Copyright © Janice Tracy, Mississippi Memories

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas From Our House to Yours

Welcome to our home and Merry Christmas to you all. Take off your coat, and let's visit a while! While 2008 has not been a good year, in general, for the economy of our country, it has been a wonderful year in so many ways for us. We are happy, and we have our health. What more can we ask?

Although we admit to having missed most sunrises (sleeping in is allowed for us retirees), we have enjoyed so many beautiful sunsets, either from our patio in the early evening, or from the golf course during a round of "twilight golf." Also, we have enjoyed some wonderful visits with our families and close friends. We have each continued our other hobbies of buying and selling books and records, doing family research, and taking an occasional road trip to see something new and different.

But late this summer, I began a new hobby - blogging. And life has not been the same since! I began this blog to have a place for writing about my own family history and our ancestors who have lived in Attala County since the 1800's. Around mid-October of this year, I was invited to join The Association of Graveyard Rabbits, and before long, I had become a Graveyard Rabbit for three counties, Attala, Holmes, and Madison. Writing all four blogs has been both interesting and rewarding. I do hope that you like reading the posts as much as I like writing them. If you are already reading my blogs, thank you for doing so. I not only challenge you to continue reading, but I encourage you to send me your pictures and stories for posting here in 2009.

Since this blog is primarily about Memories, today I would like to share with you a few memories of ours, using ornaments on our Christmas tree that remind us of Christmases past.

This was a covert shot of me and the Christmas tree, taken by my HoneyBunny as I placed the last package under the tree before the first of our family gatherings took place over the weekend. Our family is no different from most these days in that we usually have more than one gathering to work around celebrations our children have planned with their spouses' families.

Terry Thornton, Founder of The Association of Graveyard Rabbits refers to his tree as one that grew in a polyester forest somewhere in China. Like Terry's, our tree "grew" in that same forest. It is a tree of convenience - that pretty much sums it up. The tree is pre-lit, it needs no water, doesn't shed needles, and it lies dormant in a box in the garage between Christmases. The only problem is that if the three sections of the tree are not plugged together in the right places, the lights won't light up. So it usually takes more time to make the lights work than it does to decorate the tree. This year we hit a bit of luck, and all the lights came on at one time. But we love the way it looks after the decorating is complete, and the lights are all twinkling.

One of my favorite things to do at Christmas is to decorate the tree. I absolutely love placing each ornament on the tree, reserving the best places for the ornaments that hold a special meaning. Two of those ornaments are the ones pictured below. The heart is symbolic of love - love that we have of God, for each other, and for our family and friends. Christmas is not Christmas without love. The other ornament is a tiny bell, decorated with shamrocks, a Belleek treasure my HoneyBunny brought back from Ireland some years ago, when he added Ballybunion to his "played list" of well-known golf courses. For him, the Ballybunion course is second only to St. Andrews, the mecca of all courses for most golfers. For me, the bell's tiny tinkle reminds me of the Bell Choir in the church where my children grew up that performs such beautiful music before Midnight Mass each year.

The two ornaments shown here each have unique meanings as well as special memories. The twin angels with bugles are one ornament given to me by my children when they were still young. They always knew the gifts that would pull my heartstrings, and this was one of those gifts that still does just that. The tiny pair of golf shoes, decorated in red and green, are special to my HoneyBunny. Not only does it remind him of his best golf score each year (this year a 74 last month on our home course, a par 72), but it also reminds him that weather before and after the Christmas season prevents him from playing as many rounds as he would like. The pair of shoes remind me of just how many pairs of real golf shoes he owns. And he told me earlier this month that he thinks he needs another pair, adding that most of his golf shoes fit him just fine, unless he is walking the course!

The picture of this beaded Christmas Nativity star does not do it justice. Just like the stars that shone over the manger in Bethlehem that Christmas so very long ago, it seems to twinkle each evening during Christmas. Every year, I add a special ornament to our collection, and I added this one about ten years ago.
The ornament here is one of my two favorite birds. But what makes it memorable is that it is the only Christmas ornament that I ever made, a product of an unsuccessful ceramic class, like the ones many of us took during the 1970's. With no chips and with its color still unfaded, the cardinal appears to be in flight and occupies a place near the top of the tree.

Our ornament collection would not be complete without the moose. This fun and unique Christmas moose, made of delicate mercury glass, was given to us by one of our daughters. Needless to say, she has a slightly wicked sense of humor, and it shows in her selection of this ornament! We've had somewhat of a problem with keeping the moose's rear end from facing outward into the room.

The gingerbread man here is an original work of art made by our youngest daughter when she was about ten years old. That year for her was the year of crewel work, counted cross-stitch, and needlework of any type. It started with a Christmas gift of a "beginner's kit," and by the next Christmas, we had all been gifted with at least one hand-made treasure, including this one. I was so proud of her!

Without a doubt, the ornaments that are the most sentimental for me are those made by my children, and two of them are pictured here. Each ornament is a reindeer made of old-fashioned clothespins, a tuft of cotton for a tail, and a red dot for a nose. The result of a family project during Christmas of 1982, each ornament bears the name of the child who made it. There is even one made by someone named "Mama."

No tree in our household would be complete without the Christmas angel gracing its top. This particular angel holds a candle in each hand and lights the way, hopefully, for many more Christmases to be celebrated and enjoyed.

I hope each of you have a Merry Christmas and a Healthy and Happy New Year. Please stop by to visit again.

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