Thursday, December 1, 2011

O Christmas Tree + A Glorious Day

Welcome to December!
This is one of my favorite months of the year. Who doesn't LOVE the hustle and bustle of Christmas? In particular, though, this has already been a tough holiday season since the loss of my grandfather this year to colon cancer. He absolutely LIVED for the holidays. I never met a man who loved them more than he did. They were an opportunity to do this two favorite things, a) have the entire family over and spoil them and b) eat! I miss him dearly but I really do carry his love for all things holiday in my heart. And I think my husband may be a close second to grandpa as far as loving the holidays goes. I love that about him. I'm trying to carry my grandfather in my heart this very first Christmas without him, and one of the ways is through our tree.
Tulle skirting
John and I adore our Christmas tree. It goes on immediately in the morning and as soon as we come home. It's the last thing we turn off before bed. We really hate taking it down at the end of year. My Grandpa was the same way. I think he kept his tree up for 1/4th of the year! His was the BIGGEST tree I've ever seen! It touches the top of their vaulted ceiling and is completely bedecked in vintage ornaments and giant light bulbs as well as several handmade additions from their children and grandchildren throughout the years. He loved his tree and the holidays so much that he kept it up until he passed away this year (he knew it was his last Christmas) and afterwards, we had a hard time taking it down. I'm so happy to say that there are elements of his tree that will live on in ours. 
I want to take some time today to show you the best parts of my tree, which aren't necessarily the ones that cost the most or are the most beautiful (though they may be incidentally), but they mean the most to me. 
First, let me say that my color scheme is awesome. My former boss and mentor picked it out for me and is responsible for half of my ornaments (not including bulbs)! She knows me really well and couldn't have gotten a better scheme. I think that was about 5 years go. Then, there weren't white trees for sale in the store and I KNEW that my bright colors wouldn't look good on anything else. I finally found a tiny (3 foot) tree that came in white and decked it out for the first 3 years. Last year I was able to finally get a full sized white tree, just in time for our first Christmas in our new home. So, many thanks to Rhonda for the beginning of beauty!
Grandparents hedgehog/porcupine?
Next, check out the skirting at the bottom. My best friend, Stephanie, made me ombre tulle in shades of pink. She dyed it herself. She is an incredible friend as well as an incredible creator. She is so talented, it blows my mind. She made it for my bachelorette party (to see how else I used her creations this Christmas... click here) and I couldn't bear to part with it. I wrap it around the base of my tree every year to create a fluffy, gorgeous skirting. It definitely satisfies the ballerina in me! It's a little shorter this year because I used some on a separate tree. I'm thinking that I'll steal it back and add it to the big tree... it needs to be fuller around the sides to really exhibit it's splendor. Thanks, best!
Wedding invites/programs
I added some new ornaments this year based on the inspiration of this blogger. I first pinned this back in the summer and then deleted it after making the ornaments, as is my custom. I had to pin it again a couple of weeks ago when I knew I'd be featuring them in the blog so that I could credit her. It's a great idea. She filled clear ornaments with strips from wedding invitations. I have an entire box of wedding invitations left, so I did several bulbs of those as well as our wedding programs. They're really beautiful and I feel better about not wasting all of those programs and invites! Plus they match our color scheme ;) Check out the above link to make your own. You can put whatever you want in them as well, baby announcements... anything! My friend Meghan at Split the Lark did the same thing with her wedding vows..
Vintage Swan Princess
Lastly, I want to feature my grandparents ornaments. Before my grandfather passed away, they were trying to reduce the amount of ornaments they had for their tree. They made a huge box of discards and let us choose whatever we wanted. I went to town! I got every ornament that matched a tree. An adorable blue hedgehog, a lovely swan princess (umm... hello Odette and Swan Lake: my fave ballet!) and most importantly, I got the pickle. I just *know* my cousins are going to read this in bewilderment! The pickle was a huge deal for us, as I'm sure it was for you. I actually didn't know about the tradition of the pickle ornament until a few years ago. At our annual Christmas Eve service, the staff was sharing traditions and I told everyone about our weird/crazy/unique tradition of winning a prize for being the first one to find the pickle ornament... only to be approached by about fifty people after the service telling me that it's a common old custom. Oops. Anyway, being the youngest of 3 (at the time, our family has grown so much since then!), I never found the pickle. My brother or cousin, Kimberly, always got it first!   When I saw the pickle in the discard pile, I could hardly believe my eyes. I even asked my grandma to confirm that she didn't want it. I snatched it right up after that! I'll always, always, always treasure that ornament as my very most favorite. 
The much-coveted pickle
It has been such a glorious day. Honestly. I woke up this morning and made myself a peppermint mocha and while I was stirring it on the stove top, I was just overcome with a sense of joy and love for life. It is such a beautiful world. I'm so grateful to be alive and to be part of it. I'm grateful for my savior- at Christmas and always. I'm grateful for my spouse... I can't imagine a more loving man and I adore him. I'm grateful for my friends, both near and far (Anna, alles gut zum geburtstag!) and I am so, so grateful for my family. I miss my grandfather, but I'm SO glad, that of all the grandpas in the world, I got him. How blessed I am. How blessed we all are. I hope you have a great day and find yourself so aware of the beauty of life. As always, thanks for reading.

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