Our Christmas Story

Christmas is a story book to me.  This book is bulky thick like the kind you see in museums.  You know the ones with the crinkled creamy linen-like pages all nestled & pressed together?  Its spine is deep red in hue with gold horizontal stripes trimmed acutely in an ole world black but just in the middle.  The cover is completely saturated in that same rich mahogany red but without a trace of title or author.  Its details are on the inside. Opening the story to reveal its magical wonderment is a treat.  The beauty of this tale is in us all as we take the time to collect just the proper components to compile our own family's Christmas story.  Perhaps what I love best about this ole storybook is that it's continually re-written from generation to generation.  Each new family takes a little of the past to add to the newness of the next chapter inscribed.

I wanted to be sure to document evidence of our Christmas story here in this place.  So much of writing for me is remembering, reminding and recollecting for myself and the ones I hold so very dear. And, although I don't have a place where my little girl Christmas story was documented in words, it is a memory well preserved in my adult mind.  I remember smells and just where every little thing was placed.  I remember my Mom's hand painted ornaments with little tiny bows atop each one.  I remember my porcelain ballerina in the deep wine tutu from Niederhousers.  I remember the candle sticks on the mantle and the garland on the bannister too.  Mom and Dad's stockings Mom made from Dad's old blue jeans.  I remember them.  I can even remember the way Mom looked as she wrapped gifts on the floor.  She taped every box whether it needed it or not.  These are just small excerpts from my growing up Christmas story.  It is my hope that this collection of images with words helps the boys to remember their story a little more.

This image above is one of my favorite images from this Christmas.  It is a collection of so many good things.  The "C" is the first item I purchased when we moved into the first home Kenny and I bought together.  The picture framed of the boys is the day we closed on our current home.  The church artwork is by our Eli when he was just 3 years old.  I wrote about here.  The hand painted daisy glass was done by my Mom-mommie at Girl Scouts camp when she was 11 years old.  The green sandwich glass jars were my Mom's.  She and my Mom-mommie were avid seekers of depression glass.  And, the beginning of our Christmas story is found in the lighted church.  It was given to me from Kenny's step-mom, Candy.  More lovingly known as Nana.  I love this collection together.  It resides in our kitchen. I am gifted goodness, simplicity and warmth every single time my eyes cast a gaze in this direction.  
This is the entry way into the boys' bedroom wing of our home.  The antique RCA record player was Kenny's great grandmother's.  The silver plate on its surface is the plate that Kenny's dad used as pretend steering wheel when he was a little boy.  The rocks placed in the plate are the boys' rock collection.  They love finding rocks that have cool characteristics about them.  We started a rock collection when they were just toddlers because they loved them so.  If you'll look closely you can find a rock there on the edge that looks just like an Oreo cookie.  Casey face found the turkey feather when he was 2 years old.  It sits with the rocks because they say it should.  The artwork of the boys on the wall was Kenny's Father's Day gift in 2011.  It was done drawn by Fany, a sweet 18 year old girl who we went to church with in Chattanooga.  She has never had any formal art lessons in her life.  The hand blown glass pumpkin was bought this year at a local craft festival.  I love attending this with Kenny's mom and spending time with her.  I bought it the day our nephew, Colton Scott, was born.  I love this memory so much that the pumpkin has plans to stay out all year round.  The Santa is the beginning of my Jim Shore collection.  I adore the detail in his work.  And, well, there's George, Eli and Casey's elf! He is the descendant of their Dad's elf who was also named George.  Kenny's George first lived at his Mamaw & Papaw's house.  Then moved to his Mom and Larro's house where he resides to this day.  
This is our foyer entry way.  The lighted church and home were Nana's.  She gave them to me last Christmas.  The "Cobble" cross stitch art work was the only Christmas gift I ever gave Kenny's Mamaw.  When she passed away, his Papaw gave it back to me and said he wanted me to have it.  I love looking at it and remembering how proud I was to have made something from my hands for the Mamaw Kenny loved more than anything.  It's placement in our home is very special to me.
The above tree is what I like to call our welcoming committee.  It lives in our kitchen and changes in theme from month to month.  This tree always has a Santa Claus hat for a topper.  It's ornaments are Santa enjoying all sorts of transportation from motorcycle riding to sailing a boat.  The ornaments are wooded and with a frosty gloss to them.  I also love the yarn candy canes and Christmas trees. Lastly, the silver ornaments are simple and basic symbolizing all the key elements to the Christmas season.  
Our family's Christmas story begins together.  The four of us spend the day making our home a celebration of joy in honor of Christ's birth.  We all look forward to this day with great anticipation.  There are so many special ornaments to go on our family's tree.  For example, the sparkly Santa in the center.  He was given to me by one of my students my 2nd year of teaching.  He is always the first to go on the tree.  It's tradition.  And, the boys have slowly begun their own traditions of just which ornament goes where.  Kenny and I watch on with such happiness.
So much can be said about a Christmas tree.  It's materialism is there if you let it be.  But, we don't.  Instead, our family looks at the memories collected as a reminder of our Christmas story.  Kenny has given me an ornament every year since our first year of dating in 1997.  All of these ornaments are on our family Christmas tree.  I love hanging each one and thinking about that year of us.  There is an ornament from my childhood too.  Just one.  It was given to me by my Dad-daddy.  It is one of my Mom's hand painted ornaments of a Christmas tree.  On the back, she hand painted in cursive "Estill Springs, TN"  She used to make these every year for her class, basketball players and our family.  This ornament is priceless to me.  I also have my Barbie ornament collection that my Mom-mommie started for me when I was in high school.  Ever since then, I have gotten a Barbie ornament every year to continue this tradition.  Living in a house with 3 boys, I find it only fitting that Barbie keep me company even if it is just on the tree and at Christmas time.  The Santa star has meaning to Kenny.  This star was the star that adorned the top of his Mom's Christmas tree every year when she was a little girl.  As she started a family, this same star topped her Christmas tree.  Kenny grew up with this Christmas Santa star.  In 2007, Kenny's Mom gifted him this star for his family's tree.  This meant the world to him.  Every year, Kenny takes great pride in placing the star on top of our tree.  The boys' handmade ornaments from church hang on this tree too.  These are so wonderful to pull out and put on every single year.  Hand prints and heart shaped pictures conjure up such precious little boy memories.
Hanging of the greens is a tradition in our family of 4 too.  My job is to doctor and de-tangle any bow in need from last year as well as fan out & fluff the greenery.  
I hang the lower ones and Kenny with disgruntled contorted Gumby-like capabilities great joy hangs the upstair's wreath.  This year he coerced our eldest into helping.  This is one of my favorite captured memories from this season thus far.  Eli is beginning to look more and more like his Dad.  These two are so much alike in personality.
Our Christmas story begins with a new tradition this year.  In lieu of the boys having single trees in their bedrooms, we opted to combine their ornaments and put them on one Christmas tree in their upstair's playroom.  Nana and Papaw were so kind to give us one of their trees they were not using.  When each boy was born,  Kenny and I began an ornament series collection beginning the year of their birth.  Each year Kenny and I gift them the new year's ornament.  Nana and Papaw also give them a grouping of ornaments every year as part of their Christmas gifts from them.  There are ornament gifts from Mom-mom and Larro, Tee-Tee and Tone-Tone, Ma and Pa and Mi-Mi and Jonathan too on this tree.  I cannot tell you the joy the boys have in decorating with their ornaments.  Stories are shared of which ornament they love most as well as when they remember getting that ornament.
Eli is getting so tall.  He has always loved Christmas so much.  Holidays mean something extra special to his heart in general.  This has been the case ever since he was a tee tiny little guy.  
Our Casey face is candid about Christmas.  His eyes sparkle when he talks about his ornaments.  He gets giddy with the countdown for Christmas and wants the trees lit at all times.  
This image was captured by Kenny. It simply brings tears to my eyes. Eli loves to smell his little brother's hair.  He always has.  Here, Eli is showing Casey one of his ornaments.  As Casey leans in for a closer look, Eli reaches down to sniff Casey's locks.  This memory captured with the Christmas tree as a back drop is a huge helping of our Christmas story.  It is over time that Kenny and I have combined our story books of Christmas memories past.  We don't forget the details of just who we came from during this holiday season.  Better yet, we have added in new chapters to our story book collective.  The deep red spine crackles with age as the book opens each and every year for more edits, add-ons and revisions.  
And, the story book of our Christmas grows with love as we happy our home for the celebration of our Savior's birth.  It is my hope that the boys nestle these memories inside and always look forward to taking the time to tell our their story just right.

.mac :)

{week 19: my 2 in 52}