Thursday, 23 December 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things

There are too many things to do for a long post, but I thought I'd take a little time to post pictures of some of my favorite Christmas items.

I think it would come as little surprise that, like most things, my memories of Christmas are wrapped up with memories of my mom.  Mama made Christmas such a magical time.   We both loved decorating for the season.  We even took care to decorate the presents carefully so they were beautiful, also.   As I grew older, I found our that Mama made special efforts at Christmas because of her experiences when my brother Greg was small.   Money was tight since my dad was just an instructor at a junior college and then a graduate student.   She never forgot those times and she appreciated the better times as they came.

She began collecting Hallmark ornaments in the late 1970s.   At first, she only bought them at half-price on the day after Christmas.   I have memories of standing outside the Hallmark store in the mall on December 26, waiting for the doors to open.   Once I remember Mama yelling, "Run!" as I ran ahead since I could easily work my way to the front of the crowd.   No trampling back in those days, though.   Later, Mama started buying the ornaments at full price and she bought most of the ones made each year.   We would put up multiple trees, each with a different theme.   We also emptied our built-ins and made little scenes with the ornaments.   It took about a week to decorate.   I have some of my favorite old Hallmark ornaments, but my favorite ornaments are the homemade ones and vintage ones from my parents' early Christmases before I was even born.

My other favorite items are the Christmas pieces my mother painted such as this little candle box.   Mama painted the manger scene on the back.   When the candle is lit, baby Jesus' face seems to glow.   I can remember sitting and staring at this as a child.   Such a sweet picture of children paying homage to their savior.   It is one of the last items I found when we cleaned out my parents' house and I was upset when I thought I would not find it.

Another favorite is this shadow box.   Mama painted the image of Santa in his workshop on glass.   When you paint on glass, you paint on the "back" of the glass and you do the techniques in reverse.   The shelves have little miniature toys that fascinated me as a child.   I longed to take them out to play with them!

Mama painted this sweet child and tree on a wooden sled.   I can't remember a Christmas from my childhood when this wasn't hanging in our home.   I think it was painted before I was born.
Another reason it's a favorite is because it is one of the paintings Mama signed.

This is another painting she did on a small wooden sled.   She copied this image from a Christmas card and it always hung in our kitchen on the farm.   Another treasured item!

This is a cypress knee Santa.   In Louisiana, cypress trees that grow in the water have exposed root systems and the roots are called "knees."   People would cut them, dry them, and paint them as Santas or other items.   They were very popular in the 1990s and my mother wanted one.   I remember how excited I was to find this one for her Christmas present one year.

A few weeks after we were married, we found a Fontanini  nativity starter set on post-Christmas clearance.   They rarely go on sale, so we were so excited.   For several years after, instead of giving each other presents for our anniversary, we bought new pieces for our nativity.   It is a beautiful reminder of our savior's birth and it also reminds us of our first years together.

I am so thankful for so many precious memories of Christmas.   Not all of the items from my childhood are Christ-centered and some are downright secular, but they are the only physical connection we have to my parents.   My children have no living grandparents so photographs, stories, and keepsakes are the only way for them to get to know them.   I pray that I can help my children have precious memories of their own for this holy season.  

Of course, more precious than things are our beautiful gifts from God:


Merry Christmas & God bless you during this holy season!

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