My mother loved Christmas and all that it entailed. She loved the hustle, bustle and general craziness. The house was always beautifully decorated with giant red velvet bows and lots and lots of fresh evergreen. Over the mantle there was always a giant wreath with a giant bow. From the wreath hung three angels which hovered over the Creche that she brought home with her from the Holy Land. Each angel was a little different and Mary and Joseph were beautifully carved. I used to take the baby Jesus out and put him in my doll house. Hoping not to get caught messing with the Creche.
Our Christmas tree was always pretty huge and had lots of very pretty twinkling white lights. The ornaments were collected over years, some of theme were delicate and beautiful and others were clunky and childlike, but each had a special memory for someone in my family. This fact is what made our tree so beautiful to me. There were always glass icicles and snowflakes on the tree. These sparkled in the evening when we would only have fire light and the tree lights on.
The decorations continued into the dining room. The chandelier was covered in evergreen rope and silver holy balls were hung from it with velvet ribbon. The silver candelabra were filled with cherry red candles and lit every evening, or at least that is what I remember. They were probably only lit for dinner Christmas day.
The front doors, which were painted a dark 'Charleston' green, had giant wreaths with giant red bows hung on them. Sometimes there was greenery framing the front windows as well as wreaths there. And there were always a ton of poinsettias.
I had my very own special tree. It was the only fake one in the house, but it was all mine and I loved it. It was about 2 feet tall and cemented into a red and white gingham flower pot. It had multi-colored lights strung on it--the only multi-colored lights in the house--and Charlie Brown Peanuts character ornaments. When my mother first made it for me I felt so special, my very own Christmas tree. As I got older, it reminded me of being a child and how the season was full of magic. I dearly wish I knew where those ornaments were now, I'd love to make a new Charlie Brown tree.
One of my mothers favorite Christmas traditions was the giving of gifts. She was the best wrapper of presents ever. They were always so very beautiful. Giant bows made from ribbon she drove all the way to Savannah to purchase, they were almost as big as the boxes or bigger sometimes. For many years she gave my cousins and I a silver snowflake each Christmas. These were worked into our yearly decorations by being hung from the chandelier or from the tree. These snowflakes, with the addition of Christmas Crosses given to me by my Aunt Mary, are the core of my holiday decorations.
I haven't had a tree in a long time, but I do decorate for Christmas. I just do so a little less traditionally than my mother did, but with no less flair. If I do say so myself! I hang the Holly Balls from the chandelier, and I hang the snowflakes from the ceiling. Some years I decorate with fresh greens, some years I just use the fake. But I always have them somewhere, along with some candy canes which were always a part of my mothers decorations.
Christmas is a time for family and traditions. If you have not started traditions of your own, then this year is the time to do so. I have my own traditions and they involve surrounding myself with friends and family as much as possible and a whole lot of baking and crafting. The baking blog will come later...
Merry Christmas Everyone!