Tag Archives: Christmas

The Tree

So many of my favorite childhood Christmas memories are related to Christmas trees.  As a girl my parents took us to the mountains every year to cut a tree, and we cut a tree big enough to fill our two-story vaulted living room.  They were the most amazing Christmas trees, the kind that leave people speechless when they come to the door.  And oh, how we loved that tradition.  We knew it was special.

But when you marry and merge different traditions, sometimes you give things up, and the massive tree, along with a trip to the mountains, is something I surrendered.  Still, we always get a real tree and try to make it a special family outing.  I remind myself that what happens around the tree is a whole lot more important than the tree itself.

This year we opted for colored lights.  While I’ve never tried to coordinate the ornaments on the tree, I guess there’s been a theme to the decorations I’ve liked over the years because we have lots of balls, little wreaths, birds, stars and some vintage clock faces.

The children decorate it almost entirely, and I simply move the more fragile ornaments out of the reach of little hands.  Those little hands got hold of a vintage glass ornament while we were decorating and wondered what would happen if she hit it with a ping pong paddle.  You guessed it… it shattered.  She’s actually shattered a few of them, but so far we’re doing better than last year so I’m satisfied.

We have some new ornaments this year.  Angels from my Grandmother’s ornament collection.  She passed away this summer and we have them to remind us of her.

I love so many things about this tree, but my favorite is the soft glow it offers when we’re gathered on the couch each evening to read Christmas stories together.  That cozy feeling of togetherness, of having our hearts nurtured by healing tales, the magic of the dim lights… that is Christmas to me.

And beneath the tree, my rough cedar manger which the children love to pad with soft blankets before placing our baby Jesus in it.  I love watching the girls greet baby Jesus each morning and hope it helps them remember the meaning of the holiday.

And I love the way they make sure he’s not alone.  This baby always has company!  Lots of room in the stable around here.

 

The Christmas Ship

The Christmas Ship by Dean Morrissey has some of the most magical illustrations I’ve ever seen.  Rich in saturated color, we always linger over each page.

Sam Thatcher, the village toymaker, works in a run down shop.  It’s Christmas Eve and he’s working to finish all the toys.  Some of the village children, his friends, pay a visit, then scatter when the Mayor shows up to shut down Sam’s shop because he hasn’t made the required repairs.

Heavyhearted, Sam wonders what he’ll do when suddenly his old friend, Father Christmas pays him an unexpected visit.

There’s a storm brewing over the ocean and Father Christmas is running behind.  He asks Sam to make his deliveries for him in Sam’s town.  Surprised, Sam asks how he can do that without a sleigh and reindeer.  Father Christmas assures him that he’ll find a way and then he’s gone.

How does Sam do it?  Well, magic is afoot, and soon Sam’s toys come to life to serve as Elves.  Outside, Sam’s ship rises from the ocean to fly over housetops while Sam and the toys -and a stowaway- deliver the gifts.

Then the mayor’s name came up on the list.  The man who had treated Sam so unkindly that very evening.  Sam’s example of  giving in the true spirit of Christmas isn’t lost on his stowaway helper, or on the mayor, either.

There’s a softening of heart at the end of the book and the final thought is this:  “Once a spirit like that gets out… almost anything can happen.”

So true.  And this is definitely a book that will invite that spirit into your home.  Enjoy!

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