Christmas Presence

I’m determined this will not be another year where I find myself just starting to get in the Christmas spirit on December 26th.  In order to get a jump start, I’m focusing on some of the things (some tangible, some not) that I adore about this time of year.

Decades ago my mom began a photo tree.  She carefully toll painted (very popular in the 1980’s) these wooden craft rings and put pictures of our loved ones inside. We had an entire tree made up of solely of these picture ornaments. I vividly remember the local newspaper did a feature story on her tree.  I was super ticked because I was at school when the reporter visited so my baby brother made the photo instead of me. Hmmm…….maybe that’s where the sibling rivalry began. Love you, Jon.

Mom chose to display those photos again this year on a tree and the memories are so sweet. Photos of old neighbors. Photos of family members and dear friends who are no longer with us. Photos of my dad with hair.


Then my mother, who is talented in all things craft related, went on to make handmade, hand sewn, hand designed stockings for all eight grand kids. I appreciate that she passed on her lack of love for cleaning but failed to share ANY of her creative genes with me. I still have to ask for help when sewing on buttons or hemming pants. So sad.

She used one of my dad’s old work shirts and some of my grandmother’s vintage buttons to create these sweet stockings. I should note that the framed Christmas tree above the mantle is also made up of my grandmother’s old costume jewelry.

One time I made a star out of aluminum foil to put on my kid’s paper Christmas tree for school.  Which fell off before she could turn it in. I’m awesome.

My mother’s Christmas explosion decor gave me the inspiration to get my own decorations out. In doing so, I found a framed picture I purchased this spring at an antique store while visiting my sister on the east coast. I’m not certain what caught my eye about this picture as it is just a hand drawn winter scene…..but I will admit I’m a sucker for glitter. I also found it interesting that anyone would go to the trouble of framing what seemed to be an amateur artist’s drawing. It was backed with paper that had clearly been aging for quite some time and my curiosity got the best of me. I convinced Matt to help me remove the old nails from the back. We were both surprised to find a stack of lithographs from the 1950’s nestled beside the drawing! It was such a fantastic find.  A couple have some damage and a few are just super ugly (in my opinion) but one will be perfect in our youngest son’s room.

There are a few other winter scenes that will be nice to hang up in 2019 when I finally get them framed.



More notably, the Christmas jammies arrived. Most notably, I was able to get a picture of all four kids staring in the same general direction. Miraculously, and without prompting, their true colors are showing.

I’ll wrap up the week with another amazing musical Christmas service at our church. If you’re up for some fabulous music and a chance to tap into the real meaning of Christmas, there are five services available this weekend. We will be at one of them and there is a chance my kids will not be wearing pajamas. A chance. But not a good one.

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We’re only seven days into December and I’m feeling less like Scrooge and more like Will Ferrell in Elf every day. Wishing you all the wonder of the season all month long.


12 thoughts on “Christmas Presence

  1. Thank you, Emily, for another sweet article to brighten even an old Humbug’s spirit! I loved reading about and seeing your talented mother’s creativity. She’s a treasure found and loved by so many! I wish you and your precious family a wonderful Christmas season and sincerely hope the chaos continues along with the stories!!

  2. You give your mother too much credit. She’s a thief. I’m guessing she steals inspiration and, yes, ideas from others. Sometimes she probably gets lucky when she comes up with ideas just to keep her from cleaning her house or cooking. I’d even
    be willing to bet she serves her family WAY too much Big B Barbecue. I would also stake my fortune on the fact that she loves her family more than you’ll ever know and that’s what drives her

  3. I love you posts. You may not be crafty but you have a God given talent for writing. You always make me smile! And just between you and me, I think crafting may be overrated . Merry Christmas from the Kellers

  4. The Christmas sleigh picture is awesome. I love it! I, too, would have bought it just for the glitter and the whole vintage looking thing about it. The extra pictures are a bonus. Who knew? Happy holiday season to your family and thanks for making my day more merry and bright by sharing your mother’s amazing talents with us all.

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