Monday, December 12, 2011

   Thank you, Clydia, so much for inviting me to share about my family's Christmas traditions and decorations. I hope to share my heart of wanting to make this month fun but still focused on Jesus and maybe even inspire some new traditions in your family!  I also have to give some love to my daughter, Natalie of The Lime Lens, for taking most of the photos you will see in this post. 

 I have to be honest, when she first approached me I was just so excited to get started.  When I actually started to prepare the photos, ideas, and etc...I began to get a bit of the Christmas blues.  I honestly am content and love living to in NC about 98% of the time, but then the holidays approach and I am reminded again of the many traditions, parties, decorations, church activities, and family events we will be missing.  I had to remind myself that "living to seas the moment" really means I have to grab hold of what I have to work with and make it fun!  I am blessed to have such a beautifully furnished and decorated home to live in here at the beach.  The following pictures show how I completely left my idea of a picture perfect green and red Christmas in OK and expanded my ideas to include our color scheme here in NC.  I am pleased with the results and have actually enjoyed the more less is more approach of decorating.  By the time I was finished with my post, I had my focus back where it belonged, on Jesus.  Thanks for stopping by!





This is the view when looking up at the entrance of our house. 


This anchor, as well as the other elements on this and the banister, were on the tree for the first two Christmas seasons in NC.  My daughters let me know this year that they would really like to get a more traditional look so I just used those elements on these areas instead.


The banister was fun to decorate.  I have wanted a banister to decorate for a long time, so I really enjoy the finished results!
The Flamingos.  My family is divided about these birds.  Half of us like the birds the other half, not so much.  I happen to be on the " I like them side of it" so I decided they needed a little Christmas fun...


Now, isn't that better? Their heads will stay warm while keeping our hats ready to grab as we run out the door.  Much more festive looking too, don't you think?  




I made the peacock ornaments last year after seeing them used in many Christmas decorations.  This year I just added some of the bulbs we didn't use on the tree.  This light fixture hangs in the formal dining room, which gets used at least 5 nights a week. 
This year we added color to our tree and a few personal ornaments we have picked up in the past two years.  Our OK tree is full of tradition as we have added at least one ornament each year since Superman and I met when we were 15 years old.  We picked these colorful bulbs up in a big pack at Sam's club which made for quick decorating.  A star on top perfects the tree.

The bell hanging on the bottom branch is for our dog, Lulu, to ring.  She just loves to use her paw to ring "her" bell each Christmas.  She started this a few years ago after we hung bells we rang at a December wedding, when the bride and groom made their exit, on the bottom branches of our tree.  It is also a great way to know if she or any small children are close to the tree.

 




 Meet Presley! He has come to live at our house this year after I saw so many cute pictures on Pinterest.  I really didn't know exactly what The Elf on the Shelf concept was but was looking for new traditions in our new home so I grabbed him up at a Hallmark store and began to search for ways to make some fun.  My family was a bit apprehensive when he first sat around but after his first "appearance", they quickly changed their minds and love having a new family member.











Presley was welcomed with open arms when he brought a little something for my Sunshine gal as the rest of the family knew their turn was coming!  I thought of the scripture a day idea after seeing a list of scriptures to read each day, every day in the month of December.  I have to admit, I have missed a few days but am trying to be diligent with our newest tradition. 





Now, to answer a few of the questions Clydia asked me to answer....



Do you travel or stay home for Christmas?  My husband and I grew up traveling for the holidays.  We decided early on in our marriage that we would not do the same with our own children.  It was such a rush to hurry up and open gifts then get out the door to travel to a distant home for the rest of the day which left little time to actually enjoy the day.   So, we were firm but polite with our parents that we would have Christmas morning at our home once we had our own children.  The beauty of this has been that we also invited anyone and everyone in our families to join us.  In the past we have had as many as 20 or more in our home for Christmas day!  I truly love a houseful!!!  At least twice we have traveled right after Christmas to CO to be with my Grams and this year we are still trying to make the decision to stay in NC or travel to OK.  The key to a happy family?  flexibility!



What is your favorite dessert and who makes it?  Cheese cake! and usually my oldest daughter makes it.  My youngest daughter and I usually find a new recipe to try and she makes it.  We all work together to decorate a gingerbread house.  It is an important part of the decor and so much fun to make.  Our secret?  Buy tons of extra icing and candy at the dollar store, what comes with the kit is never enough. 



What is your favorite tradition?  We have many and since moving to NC they have almost all changed!  In OK we have Christmas plates which come out the first day of December and are used the entire month for every meal.  I always feel that if you have it you should use it and not wait for that "special" occasion.  My favorite "new" tradition which I have been able to continue here in our beach home is a themed Christmas meal.  In the past, I would make the turkey dinner just like we made at Thanksgiving simply because Superman loves turkey.  As my kids were getting older I decided I was tired of being in the kitchen all day either cooking or cleaning, I wanted to spend the day with them not with the food.   We decided to chose an ethnic meal instead, allowing for much of the work to be done in advance.  We have had Mexican, Italian, and our new favorite, Carolina Christmas from Southern Living Christmas magazine. 





Thank you again, Clydia, for allowing me to be your guest today!  I hope you will all leave her a sweet note and find time to drop by my blog someday too!



As you celebrate this year, remember

It's not what is under the tree, but Who hung on the tree"



Merry Christmas!!!





Just had to share one last pic.  These are my girls and their friend, Tyler, who dropped by Saturday for some homemade lasagna and to help make the gingerbread house.  You can barely see on the side of the house next to Tyler they spelled out "Jesus".  This blessed me as they came up with it all on their own.  Jesus the Reason for the Season!
 
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