All content on this blog is copyright by Marci Andrews Wahlquist as of its date of publication.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Images

My sister-in-law taught me the art of decorating a Christmas tree with all the ornaments possible for a tree to hold. I have three large apple boxes of ornaments and all three boxes are stuffed full. Everything in them goes on my Christmas tree every year. I used to have a nine-foot tree (we bought an artificial tree after years of real trees that were increasingly dried out, and we decided that contributing to the growing and cutting of real trees, especially when they were cut as early as midsummer, was not a good thing). The ornaments used to fit comfortably on that tree.
That tree wore out after almost twenty years and the tree we bought to replace it is seven feet tall. I still put every ornament we own on it. Here is what it looks like, basically, from a few years ago. Pretty full, huh?

I love taking out the ornaments and looking them over. Each has a memory attached to it, whether it was something from my childhood, from my husband's childhood, or was given to us by one or another of our family members or friends, or was made by or for one of our children, or was one of the ornaments I used to buy every year from a special store we used to visit each Christmas season, I go through all those memories as I decorate the tree.
Shell fish from Auntie Vi

Some of our many nativity-themed ornaments

Swan from that glass-blower in Scotland .  .  .

Glass violin from 75 years ago

The tree my mother made, and the figures that
remind my husband of his years in Germany

Ho ho ho. Here I am in the Harlequin ball

My teapot collection

The train collection because my son loved trains

Another nativity, and all those apples my daughter loved

My sister-in-law gave me lots of gold things, such as this
Noah's Ark. My mother and I attended a Christmas party
thirty-some years ago in Oregon where I got a set of these
Renaissance angels

Look out, you mice, that cat is watching

One of my mother's nativities

This was from that Christmas shop

Because every tree needs a glass pickle

The partridge from the Christmas shop,
with his expensive gilded pear

The last set of glass ornaments I gave my parents the year
that we had to move them to my house and they didn't get
to be home for Christmas even though their tree was up

The set of drums is about 80 years old now

I put the oldest glass ornaments inside the tree for safety

My sister-in-law always has a live tree. Her friends from Montana used to go out and get her a tree and bring it all the way here. Those friends have since died, and one of the children still runs a Christmas tree lot locally every year. I think they still get her a tree, but it is never as fresh as in years past. Here are a few of her things from the tree last year.
The 2016 tree

She collects stacking dolls

An interpretation of the
partridge in the pear tree

Nothing like a carriage drawn by horses

Her tree is always full of pretty things

Every Christmas she fills the shelf above the piano with stacking dolls, about thirty sets or more I think. Many of them are Christmas themed, but a few are out all year. The largest stand about a foot high, and the smallest are smaller than a grain of rice. Because I love her stacking dolls, I want to include some of them here.
This is the largest set
A cute take on Father Christmas
Winter ladies and one of the tiny sets
The tiny set, close up
One snowman set, with a pen for perspective
Here are the two snowmen sets, with the smallest of each the size of a seed
You have to see those smallest snowmen magnified!
Understandably, my sister-in-law gets very nervous when the younger relatives come over and want to unpack these snowmen. She is sure somebody some day is going to lose the littlest members of the set. She herself never unpacks them anymore; she says her hands are no longer steady enough.

Now here are some of the sets she has given me over the years.
Not the nutcracker. That was from a friend. She gave my son the Irish-
themed Father Christmas set the year he chose Ireland for us to visit.
These are first set she gave me, and they are all wooden bells.

Another Father Christmas set.

Well, Santa has nine reindeer, but who is here besides Dasher, Dancer,
Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder and Blitzen?
Surely Rudolph would not disguise his nose?

She found this Jim Shore nativity set to add to my collection.

I appreciate Santa and Father Christmas figures for the gift tradition that is tied to the religious Christmas story, but since I am religious myself, I like best to have Christian nativity figures as decorations all around my house. My mother started me collecting nativities (some people call them creche sets), and now that she lives with me, together we have dozens. Here are few images of our sets.

I love Christmas. I love to think about the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior, who came into the world as a tiny babe, willing to undergo all that mortality entailed in order to fulfill the will of the Father in all things. Because He came, because He completed His full mission, including the Atonement for our sorrows and sins, He knows how to succor us in all our trials and troubles, and He can heal us from everything we suffer in this life. Nothing can be outside His experience; we literally cannot get beyond His grace unless we simply choose to separate ourselves from Him. He will never interfere with our ability to choose. I choose Him, and though I am inevitably flawed, I know that in Him I have a chance to realize perfect happiness. Therefore, I wish you a happy Christmas.