Christmas Past

Hi Friends!

Just a little fairy tale today…

Once upon a time, there was a little girl

who dreamed big dreams.

Along her way she collected

cherished people,

cherished places,

and cherished memories.

Very sentimental, and a bit old-fashioned, 

she kept Christmas in her heart

all year long.

Over the years, her Christmas tree

filled up with treasured stories

and became a precious ‘scrapbook’

0f her life.

As a child, I watched with admiration as my mom hand stitched a beautiful quilt. For my very first Christmas tree, my mom surprised me with a handmade dove and star, lovingly hand stitched with scraps she saved from her quilt. So precious!

The oldest ornaments on her tree

were lovely handmade gifts

from family and friends,

for her very first Christmas tree

in her apartment.

Throughout my childhood, I have wonderful memories of my dad restoring our Model A Ford. My love of antiques began with those fun rides in the ‘rumble seat’ in our Model A. He taught me how to use tools and years later helped me to restore my old house into a cozy home. For my first Christmas tree, my dad surprised me with a handmade Model A of my own! 


While growing up, I admired my Aunt Carlene’s ‘People Tree’ every Christmas. All of her ornaments were gifts from family and friends. I knew that I would have a ‘People Tree’ of my own one day! Aunt Carlene lovingly hand stitched this Santa and rocking horse to surprise me for my very first Christmas tree. (She worked on them while sitting in a little boat on vacation, as my uncle fished.) Truly a labor of love!

Years later, she began to celebrate Christmas

in a cozy, little home of her own.

Every December,

just after her birthday,

her brother would come with his truck

to help her choose the perfect tree.

Oh, those frigid days, as he patiently

twirled each tree on the lot,

until she found the ‘perfect’ one!


One extremely cold day, my brother and I put up my partially-frozen Christmas tree. My whole family helped to decorate it. A few hours later, we heard a loud crash, as my beautiful Christmas tree hit the floor, sending ornaments flying everywhere! As the branches thawed, they had pushed the tree away from the wall tipping it over. This precious ornament (a gift from my brother years before) was in need of repair. So, he patiently glued the pieces back together. Good as new… and even more special!

Her Christmas tree also holds

cherished memories of her travels

over the years.

Many years ago, I spent a magical Christmas in Germany, with my dear friend, Iris, and her family and friends. I bought the candles and candle clips there to bring a bit of German Christmas tradition to my tree. The wooden mouse came from the Christkindlesmarkt in her city in southwest Germany. (It has been enjoyed by hundreds of my young students over the years, as we studied ‘Christmas Around the World’ to learn the origins of our holiday traditions!) The glass ornaments were special gifts from my Christmas in Germany.


This handmade, wooden ornament is from the Czech Republic. I dreamed of visiting Prague and Iris carefully planned our adventure there. I was delighted to find this beautiful Christmas ornament for my tree on a hot, summer day in Prague!


Years later, she met the one

who melted her heart…

and made her want to say “I do.”

Ever since their first Christmas,

they have been trimming their tree together.

Now he knows all of her stories

that each ornament holds.

Beautiful glass ornaments

from his childhood Christmas tree

also add a very special sparkle

to their tree.

Now she knows all of the

cherished stories of his life, too. 🙂

A gift from a dear friend, this ornament always melts my heart and makes me smile. It looks just like us!


Their Christmas tree is filled with a lifetime of

memories and blessings!

If you peek under their Christmas tree

this year,

you won’t find many packages.

The many gifts they are giving are

gifts of kindness,

gifts of helping,

gifts of caregiving,

and gifts to their favorite charities.


This little fairy tale comes from

our true story, The ‘Heart’ of Christmas.

(Click here for the story!)


We know that sometimes the holidays can be

a very difficult time.

Hopefully, looking back on the memories

of Christmas Past

and looking ahead to brighter days

will remind you that you are

wrapped in our love…


Handmade wishes… especially for you!


Warm wishes to all this holiday season!

Wishing you peace, love, and hope

in the coming year.

Heartfelt thanks for the gift of your friendship!


Comfort and joy!






33 thoughts on “Christmas Past

  1. Warm Christmas greetings, Judy! It’s always my very favorite time of year! Wishing you and your family a cozy Christmas and a healthy, happy, creative New Year, Judy! May your holidays be wrapped in love! ♡

  2. A Very Merry Christmas and Happy, Healthy, Wonderful New Year to you and yours, Dawn!!!
    Thanks for sharing your special memories with us.

  3. Merry Christmas, Aquila! You have been in my thoughts so often this year. Thank you so much for suggesting a visit to the Mississippi Palisades! We really enjoyed hiking there this summer on two occasions. 🙂 I just love learning wonderful, new things from the kind friends who gather here.
    May the blessings of health and happiness fall like snowflakes in 2018! ♡

  4. A very merry Christmas to you both. Lovely to see your treasures. I absolutely love unwrapping the ornaments of years past. They never fail to bring back wonderful memories.

  5. Heartfelt wishes for a Happy Christmas, dear Anne! I feel exactly the same when I unwrap our ornaments and my folk art Santa collection. It’s like opening a scrapbook filled with wonderful memories! Cozy Christmas hugs and a healthy, happy New Year! ♡

  6. Merry Christmas, Marcia! May your holidays be filled with the love & warmth of family and friends. Wishing you a happy, healthy New Year filled with fun adventures! ♡

  7. Merry Christmas my dear friend!
    I love your messages, art and creative words. I miss you! I wish you and John a wonderful holiday season and a blessed New Year!

  8. Merry Christmas, Julie!! 💕 I just know your home looks so cozy for the holidays! Hope you can all be together for Christmas. Special hugs for your mom. Enjoy every minute of your Winter Break! It’s snowing here today. So we will enjoy a white Christmas! Sending our warmest hugs and blessings across the miles!💗

  9. Such sweet thoughts, Karen! Our Christmas was a lovely one. We changed a few traditions a bit this year. We gave one another the gifts of favorite memories of Christmas Past. It was such fun! All of the wonderful stories are now preserved on video so that I can (hopefully) create an iMovie surprise for everyone! Hope you felt wrapped in love this Christmas, Karen, and that the feeling lasts throughout the New Year, too! Sending warmest hugs from the snowy, cold Midwest to sunny Florida! Be merry! 💗

  10. Hello Dawn…just found your link on the Susan Branch comment page – Hope your Christmas was wonderful and special – and wishing you a New Year filled with health, happiness, and love!

  11. Welcome, Ann! I’m so happy to meet another one of Susan’s Girlfriends! (If you peek at my blog Archives, you will find several posts about Susan here.😊) We had a lovely, old-fashioned, white Christmas at our house. Hope your Christmas was wrapped in love, too! Wishing you a happy, healthy, creative New Year, Ann! Thanks so much for stopping to visit today!💗

  12. Dawn, I loved reading all your cherished memories of Christmases past. You’ve been surrounded by loving family your whole life. What a cherished collection of tree ornaments, each one with a story to tell. When my boys were small, I let them choose a Christmas ornament each year. They’re a fun reflection of where they were each year. In the past several years, I make each of them a photo ornament via Shutterfly, usually with a photo of the cats and one of them with friends. My hope is to give each of them the set of personal ornaments when they one day have their own home. I think decorating the tree is my favorite Christmas tradition. Wishing you a happy new year. xo Alys

  13. Happy New Year, dear Alys! My family and friends really are my most important blessings. These Christmas ornaments, mostly gifts over many decades, feel like such a beautiful scrapbook of my life ~ the important people, wonderful places, and special moments! Each tiny treasure holds a tender story and a special place in my heart. Decorating the tree has always been my favorite tradition for my favorite holiday! 🙂

    It’s so wonderful that you now have a cherished collection of Christmas ornaments for each of your sons, Alys! I love that they each chose their own ornament each year. They will always treasure these wonderful memories of their childhood and teenage years! It will be such fun to hear the stories they tell when they hang each ornament on a Christmas tree of their very own. It’s all about the stories each ornament holds!! 🙂

    Sending warmest holiday hugs and happy, creative wishes from the frozen Midwest, sweet friend! ♡

  14. Dawn, you always life my spirits. It’s a gift! You’re right about the tree as a scrapbook of life. That is so true.

    As for your weather, I can hardly fathom the cold and wind and ice. It’s been a brutal winter for you so far. I hope you can stay close to home during the worst of it. I imagine driving is nearly impossible. I was so young when we left Canada. I mostly remember the highlight reel.

  15. We are having such a l-o-n-g stretch of Arctic weather, Alys! Tomorrow will be our 14th consecutive day with wind chill temperatures well below zero (-25 tonight). We are wearing so many layers and shoveling snow as fast as we can! Next week, we will be so grateful to reach 32 degrees! 💗

  16. Dear Dawn, I loved reading your fairy tale just now, on this cold Sunday morning long after Christmas, and find great joy in your ornaments, your sentiments, and your sharing of the gift of friendship. Here is to many more Christmas chapters and a very good New Year!

  17. Such sweet words, Penny! The small moments of Christmas Past truly are the big memories of our lives. Each ornament was a tiny, tangible gift that holds such precious stories in my heart. I’ll bet that your Christmas tree was filled with wonderful memories, too! What fun it must be to share those family stories with your grandchildren each year! Warm wishes for a New Year filled with the blessings of good health, laughter, great books, and garden dreams, my friend! I’m looking forward to visiting with my special blog friends again very soon! ♡

  18. Your friendship brings such warmth on a cold winter’s day, Alys! 🙂 After a fourteen-day stretch of Arctic weather, our snow melted just this week. Today as tiny snowflakes danced down outside, I was very busy downstairs in my little Paper Garden for a few hours making snowy-themed cards. 🙂 Hope you are finding some creative time in the New Year, too! Thank you for always being here, Alys! Warm hugs! ♡

  19. I was thinking of you this morning, realizing I was missing seeing your blogs. So when you left a comment on mine, I decided come looking for you. I need my dose of upliftment. Yes, I made up that word. I loved reading about your ornaments and the stories behind them. I gave away some off of mine this year and passed on stories to the new owners. As I put mine away this year I made sure to put some special pieces in bags and write on them where they came from and what that meant. I divided the ornaments into a tub for my son and one for my daughter each getting ornaments they cherished through out the years. I started collecting late in life so there is no long history. Your story is just so delightful and I’ve picked up tips from so many other comments here. This is a heartwarming story. I’m so sorry I missed this earlier. Giant hugs and toasty warm days.

  20. Upliftment🙂 … It’s something we all need from time to time, Marlene! I’m so happy that you stopped to visit today. Our ornaments are tiny treasures, aren’t they? The most special ornaments on our Christmas trees are filled with stories. It’s similar to hearing a favorite ‘oldie’ on the radio that brings back a flood of memories. Touching a special ornament instantly transports us back to the special people, places, and moments that make life so special!

    What truly wonderful gifts of stories and memories you passed along with your ornaments, Marlene! One day, when your son and daughter hang your ornaments on their own Christmas trees (or on a wreath, or from a ribbon), they will relive those days of Christmas Past. They are tiny treasures ~ each and every ornament! I’m so glad that you stopped to visit today. Sending my best wishes for good health in the New Year, Marlene! I hope your back feels much better very soon. You have a good plan in place for the year ahead. So, I know you will make it a year to remember. Sending gentle, healing hugs from the cold, snowy Midwest!♡

  21. Thank you, Dawn. I wish I’d had those things from my parents so at least my kids will have them. Nieces too. Things that have a story are more precious to us. I’ve kept a great deal of the needlework my mother made. I like the idea of making ornaments for them to have. I’m going to do that this year. Why didn’t I think of that sooner? So many ideas. Thank you.

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