Tag Archives: decorations

Tis the Season – Dec. 6, 2018

The tradition in our household since daughter was old enough to notice, was that no Christmas decorations could be put up until after her late November birthday.  She no longer lives with us, nor was she even in town on her birthday this year, but no decorations went up.  Nearly a week passed and I still wasn’t in the mood.

December is a bitter sweet month.  Both of my parents passed away in December, my mother in 1987 at only 63 years young, and my Dad just a couple of years ago.  Christmas was always a fun time for me when our children were young, as we could get them special gifts of items they desired but wouldn’t spend the money on at other times of the year.  We always had extended family for the special holiday meals, and an Open House for hubby’s staff and all the neighbors.  When our kids were grown and gone, beginning families of their own, one or more of them would come home, or we would travel to be with one of them for Christmas.  This year we will awaken on Christmas morning with no kids or grandkids in the house.  We will go to daughter’s on Christmas Eve, she will bring her kids over for Christmas dinner later on Christmas Day, and eldest son and eldest grandson will be here on the 26th.

Two days ago, I put on some Christmas music and began hauling the boxes of Santa’s and the Snow village up.  A good thorough cleaning always precedes setting it up as dusting for the next couple of weeks is onerous with dozens of Santa and Christmas gnomes adorning the book shelves, mantle, and window sills.  The Christmas towels, table cloth, throw pillows, and wall hangings were put in place.  The tiny tree of Hallmark mini’s that used to grace my office was put on the jelly cupboard and lit and I quit.

IMG_20171210_161605  IMG_20171210_161541


Today, before we get snow this weekend, we drove to the local tree farm to get a tree.  Normally we walk the hills and choose one, some have been as much as 12 feet tall as our living room in our log home can accommodate it.  There were no other cars in the lot in the early afternoon on a work and school day and we walked up to get the tag to hang on the tree we wanted, and there by the building was a beautifully shaped little 6.5 foot precut tree.  We took it, had a fresh cut on the trunk and drilled for the stand that we bought from them several years ago.  The tree was small enough to fit inside the SUV with one rear seat down.


One of the taller ones from years past.


Today’s small addition.

The house is decorated, we listened to Christmas music as we decorated it, topping it yet again with the huge Starfish that came from a cruise with youngest son  about 5 years ago.  It makes a good tree topper, a reminder of a good week with them.

And ended our day with a comfort food meal of turkey pot pie, using some of the remaining Thanksgiving turkey.

The Undoing

It takes days to decorate for Christmas and days to put it all away.  Usually, I don’t begin the undoing until New Year’s Day and do a packing away marathon, but the tree needed to go.  Daughter’s family’s indoor cats escape out into the living room every night and one of them has been intrigued with the tree.  Each morning, I have found one or more or the ornaments that were high up in the tree, on the floor beneath the tree.  We have a tradition of putting small gifts, like gift cards or notifications of a subscription in the tree.  One that I put in the tree for Captain Video (hubby’s pet name), a notification that he was getting a personalized license plate CP VDEO for his Harley was there in the tree and then it wasn’t.  Christmas morning, it was no where to be found.  Daughter saw it there before she left for Florida, but it is gone.

The tree was very thirsty at first and was taking a couple of gallons of water a day, then it just stopped drinking and the needles started raining down on the wood floor and the living room rug.  The cat’s activity was speeding that process along, and several smaller branches in the tree were broken.

It was time.  After an early appointment in town, we returned home and I collected daughter’s ornament box, my box for garlands, lights, and the starfish tree topper and tackled the removal, pack up, and clean up of the tree.

The tree once denuded of it’s ornaments and lights,  required siphoning of a gallon and a half of water from the base, removal from the house and taken out of it’s stand it was dragged down the hill to an area we can’t mow that has several Christmas tree skeletons in it.  Some years, we buy a root ball tree and plant it after Christmas, but that wasn’t an option this year with just the two of us here to deal with it and with Jim having some irritated nerve issues that we have been dealing with for the past month or so.

The living room is rearranged into it’s normal configuration, the backs of the leather furniture draped with throws as one of the cats has claws and has damaged the back of one of the couches.  The Santas, snowmen, village, linens, and wreaths will remain for another few days, and the 2 foot tree atop my jelly cupboard that is decorated with Hallmark minis, will stay up until daughter’s family returns next week as the ornaments that DIL made them are currently adorning that tree, and the gifts from eldest son’s family to daughter’s family are under that tree.


Now that Christmas is over, real winter will set in here in the mountains.  We will see fewer mild sunny days, more cold, some snow, and lots of rain.  That is the nature of winter in the Virginia mountains.

Wishing you a Happy New Year.


As the year ends

My usual routine is to take down and pack away all of the Christmas decorations on January 1.  This  year, I am flying to Florida on New Year’s Eve to help daughter load a trailer on the 2nd, and share the driving on the 3rd and 4th as we relocate her to Virginia, our house until they have sold their house in Florida, settled into new jobs here and feel ready to begin house hunting again, maybe in a year or so.  Since we will be bringing the two children, 8 and 3 with all of their indoor and outdoor toys, dressers, clothes, a few furniture items that she wanted removed from the house before it went on the market, and their 85 lb Golden Retriever, I felt it might make settling in here a bit easier if we weren’t also taking down decorations and cleaning up tree needles, so even though I was feeling a bit under the weather yesterday with a post Christmas cold, I began the process of wrapping and packing, laundering the holiday bath and table linens and boxing them.

Today, feeling less like I had been hit by a truck, I packed up the tree ornaments and lights and removed the tree from the house, vacuuming and putting the furniture back in place.  After errands and lunch, I tackled the two huge plastic boxes of Santa figures and got them wrapped and packed.  The boxes that have lived off season in one of the ground floor bedroom closets were toted down to the basement closet under the stairs as one or both grands will be living in that bedroom in a week.  I have cleaned out both bedroom closets, except for a pressure canner that needs parts, up on the top shelf in a corner and Mountaingdad’s childhood guitar that we have stored and moved ever since we married, but I have never heard him play a guitar.  I guess it too will move to the basement.

With the decorations down and having had the furnace serviced and a new filter installed on Christmas eve, the downstairs got a good dusting and vacuuming.  Those efforts have spent my energy for the day so the upstairs and rest of the laundry will just have to wait until tomorrow.

By this time next week, all three of our children with their families will have spent a couple of nights with us in the past two weeks.  What a great way to end a year.

Tis’ the Season

We are but a week from Christmas and the house is just today finally decorated.  When we had kids or a grand in the house, I was always anxious to get the decorations up, but this year the spirit has been lacking.  After Thanksgiving, I did unwrap my collection of Tom Clark gnomes and Santa gnomes, put up the two foot artificial tree with the Hallmark mini ornaments that used to adorn my office when I worked and pulled out the quilted and cross stitched wall hangings that my very talented sister in law and step mom had made for us years ago.  Then I stalled.  There was no Christmas music in the house, we weren’t listening to it in the car.  The CD player took a power surge sometime after Christmas last year and quit, I changed to an Iphone with only 4 g memory and it is full of my non Christmas music, we don’t have a radio in the house except one that gets weather stations and emergency info, so no way to play the Christmas CDs.  Today we finally decided to go out to get a tree and run some other errand and while I was in a store, Mountaingdad found the radio station that plays all Christmas music this time of year and I began to feel some spirit.  The same SIL and step mom over the years had also given us a collection of cross stitched and quilted ornaments.  Before we moved to the mountains, we had a 5 foot artificial feather tree that I decorated in the den with all of those ornaments given to us and our kids.  Two of the kids have taken their box of ornaments, the third one is stored here and for the past several years, I have tried different ways to display those beautiful hand crafted gifts.  The first year, I draped the loft railing with cut pine swag and hung them from that.  The next year, I bought a vine swag and hung them from it, then left the vine swag up year round, changing the bows securing it to the railing with seasonal bows.  Last year after Christmas, it was taken down as it had gotten so dusty and covered with dog hair that it no longer was attractive.  While visiting family last week, I mentioned to step mom that I was thinking of getting a huge wreath and putting them on it.  She asked why I don’t just get an artificial one and secure the ornaments well enough that the whole thing can be taken down after Christmas and put in a big plastic bag to store it until next year.  Today, I did just that.  We bought a huge wreath, a spool of red, green and gold plaid ribbon to make a bow and once home, I secured the ornaments to the wreath and fashioned a large bow.


It was hung on the center post of the loft this afternoon.  While we were out, we went to one of the local tree farms and selected an 8 1/2 foot tree and a new stand as our old one had the screw in pins that had become so bent they wouldn’t hold up the tree.

A walk on a chilly day to pick the right one.

Waiting for the tree to be cut and taken to the car.
Home, in the stand and watered.

Each year since we met in 1977, we have bought an ornament for our tree.  Sometimes they are Hallmark ornaments, but in recent years, they more likely represent a trip we have made or are hand crafted wood, pottery or metal.  The years that one of our children were born, a baby’s first was also added and we have been given a dozen or so by parents or grown kids since then.  The tree decorating was always a family affair and as it is just the two of us now, we joined together to get the tree decorated, joking about a few ornaments that one of us doesn’t like and where it will go on the tree.  There are ancient strands of candy cane yarn roping that always results in a joking playful fuss.  The lighted tree top star failed last year and we had returned from a cruise with Son #2 and family with a huge dried starfish.  That became our new tree topper and was used again this year.


While preparing to get the decorations up today, I remembered that I could play the CDs on my laptop plugged in to my speaker that I bought to play music from the phone, so we had Christmas music!  I even unpacked the rest of my Santa collection for the first time in several years.  The house is decorated, awaiting Son#1 and family sometime next week to have Christmas dinner with us on the eve, a turkey and ham purchased today, and to be here for Christmas morning.  The decorations will remain up for the grands from Florida to see when we arrive here on January 2nd or 3rd from helping them move.  Daughter and I will pack them away after the first of the year.  I finally have some spirit, but I still don’t know what Mountaingdad is getting for Christmas this year.