Wednesday, December 19, 2007

More Christmas At My House

If you missed the first installment of this riveting saga, you may go here to catch up. And now, on with the second edition of my Christmas tour!
Our "skinny" Christmas tree, as my family calls it. It is a fake tree, pre-lit, which has relieved us the annual Christmas tree light fight we used to have after my husband would string lights for hours and I would casually walk through and complain that it didn't look like nearly enough lights, or that they weren't on the tree very well, etc. Notice that I never offered to do it myself. I just complained-- only I called it "helpful suggestions." He would get mad because I wasn't appreciative of his sacrifices, and it was just never a good scene. So, this pre-lit tree could have, quite possibly, saved our marriage. I miss my "real" tree scent, but I don't miss watering the stupid thing. So, it's a trade off. Besides, the Yankee Candle Mistletoe scent is darn near the real thing. Whatever works, baby. That's what I say. The tree is skinny because it had to fit in that particular corner it is in. Notice the abundance of ornaments clustered in the bottom right lower corner. This is what happens when you let the short people decorate the tree. Long ago, this would have bothered me and I would have changed it when they weren't looking. Now I think it's cute. Does this mean I am turning into a grandparent?

Some of the ornaments on our tree. It is filled with homemade ornaments, mementoes from our childhoods, gifts from grandparents, and ornaments for the different things the kids are into each year-- ballet, sports, etc. It is a very eclectic tree. These particular ornaments (the Santa and the tree) were made by my husband's 85 year old grandfather. He is a master woodcarver and amazes us all with his ability!

This picture is of two ornaments that my mom cross-stitched back in the 70's. I have the whole collection and they are very special to me. They used to hang on our tree when I was a child, now they hang on mine. Nothing brings out my sentimental feelings like Christmas! I think that could best describe my "theme" in decorating for Christmas.

My daughter made this ornament with foam balls, sequin pins and multi-colored sequins. This was the craft at her Girl Scout party last year, which I was in charge of. Thanks to Dawn at By Sun and Candlelight for this wonderful idea! The girls were able to mindlessly stick on the sequins while they talked and joked. They created beautiful patterns that suited each individual personality. We ended up with plenty of leftovers, so all my kids made sequin ornaments last year-- until I found the baby with a sequin pin in her possession and nixed the craft party at my house!

If you have bought my Christmas JOY book, then you have seen that I wrote about hosting a Christmas peppermint tea. My friend Jess asked me incredulously, "You don't really do that, do you?" Well, we usually do. This year my cohort Cindy could not do it as her husband is working two jobs-- 90 hours per week-- and she just couldn't take it on. I understood completely and since we have at her house, doing it was not going to be possible. So, next year! But I wanted to include this photograph of an easy candy cane from red and white beads and a white pipe cleaner you can make as a craft. Fun for all ages!

This was a gift to the two year old from her Aunt Paige. Aunt Paige indulges her entirely too much, probably because she saw her come into this world and they have bonded as a result. Anyway, Aunt Paige is the marketing director for Chick Fil A so she has access to such cool cow memorabilia-- though they are selling these if you would like one to add to your decor. This cow has now found a home on our piano. And there he will probably stay.

This Santa was bought for me by my stepdad when I was about 15. It was one of the first things he ever gave me after I admired it in a store. It made me feel very special that he did that. It sat in our home while I was growing up, then my mom gave it to me when I had my own family. Sentimental, remember?

And speaking of sentimental...
this piece is very special at the old Whalen house. This was the Christmas present given to me by Curt our first Christmas after we started dating in August. So, we were only four months into dating just so you don't have to figure it out. When I pulled it out of the box, I just sort of stared at it thinking, "I sure would have rather had jewelry." (Because back then I cared about jewelry.) But then he explained that these bears represented the four children we were going to have together. Well, we were practically married after he said that! I was over the moon all that day as I admired my very special gift. We were going to have four children! He said it out loud! And yes, I do know that the name of my blog is "Cheaper By The Half Dozen." So, we actually exceeded our own expectations. The thing was, we just knew we wanted a "big" family. To us, big was four kids. I tell people that we said that the night we met, and we did. To me, these bears are proof that we were planning ahead for these children.

This is a full length view of my centerpiece with the angels and you can also see the balls hanging from the chandelier. And yes, those are books in my dining room, cause what is a good meal without some reading material on hand? Actually, the dining room doubles as Curt's office when he works from home, so those are his books in there. Remember when we were trying to sell our house? Perhaps this is giving you a glimpse of why!

A centerpiece for my kitchen table as well. The candlesticks are holly, the ring was from a candle assortment my mom gave me years ago, and the striped candle was from CVS on sale after Christmas years ago. It has served me well and has appeared in various spots throughout the house through the years.

This was a little gift from my mother-in-law at Thanksgiving this year. I love it! It has each of our names and sits in the windowsill above my kitchen sink. It brightens my day as I wash dishes. Thanks Mimi!

This is our nativity scene. It sits on our computer hutch, which is in the same room with the tree. I think it is good to think about Jesus while you are on the computer. Notice the little trees I used to attempt to hide the computer speakers? Very clever. My dad made this set when he was in his ceramics phase. It is very unique and each of the pieces has jewels stuck to them that you can not see in the photo. We don't see much of my dad, so it is nice to have this part of him as part of our Christmas each year. Or odd. It depends on how I choose to look at it.

This is a little corner of our kitchen. You will see my Mistletoe candle, a cute little Santa thing I picked up at a craft show years ago, and one of my many, many Gooseberry Patch Christmas cookbooks. Love them!
And so, that's about all the showing off I have in me for today. I think all those compliments you gave me the last time went straight to my head! Actually, I realized that I didn't include my tree, which made me want to include it, which made me get on a tear with the taking of the Christmas stuff photos. My children thought I was crazy. Which is so totally normal for them that it did not stop me. Hope you enjoyed (or at least suffered through) my second and final Christmas tour. Next year I will either re-link to these posts, or maybe, just maybe, I will have a NEW HOUSE to photograph.
Send all complaints to BooMama as she got me started!
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Melody said...

Your decorations are lovely. By the way, Yankee Candle has a set of "air freshner" ornaments you can put directly on your tree to give it that real tree smell. :)

Nise' said...

Thank you for inviting me into your home. Your decorations are wonderful. I love the story about the bears your husband gave you before your were married.

Kelly said...

I loved your "whatever works, baby" comment about the Yankee Mistletoo candle, it made me laugh outloud! I didn't even put our fake little tree up this year, but I am going to stop at Hallmark at lunch and pick up a Yankee Mistletoe jar candle, since it will at least smell like I have a real tree!
Thanks again for writing your Christmas e-book, it's really helpful and real and down to earth, with lots of great ideas. And it gives great permission to relax a bit through the season!
Kelly said...


You have such a sweet and loving feel to your home and life. I loved my visit here, and hope you come visit me;0--))

Merry Christmas to you and all your lovely kids.."wow!!"

Jeannene at Love Conquers All

RealEstateGirl said...

I loved all your decorations! Especially the Christmas balls hanging over the table! Nice touch!

Enjoyed my visit!

Merry Christmas!

Ginna said...

Thanks for the tour, your decorations are beautiful! The cross-stitched ornaments sure brought back memories and made me smile.

Have a wonderful christmas!!

jodi said...

My favorite is your Chick-fil-a cow! :)

Thanks for the tour and have a great Christmas!

Charlene Kidd said...

I loved the tour. You are an inspiration with the way you get so much done with your clan. I am impressed. I decided to join the tour too.
Merry Christmas

Miss G said...

I like your little trees flanking your nativity! Thanks for "having us over"! Merry Christmas! Kelly

the160acrewoods said...

what a lovely home you have!

Org Junkie said...

Everything is just beautiful! I especially love the story of the gift from your husband. Have a wonderful Christmas Marybeth!

All the best,