When I was growing up my parent's house was always fully decorated for the holidays.
During my last years of high school and well into my late 30s helping Mom & Dad put up the decorations at their Brainard Street house was a family event.
Boxes & boxes of decorations were brought down from the attic. The "Merry Christmas" Santa Claus garland was tacked up over the archway between the living and dinning rooms. The Twinkle Tree was put on top of the TV and lights and electric candles were put in the windows. And that's just a fraction of what we put up.
I am lucky enough to have a couple of items that were once part of my mom's holiday decor. One of them used to hang over a door frame in my parent's house. Now it's hanging over one in mine.
Memories of those special December nights with my parents, sisters, and their families come flashing back every year when I hang this plastic candy garland between my living room and kitchen. It's one of the more special decorations in our living room for Christmas.
Of course. our tree is the centerpiece of our holiday decorations. It's 6ft tall and over the last few years has become a bit too small for our collection of ornaments.
Paula is the "tree person" in our house. I just don't have the patience to put it together. However, I do take my turn in hanging several ornaments that are special to me. Here's the 2014 edition of our Christmas tree.
I know there are a lot of Christmas trees around during the holidays but the one that sits in our living room is always my favorite.
We moved a small book shelf into the room to display all our "push button" decorations. These are some of Aria's favorites.
On top of it are a plush Mickey & Minnie Mouse my sister-in-law, Theresa, gave us just this year. In the middle of them is "Marty Moose" a lighted ceramic figure that once sat in my parent's house.
On the left side of the bottom shelf is a plush bear that "reads" the story of the first Christmas aloud. Paula found it, just this year, on sale at Hobby Lobby while Christmas shopping.
On the right side is a plush Goofy that talks and laughs when you press a button on his middle.
But the main "attraction" on this display is Our Disney character Christmas house band. Here's what they sound like.
The large bookshelf in the corner to the right of our TV is where my Lego Christmas display is set up. This year I've expanded my holiday collection to fill up 2 shelves.
The display consists of 6 "official" Lego models or kits, and six mini-figures. The red & green block letters are my own creation.
Sometime in the next week I will go into further details about this display in a special holiday edition of "Latest In Lego" post.
I'm really proud of the additions I've made to my Lego Christmas display. I've got a few ideas as to how I'm going to improve it for next year too.
For the first time in a while my Christmas decorating went beyond the living room. The top of my new roll- top desk provided the perfect place to set up the decorations displaced by the new items we added in the living room this year.
Here is what I've put out on my desktop.
On the far left is a wooden elf figure just like one my mom used to display on a wall shelf in our house.
The Charlie Brown display to it's right is something I've had for about 10 years. The plush Frosty The Snow Man and Professor Hinkel have also been around a while and are reminders of my mom (the animated TV special was her favorite).
But the most memorable part of this display is on the right side.
The plastic molded collection of characters from the "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer" special have been part of my Christmas display for more than a decade. But it was this Christmas when life imitated art that they became a special memory.
I've always considered these figures just a decorative display. When my granddaughter came to visit a couple of days before Christmas I showed her the Rudolph gang. I didn't know that the Rudolph animated special is one she and her mommy like to watch together at home.
When she saw Rudolph and all his friends from the North Pole she immediately wanted to touch them. I stood her up on the desk and let her pick out which ones she wanted to take into the living room to play with. She chose them all except for the "monster" (aka Abominable Snowman). She was so happy to have them to play with. Between the Tuesday before and the Friday after Christmas she would get to play with them 3 times.
I found it ironic that here were figures of the characters from the island of Misfit Toys that after 10 years of just sitting out on display during Christmas were now being played with by a child. As I said, life imitating art.
Finally, I have to head back to our living room and tell you about my proudest addition to our Christmas display this year. It's a picture frame filled showing snapshots of our family Christmas past.
Hung on the wall just to the left inside our front door this frame has a select collection of captured moments from our last 10 family Christmas celebrations.
I've had this frame sitting in my room for a couple of years. This year I figured it was time to put it to use to celebrate our family history during the holidays.
I got the pictures printed and one night during the week before Christmas, Paula and I put our creative minds to work and put the photo essay together. I even managed to write the year each picture was taken somewhere on it.
I'm proud of this display because it shows despite the many changes in each of our lives, during each Christmas we always manage to be together as a family.
So there you have a brief tour of the decorations that adorn our household this year; those that are new and those that are part of our tradition & history.
I enjoy seeing them all out again this year and how they create a special atmosphere over the last weeks of December and early January. But ironically my favorite thing to do is just turn out all the lights and watch TV by the light of Christmas Tree while being next to my sweetie.
In part 3 of this series I'll share with you what Christmas Day 2014 was like for our family at our house. See you then.