We bought a taller Frasier Fir this year than we did in 2010. We didn't realize it until we brought it home and it looked huge in our tiny living room. We call it our Whoville tree because it leans a little bit to the right, has a pretty big hole in the bottom, and the star won't stand up straight. I love it anyway.
We don't have a theme for our tree. It is a collection of ornaments from our childhoods, our travels and our new family traditions. Growing up, I got ornaments each year from my grandparents, and I also got a new Chrismon on Christmas Eve service at our church. Aaron got a Precious Moments ornament each Christmas. Both are so much fun to take out each year; we love telling the stories associated with each of our old ornaments.
Some of our ornaments are new; we have a few Husker ornaments, of course, from our time at UNL, and we also got several ornaments from our wedding two Decembers ago. Though I'm not a blonde, one of my favorites is the one pictured below. Last Christmas, they fell down and the bride literally broke her crown. You can see in the picture the sharp ridge where the gold crown used to sit.
One of my favorite parts of our Christmas tree is getting our new ornaments. Each year, we pick an ornament symbolic of the year to add to our tree. In 2010, we picked an alligator to represent our move to Florida. This year, we picked a nest to symbolize our growing family. I'm sure next year we'll get a few "Baby's First Christmas" ornaments!
I love our green stockings. I don't know if we'll use the same ones on our mantel next year, because we didn't make any more and we'll need another stocking next year, but I know we'll find a place for them in the future. They are just so fun and bright.
I feel like living in a warmer climate has changed my Christmas decorating style. I don't use a lot of dark reds or greens or have much of anything in that color. For instance, my Christmas village:
I love my mom's vintage Putz houses, and though none of these are originals, I think they are so fun and quirky. This will be a collection I hope to grow over time.
I'll end this little tour with my favorite Christmas possession. When I was a little girl, my parents bought me this tin nativity. Each Christmas season, I would set the nativity up in a prominent place in my room and proudly display it. I took it to college and did the same thing at Christmastime, and now, the nativity is with me in Tallahassee. When I was younger, I wished for shepherds to go with the set, and I always had difficulty using the metal peg in the back to stand up the tin people. They fell down daily, and I would always painstakingly arrange them again, hoping they'd stay upright. I would beg my mom to not put away the nativity with the rest of the Christmas decorations, but to no avail. They would get packed away for another 11 months, only to be opened with joy again the following year.
Perhaps that is why decorating my home at Christmas means so much to me. It's certainly not necessary to have a tree or ornaments or anything, but once a year, to celebrate one of the most joyous seasons of the year, I want to open the boxes that have been packed away and experience a renewed sense of joy in the season. They are just things, but to me, they are indicators of the joy of Christmas, Christ himself, and the memories of spending time with those we love and cherish.