wrapping Things Up

For many Christmases now, the kids have wanted only 
two things: money and candy.
There were many early years were we only had five dollars for each from us,
but their grandparents aways gave them plenty for a nice Christmas.
When they were younger, we actually gave them 
their money and took them to the toy store
before Christmas, so we could wrap their presents
and put them under the tree.
A couple of years we bought a family gift.. like a game system.
One year we went on a family vacation as our gift.
Two or three years ago we super surprised them
by shopping for them and sneaking their presents in
late one night while they were asleep.
They never even thought to look in our closet..
because we had never hidden gifts from them before. 🙂
We never have presents under the tree..
now that they shop on line after Christmas.
I think the last couple of Christmas mornings we just pulled stuff out 
of Walmart bags and gave them to them.  🙂
This year I decided to be a little more creative 
with their candy/money wrapping and made these gift bag tags..
using part of this free printable nativity I love.
We discovered chocolate oranges a couple of years ago. 
They instantly became part of the tradition.
I made these money wraps for their cash yesterday.
Most years I forget to go to the bank in time, and have to
write them an IOU.  This year I actually got their 
grandparents’ checks cashed in 10’s and 20’s for them.
And bought them some things they needed like socks and gloves.

Judi’s been a little confused by my redecorating everything
and insisted that we keep the candy cane buying tradition, too.
I didn’t want them on my tree, so I put them on this wreath instead.
I usually buy 2 dozen so the kids get 6 each.
I made this star/cross wreath some time ago out of
the 4′ Christmas tree we had before inheriting my grandmother’s
much nicer tree and some dowels and wire.. it fell apart.

I redid it this year with duct tape and twine.
It’s much stronger now.

I put an extra wreath in the bucket I bought for my fall flowers.
The bucket needs a red bow.. doesn’t it?

Back inside…
 Have you seen this book?  I really like it.

 I had packed these glass ornaments (below) in our advent candle pillars
for our last move and didn’t find them until this week.. (over two years later).
I haven’t been together enough to actually do an advent devotion.  
Maybe next year with the book above.
I decided they would be safer hanging here than on the tree.
I hung them across some wire left over from my 

names of Jesus ornaments with some invisible thread.

I think they look like musical notes.  Even Judi thought they were cool.
They are the same color blue as the satin I used to wrap the tree.

Hope you have a wonderful Christmas.


Nativities and Garlands

George loves to knock things down from my counters and such 
and bat them around for a while..
Zoe loves to eat the things she knocks down.
I am renaming them the George/Zoe demolition team.
They spent last Christmas knocking down and eating pieces of my nativity. 🙁
I have a lot of pieces.. they fill up all these boxes.
I wasn’t looking forward to losing pieces this year.. 
Mike suggested that I use both mantles (George doesn’t bother them)
instead of keeping the whole nativity in one room.  Brilliant!
I actually like this arrangement better than last year..
Using the different rooms allowed me to separate them into sets.
I put my soft nativity on my dresser.  It’s not as enticing as the smaller pieces.
  It needs a manger.. or mat or something.. project for next year?
On the right side of the piano, 
I have Joseph and Mary traveling to Bethlehem.
Since George can actually get to this one,
I sprinkled it with cyan pepper (great cat repellant).
So far so good.

I put my main manger scene on the mantle in that room .
Then our original set and collection of angels 
and advent candles on the mantle by the tree.
The garlands are new… 
I’d seen several garlands in blog land and was inspired to make my own.
I made some paper snowflakes out of leftover paper 
from my names of Jesus ornaments.  I thought the colors would
stand out better than white snowflakes against a white mantle.
Then added my “Love, Joy, Hope and Peace” ornaments to them.
And cut out two doves.
Then I found a star png on google (love google) and photoshopped 
some old pictures of the kids on top, and had them printed at Walmart. 
The cut out stars were kinda lost in the garland by themselves,
so I googled how to fold a 5 pointed snowflake to help show them off.
My other garland is made of some other random ornaments that 
I didn’t know what to do with.. I was really surprised 
when saw that I had a woodsy theme once I they were up.
I had these birds and bells which I liked,
but didn’t go with my new themed tree.
This Smoky Mountain souvenir was too
Christmasy to wait for my January wreath.
 and these two lonely eggs..which 
Mike’s grandmother made for us years ago
are so small that they didn’t show up in the big tree.
There were twelve painted eggs originally..
before all the years of kids decorating and knocking over trees… 
I added some pinecones which were my original inspiration
 And.. ta da a woodsy garland..

Trimming the Tree (with ornaments)

 Every Christmas up until last, I’ve bought the kids an ornament at the
after Christmas sales to add to their collection.. then each Christmas
the kids got to decorate the tree with their own ornaments.
They loved this when they were little..

Last year, the kids decided it was too much trouble to put their ornaments
on the tree and that they didn’t really care about collecting ornaments.
It kinda hurt my feelings..

I decided that if I was going to do all the work from now on
that I was going to start over with new ornaments for me.

At the after Christmas sales last year, I bought these ornaments
80 or 90% off.. I was so excited.. my favorite color..
I guess my blue and white tree has gone out of style..
there were so many of them left to buy.. I bought 20 for a little over $20.

A few weeks after that, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and needed
something to do distract myself from my impending surgery
and while recovering. so I started making the quilted ornaments
with the names of Jesus on them that I showed you in July.

Reading the names of Jesus all those weeks was great therapy,
but when I hung them on my new slim tree
a couple of weeks ago.. I didn’t like them. 🙁

I loved reading the names of Jesus on the tree…
and I love quilts.. They just aren’t my decorating style. :-/

So I decided to make simpler, paper ones.

I bought some scrapbooking paper in my favorite colors
and a corner punch and went to work.
 The cardboard, wire and beads I had on hand.

 Judi and I both liked the glitter idea.

Here’s my new, slim, names of Jesus tree.
I found the ribbon on clearance last year too..

There are 25 different cards with over a hundred names.

I decided that I had room for a few more ornaments
and divided all our old ornaments into themes.

 I hung the ones that reminded me of Jesus on the tree.

This is one of my favorites..

Then decided to save the snowmen for January..
and make a winter wreath or garland.
There were other ornaments that I will try and have the kids
go through and donate to a thrift store next year.
 I didn’t have a tree skirt.. so I pulled this satin out of my
grandmother’s stash and wrapped it around the tree.
George had to try it out right away.
 My newly decorated tree.
Here are the jpgs if you’d like to print your own:






Trimming the Tree (Literally)

We inherited our Christmas tree from my grandmother quite a while ago.  
I am not sure how old it is, but I’ve seen baby pictures of myself 
sitting in front of it.  It’s a really nice tree..
 it’s been though several up dates since I’ve had it.
One year after the kids played chase around the tree, 
knocked the whole tree over, broke my angel and several ornaments, 
I built this kid/cat proof tree stand out of some scrap particle board 
and some plumbing parts.  Not beautiful.. but it’s so heavy it works great.
 Another year I replaced the center pole after it cracked.
And repainted the color coded ends of the branches
with dollar store fingernail polish.
Since moving to this house I’ve been admiring those new simmer trees.
My tree is so wide I normally have to take out a piece of furniture
to make room for it.  And being so wide made it look kinda straggly.
I often used  the string of lights to help support 
a couple of the bottom branches.
Mike and I went out Black Friday and looked at trees.
When I realized that most of them weren’t as nice as mine,
I asked Mike which size skinny
tree did he like the best.. 51″, 45″.. etc.  
My tree was 63″ wide.
then I did some math.. 
This is what it looked like after I used a hack saw 
to trim down the first two rows..
See how wide and straggly the bottom branches look?
And here’s my new slim tree.
I love it!  It looks much fuller and I only had to 
slide over my bench to make enough room for it.

Christmas Ornaments in July

For the last 12 years I’ve been buying the kids 
each an ornament at the after Christmas sales.  
For a while they enjoyed receiving them and hanging 
their individual ornaments on the tree, but the last couple of years 
they’ve decided that that decorating trees was a waste of time
and can’t understand why I would even buy them any. :-/
So last December, I decided that it was time to put away their ornaments 
and collect some ornaments for myself and have a more grown up tree.
I got 20 of these ornaments at Trees and Trends 80% off on New Years weekend.
I like the colors because it goes with the soft colors in my home.
I knew I wanted to make some ornaments that were centered around Jesus;
 nativities and/or had the names of Jesus on them, so I started looking ideas on how to 
make them and started studying my collection of lists of His names.
I decided to make quilted ones because I love to hand sew 
and thought they would last a long time (maybe survive the pets). 
At first, I thought I would embroider His names on them,
but quickly decided that it would be faster/easier 
to print them on the computer.
I designed 5 different styles of ornaments using Photo Shop on my computer.  
I am making 5 of each ornament shape with different names 
so that I will have 25 in all and around 150 of Jesus’ names.
The kid’s first reaction was, “They are so big.”  They are about the size of my hand.
I wanted the print to be easy to read standing a few feet from the tree.  
And I’d found so many names that I loved, so they had to be big enough to hold them all.
I’ve completed the first 5. I pieced the first 10 together before
our trip to Alaska so I could work on them on the planes.
It’s taking a lot of fiddling to decide on how to embellish them.
I am not sure I am in love with how they turned out.  It will be strange 
to see them on the tree this coming December (I hope I get them all done).
I am working on embellishing the second set of 5 now.
They are more centered around Jesus as the Lamb of God and have a little lamb 
at the bottom instead of a cross that I am trying to decide how to embellish.
 Maybe they won’t survive the pets.  🙂
 Maybe I should be looking into getting some cat/dog repellant.

Nativities Around the House

Last December, we moved into the new house and spent the month unpacking,
so this is our first year to have our nativities up.
The nativity above sits here year round.. found it at Good Will for just a few dollars.  
The tree and Journey to Bethlehem ornament are just for the season.
The manger with the piece of folded fabric lying under the tree are from 
our very first Fontanini nativity which Mike’s mom gave us along with
 the tree and gifts to take to Thailand.
Josh, then 10 months old, loved to throw things in the trash.
We didn’t notice that Baby Jesus was missing until it was too late.
We used this cloth Jesus for many years.. a happy young parenthood memory for me.

My mom got this soft nativity for my grandchildren to play with one day
 when we went to visit Courtney’s family in Lubbock last.
It’s not puppy proof, so for now it sits on our hearth room mantle.
Our original Fontanini nativity with a new Baby Jesus sits on our living room mantle.
A new set sits on the piano.
And the rest on our entryway dresser..
I got two new pieces this year when we went to Pigeon Forge with Mike’s
Parents a couple of weeks ago.  Nancy bought me a shoe maker..
and Mike got me the girl playing a harp like mine, “Chloe.”

Only problem with this location is that Georgia loves to jump on the dresser 
and knock down things from there to play with..  
When it was my shell, rock and acorn collection, I didn’t mind so much… 
But now I am not so amused.. 
The swan sitting on the water disappeared the first day it was up..
We looked everywhere for it.. 
She thinks all the decorations and Christmas tree are one giant Christmas present to her..
and she loves to share with the puppy.. who ate a cross ornament today.. 
 Hope you’re having a great weekend.

Sweet Sixteen Getaway Part 2

If you’ve never been to a Gaylord (, you should visit one.  We’ve been to the one in Dallas, too and they are impressive.  They come complete with a mini shopping mall and restaurants.  Although you don’t have to spend the night to visit, be prepared to pay for parking.  They are a great place to take a walk and pictures on a cold winter or hot summer day.

This antebellum house is restaurant.

Indoor Waterfall

The thing that motivated us to go was that we heard
that they have the best Christmas decorations.

Bigger than life nativity.

I am still getting the hang of self photographing.
Must remember not to tilt my head.

A little better.

One of the kids’ favorite words is “Haagen Dazs.”  
They love to say it with a heavy accent.
Our first time to actually try their ice cream.
I got the coffee mocha chip. It was perfect.

They had orchids growing in their trees.

We had these growing in our yard in FL.

They had a whole 30 ft Christmas tree made out of poinsettias.

Early Christmas Snow

We had our first snow our first night in the house with our furniture.
We’ve been trying not to wear shoes in the house.
Time to walk Sally.  Can you see the frame for the new neighbor’s foundation?
Snow tub.
Sally gets excited about the white stuff.
My Christmas card is up.  Our garage is full with boxes, so our cars are lined up in the driveway.
Our Christmas tree.
Happy Birthday Mom!

Much Ado About Christmas

We had a very nice Christmas this year.  
Our new camera has a remote… so we use it on a tripod to take our family photo.  We must have taken over 70 shots and I still had to photoshop two together.  It’s too hard to get six people to look at the camera at the same time.  I really need to live somewhere long enough to make a friend that  I can ask to trade family photo taking at Christmas with me.  I want someone to make us stand close together.. etc.
We opened presents on the Sunday afternoon before Christmas.. so we could enjoy our gifts on our trip.  We did have a couple of surprises this year.  If we hadn’t traded names with my sisters. we probably wouldn’t have had a gift each.. it was fun having actual gifts this year and not just checks.

I got to put one gift under the tree that no one knew who it was for or what it was.  Princess J rapped her gift the minute before we opened them… she didn’t bother to use tape.  
I took photos of our decorations because we move so much that it’s hard to remember where the decorations go in the new house.

Most of our decorations went in the music room because it was the only room we could squeeze them in.

I have a collection of little trees now.  The one on the piano was a gift from Suzanne.
The one on the dresser above I got at a garage sale for 25 cents last Christmas.. it was our only tree last year.

This one Nancy gave us when we went to Thailand so we could have a tree there.
The white nativity set I got at Good Will last year.  I keep it up all year.

Our FL house had two front doors… So I put one of my wreaths on my sunroom door.

We’ve had this nativity set for many years… I love it’s ruggedness.

Here is the wreath I kept for my one front door this year.

Mom made us this advent calendar years ago.  The kids still enjoy moving the star across the days each December.

A homeschool friend in SA made this cute snowman quilt for me.

Suzanne sent me this little tricycle potter for my birthday.. I thought the poinsettias looked perfect in there.

I was so glad to have a tree again after no tree last year.  I was smiling all of December.   A friend in FL learned a cool decorating trick from a magazine article last year that I tried out this year.  Instead of stringing the lights round and round your tree you section your tree into little pyramids and do one section at a time.  It was much easier than going round and round but I ran out of lights… I went to 7 different stores to try to find blue and white lights to finish my tree.  I ended up having to buy a strand of white and a strand of blue.  The last strand of blue didn’t flash… I still thought it looked great and it was easy to take the lights down.
Photographing the tree was difficult.  

I was sorry there wasn’t room for our tree near the fire, but it was still fun to sit and enjoy the lights for a little while before bed each night and it was the first time we had had a tree in a front window since before Princess J was born.
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