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!

Dawn

 

 

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Christmas in Bloom

 

 

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Just stepping into the Conservatory on a cold December day warms my heart!

Hi Friends!

Just last week, I visited the Conservatory in a nearby park to enjoy the colorful Christmas blossoms. Ever since that sunny visit, I have been thinking about my favorite holiday flowers…

Poinsettias have always been a part of our family Christmas celebrations. I have sweet childhood memories of guests bringing my mom a beautiful Poinsettia at Christmastime. I often wondered what made this flower so special? When I began decorating a home of my own, my mom, aunt, friends, or neighbors would surprise me with a beautiful Poinsettia plant for my December birthday. Often there were many colorful Poinsettias here!

Now I realize why these flowers are so cherished…

Can you guess why these beautiful blooms are such a heartwarming part of my Christmas?

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Poinsettias come in so many different colors…

 

 

Another Christmas flower that warms my heart is Cyclamen. Its unique heart-shaped leaves show off delicate flowers that dance upon long, graceful stems. Many years ago, I ‘discovered’ Cyclamen while visiting Germany at Christmastime. During that wunderbar Christmas visit, I was enchanted by the Cyclamen plants blooming on my friends’ windowsills.

couldn’t wait to bring that Christmas tradition to my home!

.

Cyclamen

Now each year on my birthday, my husband surprises me with pretty Cyclamen plants for our sunny dining room. This Christmas, they are gracing an antique wooden box on our dining room table. Every time I gaze at their blossoms, I remember my faraway friends and my unforgettable Christmas in Germany!

Cyclamen and Poinsettias

have become such an important part

of our Christmas celebrations here at home.

Beyond their beautiful blossoms, they hold precious memories.

 They are a special part of our family stories now,

celebrating so many precious people

who will always be part of our lives.

 

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The Conservatory has a wonderful kaleidoscope that allows visitors to focus on different flowers. It is amazing to study Poinsettias and Cyclamen through the lens of the kaleidoscope. What intricate designs it creates! Take a peek…

DSCN4048

DSCN4049

 

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Amarillys, Paperwhites, Christmas Cactus, Star of Bethlehem…

In Christmases past, I have grown and enjoyed them all.

Each blossom brings so much beauty on the coldest of winter days.

Amaryllis {Photo Credit}

 

Paperwhites     {Photo Credit}

 

Christmas Cactus {Photo Credit}

 

Star of Bethlehem {Photo Credit}

 

Yet for me,

the most heartwarming Christmas flowers

will forever be

Cyclamen and Poinsettias,

for they have stories to tell that make my heart sing…

and stories truly do matter!

.

Pale pink Cyclamen and bright pink Kalanchoe

Yes, flowers are always a special part of Christmas at our house.

But I hope you’ll come visit again soon,

for the most special stories

are waiting to be shared.

 Next time…

May your Christmas bloom with happiness!

♡Dawn

P.S.  What is your favorite Christmas flower? Hope you’ll share your stories!