Thursday, December 20, 2018

The beauty and hope of Christmas

Hello, all... It's almost winter! According to official sources, winter begins Friday, December 21st at  5:23 PM Eastern time... Do you have snow in your part of the world? It's not looking like we'll have a white Christmas here in western Pennsylvania (in fact, it's pouring rain as I write this!), but that's okay. I'm just happy because I'll have all of my kids home for the holidays--the very best present a mother could ask for, don't you think? My oldest son and daughter-in-law are up visiting my mom for the weekend after flying in from San Diego this evening. Then they'll drive down to be with us (for a whole week!) on Sunday. Can't wait to see them as it's been 3 months. My youngest arrives tomorrow (I don't envy him that drive from up from Washington, DC in holiday traffic!) and my middle lives nearby so we'll be all set!

Of course, with everyone coming, I've spent a bit more time trying to make the house extra festive. Do you do that, too? I truly enjoy puttering around my home and prettying up spaces with lots of lights and Christmas colors. My tree is up and I love the soft light it casts on our sunroom at night. This is the same tree I've shown on my blog for almost ten years--it just keeps getting more ornaments piled on! To tell you the truth, it was a bit difficult to find room for my newest twelve. You see, this isn't just a stitching tree--I have an eclectic group of ornaments on it. From little things the boys created in school, to some vintage ornaments from my mother-in-law, to the Hallmark ornaments I gave the boys each year as they were growing up--they are all included. It also has ornaments from the various places we've traveled to over the years--I try to pick up an ornament at each destination. So, here are some Christmas tree photos--both from a distance and close-up, day and night...

2018 Christmas Tree

The Praire Schooler Santas seem to be having a meeting! I wonder what they are planning?

Lots of chubby white snowmen!

Bows, cording, and ribbons really add to the finishes

I put the smaller ornaments at the very top of the tree

Some of my very favorites!

At night it is still lovely, although the ornaments don't show up as well (the ones stitched on black look a bit like "black holes" from a distance, don't they?)...

The tree at night with the "black-hole" ornaments :)

But, up close they are so very pretty!

So many Santas and snowmen with a little sheep in the mix!

One final look at my tree for this year...

A new addition to my Christmas decor is this sweet tartan plaid village that I fell in love with at Hallmark...

I display them on the sideboard in our kitchen eating area.

I've had the best time gathering small accessories like the little red truck, the plaid packages, and a tiny snowman.

Here is the lovely church sitting behind a "pond" my husband cut from an old mirror. I drew the kidney bean shape on it and he cut it out with his special glass cutters!

Here is the charming cottage with its crooked chimney! It wasn't supposed to be like that, but rather than return it, I kept it as it is so whimsical.

The houses light up as do the little white trees that I bought at Target and decorated them with red plaid bows and glass ornaments. My son says I need more "snow" scattered about--he's right! I'm just afraid what might happen if someone sneezes!

I think the church is my favorite... I can almost hear the carols drifting out from the candlelight service!

And just look at these cuties that I found while cleaning out the Christmas bins in the attic! I had forgotten all about the pixie elves and carolers that my mother-in-law gave me in a bag of vintage ornaments when we were first married. At the time we had no display space in our small apartment, so I put them in the bottom of the Christmas storage box where they remained for the next 41 years! I was so excited to find them as I now have the perfect place to display them--right on the middle shelf of my kitchen corner cupboard!  I've included another vintage favorite in my collage--the Rushton Santa from the fifties that was a childhood toy. His clothing has disappeared except for his red longjohns--and in spite of the creepy look on his plastic face, I adore this guy!

The little figurines have such perfect complexions due to being hidden in the attic for 40+ years! I guarantee if they had been on display when my sons were growing up, they would be nursing a broken leg or arm!

My Nativity set was given to me by my dear mother during my early years of marriage. It is a simple wood-carved set handcrafted in the mountains of Italy. I so treasure it and it wouldn't be Christmas without it on display.

My treasured Nativity set from my dear mother

A wish for you... When I was driving home from getting my hair cut last month on a hilly, winding road, something caught my attention out of the corner of my eye. I slowed down and gasped out loud when I realized it was an albino deer standing quietly in the snow at the side of the road. Totally white with small antlers sprouting from his head, he was almost mythical looking. How I wish I could have stopped to take a photo, but, as I mentioned, I was on a steep hill during a snow storm--not ideal conditions for stopping my car. I slowly drove on and watched from my rear view mirror as the buck carefully crossed the road and I said a silent prayer for his safety. Although there is no photo, I know I will forever remember that moment--it was that special... May your Christmas be filled with equally special moments and memories, my friends--the kind you will never forget. Thank you for visiting with me today--I'm so glad you stopped by. Bye for now...

Enjoy the magic that is Christmas!


Joyce said...

Carol your tree is beautiful, your stitching and finishing is perfect.
Enjoy having your sons home for the holidays.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family.


Katrina said...

Merry Christmas Carol - thank you for sharing your beautiful tree and all of your gorgeous stitching not only for Christmas but all year round. Your new village is adorable too! Have a wonderful time celebrating with your family and best wishes for the New Year xx Katrina

Cathy H. said...

Oh, your tree is gorgeous and the plaid village is wonderful! I know you were excited to find your vintage decorations in your attic! Vintage ornaments are such treasures! I was blessed this year to find my grandmother's Shiny Brite ornaments. My mom displayed them every year, but after her death three years ago we've not been able to find them. But, this year I did!! So excited!

Robin in Virginia said...

Carol, your tree is simply stunning. I would spend my time looking at each of the ornaments (and probably making an ornament list). What a cool plaid little village you found! Your Nativity is gorgeous. Wishing you and your family a Joyous Christmas!

Cindy said...

How wonderful to have all of your boys at home for Christmas! I will too! Your tree is so pretty and so is the little village pieces. Have a wonderful time with your family, Carol. marry Christmas to you all!

Meg said...

Carol, your tree is stunning! There is always room for one more ornament! (Or twelve...) Maybe in 10 years you and I both will have to consider putting up a second tree just for our cross-stitch ornaments.

What a sight that deer must have been!

I’m so glad your sons will all be home. Wishing you a warm and wonderful Christmas!

Sandra said...

That's a very impressive tree, Carol! It's so tall and you have the necessary space to fit it in! I love the plaid village, especially when the lights are on! The church is beautiful and yes, I can hear the carols too!
Have a wonderful Christmas with your family!

Gabi said...

What a wonderful tree and a lovely Christmas decoration. Very impressive.
Was it a sign to see that albino deer?
Have a happy and merry Christmas with your family.

Ele said...

Your tree is so beautiful! Have a wonderful holiday season

Irene said...

wow Carol, che meraviglia!! Un felice Natale a te e alla tua famiglia!

Manuela said...

Hello Carol,
Merry Christmas to you and your family.
Thanks for sharing all the photos from your christmas tree. The tree is amazing with all the ornaments. I like it very much.
I thing you have a wonderful christmas with your sons and your daughter-in-law.
Hugs, Manuela

Marilyn said...

As always, your tree is breathtaking!!
Love the Plaid village.
I have those same ceramic carolers, they are treasures, for sure!
Thanks for sharing the beautiful pics of your decorations.
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

maxi said...

Hello Carol,
merry christmas for you and your family
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Happy stitching

Pamela said...

Gorgeous tree!

Beca said...

You have a beautiful tree. The handmade ornaments are a special addition. I enjoyed viewing your Christmas decorations. I'm glad your house will be full this Christmas with all of your children present. Many blessings to you and yours.
xx Beca

AnaCristina said...

Ohhh I love your Christmas Tree!!! It´s so wonderful!
I live in don´t have snow.
Specially in my city the temperature is very high in this time of the year: 34º C during the day and 29º C at nigth. Very hot!

Thank you for sharing your home with us!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

P.S.: and sorry because English is not my language. But I love study English and I love the north american culture.

Kay said...

Your tree is beautiful. I too will be having all of my children home this year, my eldest is flying in from Belfast tomorrow, it will make it extra special. Happy Christmas. x

Mary @ Neat and Tidy said...

Your tree is just gorgeous as well as all your decorating. Thank you for sharing and for all the blog posts this year. It's always the highlight of my morning to see a new post from you. Merriest of Christmases to you; so glad you have the family together this year.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas! & Happy Winter Solstice! to you and your family! I can only imagine how happy you must be to have your family all home with you this holiday season - what a special joy for all of you! Your Christmas tree is so beautiful - it truly is an amazing and very wonderful treasure in your home. Thank you so much for sharing the pictures with us. I know we all look forward to getting the chance to see it.
Thank you, too, for sharing the red plaid Hallmark village - it is so charming! Best wishes to all of you for a joyful and very happy holiday season.

Love & hugs to all!

Barb R.

Kate said...

Your décor is beautiful, Carol. Looks like you're going to need a bigger tree or another one. :)

Jutta said...

Your Christmas tree is a dream, it could be in a decorative magazine on the title page, in german: sooooo schööööön!!!!!!!
I also like the little village, how lovingly you decorated everything.
The vintage decoration is great and reminds me of my own childhood, your crib could also stand here in Germany in a living room.
I am glad that you can all see each other at Christmas and celebrate together.
I wish you a Merry Christmas, Jutta

Karen said...

Oh Carol, your tree is stunning! Like you, my husband and I like to buy an ornament when we travel. It will be a wonderful holiday with all your sons and daughter-in-law there. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Stasi said...

Carol, there are not enough adjectives to describe your is stupendous!!! I will have to go back when things calm down and examine each ornament shown more closely. The plaid village is precious and you have it displayed perfectly.
Enjoy your three sons...I know you will...and hope you have a Merry Christmas and blessed New Year!
PS I agree with may need a second tree if you keep this up!!! :)

Katie said...

Carol I'm so happy to hear all your kids will be home. Truly a wonderful Christmas indeed. I just LOVE your tree. How gorgeous! I also love your decorations. I love Christmas decorations too. Some here and there. Just perfect. Never a dark spot when the lights are all on. Wow an albino deer. I have seen some photos but never in person. So beautiful. Nature is amazing. I wish you a very Merry Christmas and the happiest of new years.

LoriU said...

Merry Christmas Carol! Your tree is lovely! Maybe think about to make more space for your cross stitched ornaments, you could give your sons each of their Hallmark ornaments for their trees now that they are 'on their own'!

LOVE LOVE the plaid village!! How did I not see that at Hallmark!!

Wishing you a wonderful holiday with your family!

Vickie said...

Oh Carol, my heart filled with joy knowing you will have all three boys home for Christmas!!! Fantastic! Oh yes and Olivia! I am so happy for you. Your tree is positively bursting with beauty. The new village is just adorable. Love it! And your nativity is very special indeed. What a sight that albino buck was! Merry Christmas my friend!!

Mary said...

Carol, Your tree is jaw dropping beautiful!!! It is truly majestic and what an inspiration to see.
I love your new Hallmark Village and your creche is beautiful. What fun to find things your MIL gave you that have been hidden away. Those elves look so 50's to me!

The best part of your Christmas will be spending it with your family and making new memories.

Loved your Christmas post and wish you and yours a very Blessed Christmas and Happy and Healthy New Year. Mary

Sherri said...

Oh, I love your tree this and every year. I think decorating it would be so much fun and something you’d see in a Hallmark move.�� That is the fun part of decorating your tree, remembering so many memories as you place each ornament on the tree. Have a Merry Christmas with your family!

Ann at Beadlework. said...

I do like your village Carol and your tree is just lovely. The story of the deer gave me goosebumps.
Take care and have a lovely Christmas - enjoy having your boys and their families with you.

butterfly said...

I love this time of the year , when you show all your Christmas stitching .

Always so beautiful ,love the wonderful village too, so pretty.

Christmas Blessings to you and your family ,

Sandy said...

Everything is just perfect. I love your little village and that Nativity is amazing. I am so glad you have all your sons together. As they get older, I know it will be harder. Have a wonderful Christmas. That little deer is just a reminder to look for the magic in day to day life.
Merry Christmas!

Wanda McColl said...

Merry Christmas Carol, to you and your family!!! Thanks as always for showing your spectacular tree. It is such a work of art, memories and love with all your stitching and treasures collected over the years. This is what Christmas trees are to me - collections of memories that all come out at Christmas and look amazing!
I spent some time looking at your ornament parades from past years. Your tree just gets more beautiful each year. It's amazing how twelve ornaments a year adds up.
I love your new village. I can imagine the fun you had gathering things for your village.
We have had Christmas at our house for my side of the family already and will be having for hubby's side this Sunday. On Monday my younger sister will come and stay for a few days.
Wishing you a wonderful Christmas with all the boys and your daughter-in-law with you - what a gift in itself!

Barbara said...

This is the most perfect blog post for Christmas! I enjoyed the crooked chimney, the elves, the old Santa, and of course, of course, of course (yes, 3X!) all of the cross stitched Santas.

Have a wonderful Christmas with your family!

Susan Lankford said...

What a gorgeous tree and I really love the tartan red village! Merry Christmas, Carol


Aurelia Eglantine said...

I love your Christmas tree with all those beautiful stitched ornaments! Your new plaid village is so cute, I think the crooked chimney is charming too :) It was wonderful to read about your Christmas memories, I love seeing vintage decorations and ornaments. The white deer sounds like a beautiful omen and hopefully it will bring you luck in 2019. Best wishes for a Very Merry Christmas and a Wonderful New Year!

Shelly said...

So nice that the boys and DIL will be home for Christmas! I still call my younger brothers 'boys' because I'm 6 and 8 years older than them. I'm not sure they know I call them that though! That tree is gorgeous as always as is the nativity and the new plaid town. I have small touches of Christmas here and there in the house. My bathroom remains the Halloween room but I put some bottle brush trees in there to make it look like a forest. I have a string of lights hanging off the mantle and a little tree with all my stitched Christmas ornaments on it.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

RJ said...

Oh Carol your tree is beyond gorgeous. There are no words or maybe there are not enough words!!! How tall is your tree? I have two table tops but I think I'm in the hunt for a big one because they have become too full.

I really love the Hallmark Plaid village. We do not have a Hallmark store and I had not seen them until now. I think I would have been more than tempted to have a village too. It is so vintage looking and so very pretty.

Love all the wonderful things you found from your MIL. They are all so special.

And most of all, enjoy special times with your boys and your sweet DIL. May you have a very blessed and happy Christmas with your family. RJ

diamondc said...

Merry Christmas carol: Your tree is beautiful, the village is adorable, I too have some Pixies I just love them.
I hope you have a Blessed Christmas.


MartinaM said...

With us it does not look like winter, it is mild, cloudy, wet, stormy. You do not realize that in a few days is Christmas.
These are the happy moments of happiness when the kids come home for Christmas, and in my mind I'm listening to the song "Drivin home for Christmas".
I love your tree and can understand that it's hard to hang the new ornaments every year. It is packed full, and there are so many memories, you can certainly stand long before you have seen everything. Also, I like it when it is dark and you only have the lighting of the tree, an atmospheric light.
These 3 houses are beautiful, because you have a great decoration. But the elves and the crib are beautiful things and you have many memories of them.
I wish you and your family a magical Christmas.
Big Hugs Martina

marly said...

Is it possible to get a larger tree?? I don't think so! Maybe you will have to purchase two thinner versions after 2019's are added! I adore the tartan village, beautiful setting for it with a lovely outdoor view. Your other "new" additions are very special. How wonderful to have your boys home, what a memorable Christmas it will be. Merry Christmas to all and especially to your mom.

Daniela Bencúrová said...

Snow fell in us yesterday, today it is raining and Christmas will be without snow :-(
Your Christmas tree is beautiful! Many ornaments! Wow!
I wish you happy and joyful Christmas!

Cindy's Stitching said...

Oh my. Gorgeous and bound to make anyone smile. The plaid village is adorable. I cannot believe your mother in laws christmas things were in a bin for 41 years. They are so pretty. The albino white deer was a special gift for you to see. You are a great story teller. Much love to you and your family. Merry Christmas🌲🌲🌲

Linda said...

Oh Carol your tree is gorgeous. I could come and stare at it for hours. The rest of your displays are amazing. I love your new village set. I don't have any place to display any decorations.

Merry Christmas,

Christel Harrault Blanchard said...

Ton arbre est de toute beauté... Il est très très grand tant il y a de choses à y accrocher... Merci de nous l'avoir montrer c'est un régal pour nos yeux.
A la maison il n'est pas très grand, et décoré en rouge et or... Des couleurs classiques de Noël. Rien de comparable à ta merveille.
Les enfants et notre petite-fille passeront également Noël avec nous. Le Père Noël va tous les gâter..
Il n'y a pas de neige dans le département du Loiret en France. Ce ne sera pas un Noël blanc... Mais qu'importe car il y aura de la joie, des rires, de la tendresse...
Joyeux Noël à tout le monde...

tülin said...

Your tree is amazing !
Happy Christmas

Mary - Lecoeurceltique said...

Your tree is amazing, Carol. I love your other ornaments and decorations as well.

Happy Christmas to you and your family.

Sissy said...

Well, I was doing well with not being up north for Christmas until I read your blog. Reading it brought back a flood of memories of Christmases spent with you, Tim, and the boys, and now I'm crying a river of tears. Some of my favorite times in life. You have always had an amazing gift in making your home so welcoming and beautiful, with all of your decorating skills. The house looks more beautiful than ever with your stitchery and magic touches. I really love the tartan plaid village. It is good luck to see an albino deer so I'm hoping that means a very good year ahead. Love and miss you sissy.

Lili said...

Your tree is gorgeous, so many lovely ornaments!! The Nativity set is a great treasure!
Merry Christmas to you and your family!!!

Julie said...

Love and blessings to you and the family Carol, hope you have the most wonderful time together.
Your tree is the most beautiful, I always look forward to seeing it each year.
Take care my friend xx

Andrea said...

Oh Carol your new village is just stunning. A wonderful addition.

Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Faith... said...

Carol your home looks beautiful! You have outdone yourself and I just love your tree! All those beautifully stitched Santas are gorgeous.

No snow where I live, yay! Enjoy all your babies being home for the holidays, I am sure it will be a wonderful celebration!

Merry Christmas to you and your family Carol.

Catherine - Hillview Embroidery said...

What a truly beautiful tree with your lovely decorations. I hope you had a wonderful day.

Joy said...

Your house is so gorgeous. I didn't go all out to decorate this year (not enough time with it being my first year of teaching).

Pam in IL said...

Yes, the best gift is having your kids close by! Maybe next year I'll have both of my daughters here. Your tree is so pretty. The plaid village is adorable! If we had a Hallmark store nearby, I probably would have purchased that too. I agree, the church is my favorite too. How fun to find the vintage figurines you'd forgotten about. Wishing you a blessed and healthy 2019.

Margaret said...

I'm late commenting as usual. But I enjoyed your Christmas post! So glad you have all your family together for Christmas -- I assume they are still there? I hope! I had both kids at home too, but sadly, DS had to go back to Buffalo the day after Christmas. We're not used to having such short visits from him. Sigh. Love seeing all your beautiful tree and decorations. I was thinking the same thing about the "snow" on your side board -- sneezing, a breeze, someone accidentally brushing a sleeve across the surface. lol! And the albino deer! Wow! That is very special indeed! I hope you are having a wonderful holiday week. Happy, healthy New Year to you and yours!

rosey175 said...

That's a huge tree and you've managed to fill it! I think eclectic trees are the best anyway; there's always something interesting on them. Is the side facing the door just as decorated? I love the black hole effect of the dark ornaments. We have a few goofy black plastic balls on our tree acquired from a work Christmas party several years ago but most of ours are light-colored creations. I don't have very many stitches to put on it yet! Maybe you can start a second tree.... :) All us "kids" were at my mother's house this Christmas, though unfortunately not all at the same time!

Your little plaid village and vintage decorations are great! The little elves are super cute. And surely the albino deer was a sign of an awesome 2019~ \:D/

Jennifer said...

Such a beautiful tree and village - your house must be cheery indeed! Glad you had your boys home for the holiday and hope it was great! Still no snow in Central Indiana...tried to order some for my mom’s birthday yesterday, but it seems to be on backorder! Hope we get some soon!

Bethan said...

Your tree and all its ornaments look amazing! I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas and have a Happy New Year x

Kelly K. said...

Carol, I always look forward to your posts and peeking inside the happenings of your life with your sweet family. The beautiful stitchings are the icing on the cake! Also, I'm glad you got to host all your boys this year. Those times are precious once they are adults. Thank you for sharing with us! Happy New Year!
Kelly (- who also has 3 boys: 17, 15, 12)

Leonore Winterer said...

I hope your Christmas days were as happy and festive as you could have hoped for :) I love all your decorating - I just wish I had the time and space (not to mention motivation!) to do more as well. Your tree looks amazing - maybe your house will need two trees soon?