Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Tour of Our Home

Welcome to our home!  We are glad you could come for a tour.
This is the first thing you see when you walk in the door.  It is my newly painted and remodeled entry.  Hang your coat on one of the many hooks.  I hope you can stay a while.Before you come into the main part of the house, look at this cute window.  Jouster bought this for me for Christmas a few years ago.  It has it's own wall and stays up all winter...until I am sick of which point I hide it deep into a closet.
We found these old skis in the basement of our first home.  I could not resist using them as a winter decoration.  They also get hidden in the back of the closet when I am sick of cold weather.

I usually plan to get our tree up as soon as Thanksgiving is over.  This year we started decorating on the 8th.  This is how it looked outside  when we pulled out the boxes.  We were blessed that day with a light snowfall.  With Christmas music playing in the background the younger children and I were excited to get started. 
Putting up an artificial tree is no fun.  Here Squire is putting the final branches in place.  The King banned real trees years ago.  Not because of the environment...but because of safety issues.  He once saw a video of a real tree catching fire and how quickly it spread.  We've been artificial ever since.
Here is Squire.  They did a great job arranging all the branches.  I really don't like to do it because it hurts my fingers.  I've tricked the younger children into believing it is a fun part of decorating.
Duchess.  Always ready to strike a pose.

And Maiden.  Notice her choice of clothing.  Yes, it is winter here in Minnesota and she is in a sleeveless dress with bare feet.  Our old house is drafty and has some very cool spots.  She doesn't seem to notice. .

Our tree was passed down to us from my parents sometime in the 1990's.  My mom and dad had just moved to an apartment and didn't have room for it, so I asked if we could 'borrow' it for  the year.  It showed up by UPS a few days later and we've had it ever since.  I had bought it for them in 1987 when I worked at ShopKo.  I got it after Christmas when it was clearanced out for $27.50--It had been a $275.00 tree.  

Our tree is not a theme tree.  I gave up on that idea years ago.  Ours is packed with special ornaments that bring back memories to all of us.  Most of the fun in decorating the tree is looking back at our special ornaments from years past.

Every year I purchase an ornament for each of my seven children.  They all have a plastic shoe box container that holds all of theirs.  I have kept track of whose is whose by marking their names on the ornaments with a Sharpie marker along with the year.  I also have a note card taped inside the lid with a list describing each ornament and the year it was given to them.  Here are the two oldest boys' boxes.  My plan is for them to take their boxes when they move on--if they want. 

Some years I take the children to the store and let them choose their own ornaments.  I have to limit this activity because some of my children have a 'bigger is better' mentality and their boxes will get filled too quickly.  We have to make sure that their boxes can easily hold all 18 years worth of ornaments.   I chose this year's ornament (notice the small size).  Everyone got a silver star that either had hope, joy, or peace engraved on it.  
Everyone has a Precious Moments ornament for their first Christmas.  All of our birth children have a "Baby's First Christmas" and Duchess has a little girl with the year she came home on it. Her first Christmas would have been in 2002, so if anyone ever finds a Precious Moment's (girl) Baby's First Christmas Ornament anywhere...please let me know!
Here are my special childhood ornaments.  I could not get the photo to rotate so you have to look at them sideways.  I still love my naked angel the best.  The gray kitten was hand painted and given to me by my cousins, The of them being Frazzled Farmwife.  

The wreaths with the teddy bears in them were made for me by my Grandma Margaret along with the plastic canvas angel, mailbox, and the red and green ornament with eyes.  For years I kept those 'homemade' granny decorations hidden on the back of the tree--if I even put them up.  Not anymore.  Grandma's handiwork is now proudly displayed year after year.  I wish I could call her to let her know how much I appreciate the ornaments she made me, how they make me think of her, and how much I miss her every year when I pull them out.
Decorating takes more than one day.  I don't like to have anyone stop in unexpectedly during our decorating spree.  We have quite the mess of boxes, Rubbermaid tubs, glitter, fake green pine needles, and broken glass bulbs to clean up and put away before the house is presentable enough for guests.
This is my 'old stuff' display.  Not everything is old, but it looks old to me.
The tree on the bottom shelf belonged to my Grandma.  I remember admiring it every year as a child.  I was thrilled to have it given to me after she died.  The silver bowl with the handle (that really needs polishing) belonged to my mom's parents.  I fill it with vintage tinsel and old glass balls.  The elf boot was mine as a child.
This is a picture card of my mom and was sent to friends and relatives her first Christmas.  She was an adored and much anticipated child.  My grandparents were in their late 30's when she was born and the only child born to them.  I can only imagine their joy that first Christmas they were able to send out Christmas photos of their baby girl.
I love nativity sets and have a hard time saying no to unique ones I find in stores.  This is my chubby whimsical set.
And this set is my most treasured.  The King gave this to me one year for my birthday.  It has quilts and scenes carved onto all the pieces.  I could stare at this one for hours.

This is a set that reminds me of time that I had an ungrateful spirit and God had to put me in my place.  God wants us to have a grateful heart and to be thankful in all circumstances.  It is a bittersweet reminder of a time I needed to get my heart back in the right place.

This is a perfect set for a dusty bathroom.  Made out of glass clear glass it is easy for me to wash.  It is an exact replica of a set I made as a child from plaster of paris and molds for 4-H.  I finally had to throw that set out and was thrilled to find this set at a thrift shop.

I would like three more nativity sets.  One for outside (it has to be unique), a Willow Tree set, and a Fisher Price set to have set out for children to play with. 

Here's a fun idea.  I filled some old jars with red light bulbs and another with gold bells.  Did you notice our plate and cup for Santa?  We have never let our children think that Santa is real, but we have kids who like to pretend he is, so I play along.  They love it when I leave them a letter and take bites out of the cookies.  They know it's me...but they want me to do it anyway.  Do you think there's something wrong with them?
Speaking of the kids, let's go up to their rooms and check out their trees.  Here is the one in Squire and Scribe's room.  Nothing to write home about, but they like to have Christmas lights in their room at night.
 And here is Duchess and Maiden's tree.  It is a theme tree, filled with candy decorations.  I would think this tree would give them visions of sugar plums every night when they lay down to sleep.  The big guys, Jouster and Jester, had a bah humbug attitude this year and said they didn't need a tree in their room.
We are preparing ourselves for the true meaning of Christmas by reading Jotham's Journey.  There are certain candles that are lit for each week of Advent.  The younger children get to take turns lighting them so we haven't always gotten it right!  This is a great story and I read that the publisher is going to republish the next two books in the series over the next two years.  I am so excited.
Please sit down and stay a little longer.  We'd love to have you hear the next part of Jotham's Journey.  I can guarantee you will want to come back each evening to hear more!

I hope you enjoyed the tour.  Please come back soon.


  1. Lovely Tour Michelle! You are all set! I love all of you nativity sets! I wish you and your entire family a blessed Christmas! :)

  2. You have done such a wonderful job! It was fun to see.

    Mike's mom has a Native American nativty set that her boys have always teased her about. It's not so funny anymore and very wonderful that grandma has something other than a white nativity set.


  3. You are so cute!! I love your house!! It is so nice and cozy for Christmas!! And I need some pics of the girls room if you don't mind. I am redoing Kiera's room and saw the little pic of theirs, and it looks beautiful!!

  4. I have some of those same childhood ornaments. the plastic canvas mailbox and the naked girl/angel. :-)

    Merry Christmas.

  5. I loved the tour of your home...some day I am going to tour it for real!

    I love your nativity scenes. An outdoor one would be cool too.

    I still have an ornament like the one we gave you that I hang on our tree too, along with many other "oldies"! It's fun to tell the stories behind them to the kids.

    Grandma Sharon started buying the kids ornaments every year quite some time ago, it's fun to go through them every year too. I, however am not quite as organzied as you, they are just thrown into the box. I really should get them each their own box and write each years ornaments on the inside too....great idea!

  6. I LOVE the collected tree theme! That is my favorite. No theme that is not about years of collecting the meaningful ornaments. I LOVE getting them out. So do the kids.

    I also like your nativity collections!

  7. *wiping the tears*
    Beautiful.....just beautiful.

    I miss you. :(

    Love and blessings, Beckie

  8. Great tour. I loved it! I hate decorating and undecorating... the scrooge I am! But, my kids do love it!

  9. Super great tour, and isn't Christmas the best time to make memories!!! It is so easy to "clear" out some of the ornaments, and just get rid of them, but you have proved, it pays to hang on to them, and they will some day be one of those "special" ones and so glad you kept them. (us oldies know:-)
    Thanks for sharing and taking the time so we could tour your home. Happy New Year, and as always, may God continue to bless you and your family.

  10. I loved the tour. Your house looked beautiful.

    Merry Chrsitams,


I love to hear what you have to say.