Thursday, December 22

{phfr} Christmas 2011

Traditions. Everybody's got 'em. Every family makes them, changes them, adds them, or alters them. They can be as simple as one kiss under the mistletoe at midnight, and they can be as elaborate as the entire family decorates the house and tree together (well, that's about as extensive as I can think, but I'm sure it can get moreso).

In all the hustle and bustle of trying to get things nice and pretty for Christmas, I've largely forgotten to slow down, stop even, and actually enjoy the beauty and the traditions in place.

Yes, there is a lamppost in the living room. And a tall cane that is our "shepherd's crook" (and light switch reacher for under the tree).

Enter {pretty, happy, funny, real} from Like Mother, Like Daughter. (It helped that I recently reread some of my older posts, including my first {phfr}. Thank you for starting and continuing the series!!!!!)

So, let me show you some of the things that, when I slow down, add to the peace and joy in my house, and let me introduce you to a tradition or two.

This year things have been hectic, that's normal, but I've been trying harder to make the house more festive. I got the tree up the first weekend of December (whew!) and lights followed a few days later. Eventually ornaments were added, just the sentimental ones and a few sparkly others. But the fun really started with this:

and this:

It's hard to see, but there is a star on top. I should have gotten a slightly different angle...or just moved the tree lights glasses. Ah well.
Introducing...the Promise Tree. Every year, for as long as I can remember, Mama set up a decoration we call the Promise Tree. Sort of an Advent calendar type of thing. It started as a flat bit of felt, cut out like a tree, stuck to the wall. And every day from December 1st to 25th, we would open a small jewelry box, a little present, that hung under the tree. Each present held a verse from the Bible, usually a promise God made or a verse about Jesus specifically. And there were also ornaments for the tree in each box.

Over the years, Mama has improved that flat tree into our current 3-D version (and without the glasses, too!). The boxes have been replaced with small Christmas gift bags, which are currently tucked away under the coffee table. And all these years Mom has been the one to set up the Promise Tree. Until the last couple of years, when her health went down and she wasn't able to. The rest of us were just treading water as it were and didn't have the time or energy to set up the little tree.

But this year, this year Mama and I set it up together. (Triumph. ...!) I got the fixin's down and she told me how to start. Once the ball was rolling, we had it set up enough to start in time for December 1st.

Inside the box with the Promise Tree was the wreath of red bells. Mama liked it and wanted it set up, so, together, she and I decided where and fine tuned it. Add to that an old, green garland that was also in the box, a whole bunch of tape, and a curly ribbon bow I found, and we ended up with this above the mantle:

Which led to adding garlands elsewhere (though one fell down completely and another keeps dropping one corner) and just generally trying to festivize up the house instead of sticking with the bare minimum (the big tree). The bare minimum is still nice, don't get me wrong, but a little more here and a touch there make the whole house happier...if I can slow down and de-stress enough to enjoy it.

{pretty} and {happy}

Then, on to the Christmas tree, it's still {pretty} and {happy} and I have a {funny}

An adjusted tradition, I used to put cards on the front door, but as that's not part of the living room anymore, I've been putting them on the tree as more decoration there. A nice little reminder of the folks who send greetings and well wishes every time we look at the centerpiece of the room.

My {funny}, the result of Black Friday shopping at the mall with the Disney store. I bought this entirely for myself.

And, for a last laugh, my {real}. My scarecrows that I bought a little after Halloween...are still up, in the bookend vases around my favorite books.

Merry Christmas, everyone. And have a happy New Years!

round button chicken


  1. Merry Christmas! Tinsel and lights just make life better, don't they? I'm always a little sad to have to take them down. My folks have to make me do it. ;)

  2. The promise tree is wonderful. What a gift you could put it up this year with your mama and then think to share it with us. God bless and have a joyous Christmas!

  3. I always like how the lights glow in a dark room especially.

    Thank you, Bethanne. That means a lot.

  4. Thanks for joining! I love that you carried out that tradition with your mom. So sweet.
    Merry Christmas!