Welcome to My Christmas Home

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Welcome to my Christmas Home! Some of you may have visited my home this last year, courtesy of a YouTube video created by Google Book Search last January. You could see the snow piled around our home in its primer-white stage and get a glimpse of my dining room during my interview. This wintry December, we don’t have the same amount of snow, but the temperatures are dropping as Washington State has been hit with a Siberian Express. It’s times like these–when it’s 11 degrees outside–that I’m grateful for my cozy, little, century-old home. Doesn’t it look cute?

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Thanks to the hard work of my husband, assisted from time to time by our teens, my daughter’s boyfriend and his dad, the front and west side of our home look fabulous (next Christmas, I intend to show off the east and back side, which will hopefully be finished!). In years past, I’ve put up a garland of artificial pine branches around each of the three porch pillars. With my shoulder recovering from surgery, our decorating has been understandably limited this year.

Here’s the wreath I created which I keep up from just after Thanksgiving until February, when it gets replaced by a Valentine one:

When you enter our home, you’ll hear the sound of jingle bells:

You’ll also hear the stereo softly playing the local Christmas music station, or KAGU, Gonzaga University’s classical music station.

Behind the front door is our holiday table, decorated year-round. Of course, right now, it contains the creche:

Next to the table is our tree. We used to try to put up the tree by our front window, but that meant squeezing the couch between the front door and the entertainment center, leaving very little room to enter the house. It’s a lot easier to simply remove my glider-rocker that normally resides here to my daughter’s room during December. These hundred-year-old small houses don’t allow for much furniture re-arranging!

Here are some favorite ornaments. With the exception of some colored glass balls and a few freebie ornaments that have arrived in Christmas goodie packages, every ornament and decoration has a sentimental meaning or is an heirloom. For more on these ornaments, read here.

Under the tree are the klompen that were filled with chocolates and little gifts on St. Nicholas Day, December 6th:

This wooden basket is at the ready to hold all the Christmas cards, letters, and photos we receive.

The advent calendar hangs in the living room on the master bedroom door. Each morning, a couple of goodies for our teens magically appear in that day’s pocket:

In the corner, a bundled-up penguin and a group of Christmas trees (both handmade gifts from friends) join the chainsaw-carved bear that guards our living room year-round. This bear was made for me as a Christmas gift a few years ago by my talented brother:

Next is the dining room, with a festive tablecloth to protect my great-grandmother’s tiger-stripe oak pedestal table. Nellie May (CONCIDINE) HOLST looks down upon her table from the large oval frame on the dining room wall. The beautiful wooden turntable with a star-pattern was designed and created by my daughter in woodshop last year, and given a place of honor for months in the classroom’s showcase window.

There are candles everywhere (I’m a candle collector) and the china cupboard holds decorative plates waiting for a holiday buffet.

We don’t usually decorate the bathroom, but we keep a small stack of booklets interpreting the meanings behind the traditions of Christmas for those times when you need to sit for a while. 😉

The kitchen also doesn’t get a lot of decoration, but the Christmas mugs have been taken out of storage and wait by the coffee pot. Would you like a cup of coffee, tea (herbal, green, white, or black), cocoa, or hot cider? And take your pick of flavorings: candy canes, marshmallows, whipped topping, cinnamon sticks, or egg nog.

On the front of the stove hang one of the Christmas kitchen towels with crocheted toppers that my paternal grandmother made for years, along with knitted dishcloths and crocheted potholders, to give as Christmas gifts to all the women in the family. Grandma doesn’t crochet anymore, due to Alzheimer’s and I think these simple gifts are what I miss most about her.

From this galley-sized kitchen/laundry room, I usually make banket, a Dutch pastry with almond paste filling and a sugared topping. This will be the first time in years that I will not be making it, due to my shoulder, as chopping the almond paste and rolling the dough are just a bit much for me. Ah, well! Christmas will be coming ever so soon again next year.

Thank you for visiting my Christmas home. Whatever holiday you celebrate this season, I wish that it may be full of light, laughter, and loved ones. May your heart be filled with the faith of your forefathers and foremothers, may you realize how rich your life is no matter what the size of your bank account, and may you share your blessings with those less fortunate. As the line from my favorite Christmas movie says: “Remember, no man is a failure who has friends!”