Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Tour of Homes


Somewhere along the rabbit trails that I go down in this never ending world of blogs...I stumbled upon this little jewel....a Blogging Tour of Homes....Fabulous! I just love this idea....especially as a girl that was raised in the south...you know, where we take our "open houses" super serious! I can remember my Aunt Glo taking me to the Christmas Open Houses when I was a young girl...probably about my Maggie's age now...and how I thought I was so "mature" to be able to have my own cup of Spiced Tea... I so should have done that with Mag this year...Next year for sure!

I can't offer you Spiced Tea...or the Peppermint Egg Nog that's in my fridge....but I can take you on a visual tour so to speak of our home and how we "do" Christmas McManus Party of Five style....hope you enjoy...and hope you will follow the link above and play along.

This would simply be "the tree".....it is a special tree for me this year because it is "The Year We Ditched the Pre-Lit" at our house. We had a stayed lit properly for one year hard as heck to put together and take apart prelit for the past 5 years...real trees were super cheap in the Northeast....we were used to paying like $45 for an 8-9 ft Frasier Fir.....then we moved back to TN 5 years ago and holy smokes....the same size and type tree was like $100!!! So we bought a really cheap real one our first year here...which looked like Charlie Browns cause our living room had a vaulted ceiling and I believe the tree was seriously like 5ft tall! My dear husband went the day after Christmas that year and bought me a gorgeous $400 prelit for $75 and Lowes!!!! Whoo Hoo! And it has served us well over the years....but when I found myself dreading Adam getting it out this year because of the stress it induced to put it together, connect lights, see which branch was not gonna work this year, and of course bend the little branches to make it look "natural"...I said "that's it!" Goodwill here we come! Not for one second have I regretted it....especially when I walk into our living room and I smell that smell....ahhhhh....evergreen! And also as a first this year, I did not put one "decorative" ornament on it...it is simply covered in things the kids have made over the years and the ornaments we always get every place we travel to as a souvenier! And I do believe I love it best of all this way!

This is our new addition this year....our "Jesus Tree"....every day our kids take turns placing a heart ornament on it with 25 of the many different names of Jesus...this has by far been one of the best things we have ever done....it only took us 10 years ya know! :-) I had always wanted to do an Advent Calendar with my kids but the perfectionist in me would never consider making one...you know, cause it wouldn't look "right"....and the tight wad in me wouldn't buy one cause they were always pretty costly in my book.....so the best of both worlds collided when I found this one.....ON CLEARANCE....at Target!!! This too has really brought us closer as a family....our kids look forward to seeing what that day holds for us as a family....also one of the best things we have ever incorporated into this Season!
We have a tradition in our house that goes a little like this....Nativity Set...minus Jesus....where is baby Jesus you ask? Well, he isn't born yet of course! We meet him every Christmas morning and place Him with His mom and dad and all of His peeps at the manger! Our kids fight over love placing Him out on Christmas morning! :-)

We have had the same ratty special stockings for 10 years....Adam and I made ours the year we met...and each of the kids...and dogs...have the year they came to be with us on theirs. I have been so tempted to replace them with some beautifully monogramed ones from Lands End....but just can't bring myself to do it....they are special and they will forever adorn my mantle....even when they are grown....there they will hang... waiting. Ok, I'm tearing up...let's move on....onto the fabulous Stocking Hangers I snagged on Clearance at Hobby Lobby....this is my first year to ever have holders so I almost peed my pants when I saw how nice they were made and that "peace" held each one of our family members and "joy" could hold our pooches...AND that they were 50% off!!!...they are indeed heavy enough to kill a small bear I think.

I used to really go all out with the Christmas decorations....not sure what has happened to me...either I'm letting go slightly of the I'm talking must have coordinating Christmas soap dispensers in the bathrooms perfectionism that grips me so tightly at times, or I'm becoming lazy, or maybe a touch of both! I think in all honesty after raising and homeschooling 3 kids under one roof for the last 4 years, I have had to lay a lot of things at the altar....kept like a cover of Southern Living magazine just incase someone were to pop in clean house being on the top of the list! I just simply think the Lord has answered a lot of my prayers in that area and I see things through more perspective eyes now...especially at Christmas. In fact most of the decorations Adam brought down from the attic this year went right back up in the boxes they came down in cause I didn't even want to mess with putting them out....just the basics and the essentials....maybe that's it!... I'm getting back to basics!
So what would be the basics by way of decorations in our house?

My cranberry wreath on the front door...and our wreaths on all of our windows out front...but it's sleeting here in TN and I wasn't about to take my precious new friend camera out into that mess!

A table of Christmas Past

This precious little display putting things into perspective...

My poor uneven, nailed into the frame, Mistletoe

My kids beautiful Christmas artwork all over my kitchen cabinets....yes, I really have come a long way! :-)

Boomama also asked us to leave a recipe on here so here goes....this is from an elderly lady in our old church and she says it was over 100 years old ....and I believe her! :-)

Christmas Wassail:

1 Can Pineapple Juice

1 Gallon Apple Cider

2 cinnamon sticks

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

zests of 1 lemon rind

Mix all together in large pot on the oven and heat....and enjoy the smell your house will have all day long!!!

"And whatever I do, may it always bring glory to you"

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