I wish I had known that our first Christmas in a house would be our last. I had fun decorating for Christmas in 2007, but would have taken it all in more and enjoyed it more had I known what I know now. For the past two years our Christmas decorating has been the bare minimum. Stockings and a tree. Partly because it was a lot of work to get it all together and our kids didn't even really know what was going on or care and the other part was the fact that our apartment is small and there aren't a lot of options or space for decorating.
Last year was Jack's first Christmas to really get into things and boy did he get into them. He has talked about Christmas and Santa Claus (which I'll share about in my next post) every month of 2010. He LOVES this season, so this year I decided to ramp things up a bit. It's mostly homemade things, but it has made our apartment feel festive and special this holiday.
It's our little tradition for Freddy T. and Jack to go out and get our tree. I'm sure next year Elliott will join them, maybe Lillie too, but this year it was the two originals. They had to walk a few blocks to get to a tree stand and then haul whatever they bought back home. My jaw dropped when I saw our tree out in our hallway all wrapped up. It was so tall! I could tell it was a big one. I can't imagine how heavy it was for Freddy T. to carry it home. He said Jack kept saying, "You can do it Daddy! You're almost there!" We brought it in and got it set up and it is in fact the biggest tree we've ever owned. But it is a beautiful one! We put lights on the first night we had it and then the next day I, along with all 3 kids, put the ornaments up. It was thankfully an enjoyable experience considering I was braced for the worse. Last year we had a gate around the tree to keep little hands off of it. Since then I've sold the gate, so this year there has been a lot of "don't' touch the tree" and "no, no!" I think Lillie and Elliott think ornaments are called "no, nos!"
Enjoy a little tour of our decorations.
First some decorating action!
Elliott checking things out.
Jack adding a few ornaments.
About half way through I heard Elliott saying "Mommy! Mommy!," when I went to find him he had crawled up in Jack's bed with his paci and blanket and covered up and said "night, night!"
Since Jack had to take it easy, due to his arm, he said he could be the ornament passer outer!
Now for a tour of ornaments.
These next few are little ornaments we were given from different countries and the globe has "For God so loved the world" from John 3:16 written on it. I look forward to adding more little tokens from people who have visited other countries or served as missionaries there and sharing them with our kids. We want them to be mission minded people.
From the Clayton's who served in Mexico.
From Hannah, Freddy T.'s cousin,when she took a trip to Russia.
These two are "just married" ornaments from 2004.
This one if from the year I was pregnant with Jack. It is one of my favorite ones on our tree.
This is for Lillie's 1st Christmas. Elliott had one and Jack broke it on Christmas morning 2008. I think my mom has a replacement for me, but it's in TN still. I didn't even put it out last year because it didn't feel fair for Lillie to have one and not Elliott. This year I got over it. Maybe next year I'll have Elliott's from TN to put with it. I just need to think about it before the tree goes up!
Here is our tribute to New York City. We got the "city" ornament in 2004 after we had served up here as church planting interns. The taxi is from 2008. It was our first Christmas in NYC and Jack was into taxis pretty good. He was even one for Halloween that year.
And we have this taxi ornament too. This year it is one of Lillie and Elliott's favorite. They look at it and say "car!"
The year I was pregnant with Jack I was also teaching 8th grade and one of my students (who I think actually reads this blog still) gave me this ornament. I really love it!
And then we got a new one to represent our family as it was Christmas 2008, with Lillie and Elliott.
A student of mine in 2006 had this little ornament as part of the bow on the gift he gave me for Christmas the year Jack was due. I let Jack hang this one and if you look closely you can see how he chose to hang most of the ornaments he hung this year... on a light bulb instead of a branch!
I love this cross. It's small, but beautiful and it's because the birth of Jesus and his death on the cross that we even have a reason to celebrate Christmas.
And finally, after several years of looking for a tree topper that I liked and having no luck, I decided last year to let Jack make our star. I hope it lasts a long time! Today he actually informed me that he didn't like that star, that special stars were yellow and we needed a special star.
And for a few other decorations around our apartment.
I added this "real" wreath to the window in our living room and then put one on our front door. There are only 2 apartments on our floor and the other one is vacant, so we are the only ones who get to enjoy it, but it's fun to have it up and it smells so good!
Here's the tree and the stockings. Mine and Freddy T.'s stockings are hanging behind the tree, you just can't see them.
And finally I let the teacher come out of me and the kids and I made hand print wreaths. They are hanging in the doorway to our kitchen. I think it might be my favorite decoration of the year.
I have one more decoration I've been working on for a few days. I'll share it with you tomorrow, along with a funny story about Jack and Santa Claus!