Decorating for Christmas is one of my favorite activities. Shaun and I set aside the Monday night after Thanksgiving for Family Home Evening decorating! I try to get the totes in the house and the tree set up before hand, but I realized this year that Shaun is growing up and he was actually quite helpful getting it all together.
We set up the tree (yes, I broke down a couple years back and bought a fake one). We always do white lights inside and colored outside. The best part is that we talk about our family as we set it all up. The tree skirt was a gift from my mom made for my Grandma Stokes. My mom got it back when she died and later gave it to me. The train was a gift from Shaun's Grandpa Savage and blows real smoke (once I add oil and fresh batteries). Each year of my life until my Grandma Stokes died I received an ornament from my grandparents. I also have a few from my parents. My mom made me a fabric bag to carry them all in. I have continued this tradition for Shaun and he has 9 ornaments so far (He gets his new ornament on Christmas Eve or when we celebrate Christmas, if he is with his dad). My Grandpa Stokes also made a bunch of ornaments when I was little and I have several of them. I have wooden angels and porcelain doves that are over 100 years old and little bead angels my Grandma Bishop made about 80 years ago. We have ornaments that friends and family have given us too. Pretty soon we'll need a bigger tree.
Timarie made this pink and purple polka dotted Christmas which is a family joke. My dad and aunts redid the words to "White Christmas" and it has been a family tradition since I was a kid.
My nativity was a gift from my parents. Every year Shaun asks me about the white one we used to have. It as a set that wasn't painted it was glazed and fired white, it was very pretty. When I received this set, I gave the white one to a friend who had just never gotten one. She had wanted one but had been married 10 years and had just never gotten one. It has been a bigger gift to me because each year when he asks, we talk about our friends and giving. It is really sweet.
The house is actually a music box my mom made years ago. She also painted the Santa but didn't like how it turned out, so I took it and fixed a few things and now I love it.
Our tree all done with my mom's houses around the bottom. The train track never does stay together.
When we were living at my parents house, it was over Christmas and my mom bought Shaun this tree for his very own. It is about 15" tall and has miniature ornaments. He loves it and it has become part of our decorations now. It actually plugs in but the cord isn't long enough to reach.
I guess it is so special to me because each year I get to remember all of my Christmases past, with family I have known and those who passed on long before I was even thought of. It makes me happy to know that my son will know my grandparents and his grandparents through this small mementos and one day tell his kids about his ornaments and decorations and "turn the hearts of [his] children to their fathers".