Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dec. 31st 2009

Just wanted to get in one more post before the end of the year and the end of the decade.
I am hoping that everyone leaves 2009 with some happy memories... and hope that all of you are blessed with much happiness and good health in 2010.
I hope to be back into the royal wedding flower thing once the new year gets into full swing. Stan gave me many new "royal" books and publications for Christmas, so I have much new research material and many photos to scan and share here on the blog.
Happy New Year and God Bless! Terry.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

St. Stephen's Day 12/26/09

Just have to say.... thanks to my Aunt Sibbie... she is such a sport. When I first posted the pic on the left, I expected some backlash and tongue lashing... but, she took it in stride. So much so that this Christmas she voluntarily recreated the scene. Way to go Sibbie.
And so, to everyone, a Happy St. Stephen's Day. St. Stephen was the first martyr of the church or the "Proto-Martyr". St. Stephen was stoned to death for professing his faith in Jesus, and as he died, saw a vision of Jesus standing by God the Father in witness to his sacrifice of faith. Here's hoping that everyone is continuing to have a Merry Christmas, as the new year of 2010 grows nearer. Later, Terry.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day 2009

Well, the big day has finally come. No more days 'til Christmas, but now the Christmas celebration has officially started, and will go until Epiphany on Jan. 6th... that's when the three wise men/kings visit the manger.
Our Christmas started out with an evening vigil mass, then dinner with family and friends. We stayed up much later than usual to watch some wonderful Christmas musical shows and the beginnings of the midnight mass at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Wash., DC. This Christmas morning brought rain and wind to our island, and even tornado warnings. We braved the weather to drive to Savannah have brunch with Dad and Martha at the Westin's Savannah Harbor Resort. The hotel had beautifully unique decorations in browns, silver and aqua tones. The brunch was incredible with the most varied buffet I had ever seen... from oysters on the half self to creamed rutabagas, and everything in between. It was a great Christmas day spent with family and loved ones, no one could ask for a better day.
My gifts this year took a royal theme, and I received several vintage publications commemorating many special events in the life of the House of Windsor. I can't wait to dive in and read, as well as use much of that information when I resume my discussion of royal weddings and royal wedding flowers... which I hope to return to in 2010.
Thanks for looking during your holidays, and during my special blog segue into vintage Christmas trees and their decorations. Peace and Happiness to everyone in the new year. Terry.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dec. 23,, 2009 Santa's Helpers

The wonder years of the sixties, what a great pic here. Mother, working 'til the wee hours, helping Santa of course. I think she was about 27 yrs. old here. I think this was our first Christmas in the house on Wilmington Island.
Here is another one of those great balsam trees with big lights, and the great old glass mix-matched ornaments. Not too much tinsel/icicles on this tree. Boy how that room has changed over the years. The room in the pic is the den. For some reason in those early years in that house, the Christmas tree was set up in the den, on the back of the house. I don't remember when, or why the tree eventually moved to the living room on the front of the house facing the street. That is something I will have to investigate. So, tonight with just 2 days to go 'til Christmas, I have been, like Mother in this pic, getting ready by "helping" Santa too. Lots of last minute wrapping being done tonight, making a centerpiece for Christmas Eve dinner, and fantasizing about sleeping later than usual in the morning.
Days 'til Christmas ......... 2!!!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Remmberin the Snow in Savannah...

12/22/09 - another 20 year milestone this week. It was 20 years ago that Savannah saw it's first white Christmas in recorded history. Snows starting on the 22nd, and ending early on the 24th of December. It was truly strange, let me tell you.
We had already had a sad week, since my grandmother has passed away on the 18th, and her funeral on the 19th. We were not ready for any such surprise as this. I don't even remember being mindful of the weather forecasts at the time. We were all home from work with the holiday vacation already starting, and from taking time off for the funeral and many out of town guests. As the week progressed on towards Christmas, we just stayed inside, made chili and jambalaya and watched it snow. Looking back now, I kinda feel like the world was sending us this beautiful sight in a way of comforting us at the loss of Nana. And, it was beautiful, so quiet, so peaceful. For years I felt sorry that Nana missed what would have been her only white Christmas in all of her 84 years... but maybe, it was God telling us, our little family, that something great had occurred, and this would be a sign that we could always remember it by. Her great beautiful presence had left us, but for a few days was replaced by the beautiful snowfall, to give us a few days of comfort and joy.
Certainly I can say without a doubt that in the picture above, this was the only time that Mother's house saw snow and Christmas decorations at the same time. Maybe, another white Christmas will be in our future, one that I will live to see.
Wow, it's getting really close! Days 'til Christmas ................. 3!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Those Crazy Christmas Gifts!

We just can't figure out for the life of us, 1. Why Nana wanted a picture of this on Christmas morning 1964 and 2. Why Sibbie would have posed for the picture in the first place. We all have been laughing over this old picture for the past few weeks. Certainly those wouldn't have fit her!
Some years you get those crazy gifts that, though well intentioned, just end up collecting dust, mold and whatnot in the top of the closet. The spirit of giving the gift is the most important thing, especially in the Christmas season. I try not to think "what were they thinking", but rather "what were they intending". I know that all the gifts I receive, no matter the size, expense, or usefulness, was chosen with the intention of bringing me happiness. Most important, since the greatest gift we as Christians have ever received was small, and not wrapped in fancy paper, but swaddling cloth, and not in a big fancy container, but in a lowly manger... now, there is Christmas.
I know, kinda weird to have the deep spiritual commentary right next to the picture of "The Ghost of Christmas Panties", but, it's my blog and the ideas just come when they come.
Days 'til Christmas ............................. 5!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Tree Backdrops 12/19/09

Christmas trees make wonderful backdrops for family photos. If you look through most peoples photo albums both old and new, you will probably come across many snapshots where folks are gathered in front of the decorated tree.

Here is our Christmas Card pic from this year. Marvin was getting a little anxious prior to the camera snapping.

It's our 6th anniversary, a great day to celebrate all the blessings and gifts of the last six years. Thanks to Stan and Marvin for making my life so wonderful!

The second pic here, one from the past, with my brothers, Jerry and Dan, left and middle. I am guessing thiswas about1977 or '78. I was about 11 or 12 that year. I think, a little to old for footed pajamas! Anyway, it must have been cold to have called for such warm sleepware. Goes to show you how the climates have changed. It was normally cold in December back then, even way down in Savannah. Have to mention the great old balsam tree with plenty of tinsel. I can even still see the old "snow-ball" lights still being used on this tree.
Days 'til Christmas ........................ 5!

Friday, December 18, 2009

December 18, 2009

Most people wouldn't think that remembering the anniversary of some one's passing as a happy time. Here in this picture is my Nana, she was the center of our world for many years. Today marks the 20th anniversary of her passing. I couldn't find the words to describe what she meant to me and my family, and here, now twenty years later, her memory is still a part of my thoughts everyday.

When she died back in 1989, I thought how rough it would be to loose someone so close and loved right at the Christmas holidays. Yes, it was a strange and in many ways sad Christmas that year, having just gone through a funeral after her long illness, but now, as my brother put it today, we can smile and feel extremely grateful for all the years we had her with us. She was a true Southern lady, gentle and very well mannered. She imparted her special wisdom to her children and grandchildren on a daily basis. Nana also had a strong Christian faith that strengthened her and led her through many personal trials... the death of two of her children and husband, illness, loss, and the economic difficulties of the Great Depression. She also had her special brand of family history through storytelling and many photographs. She instilled in us a deep pride of family history and a knack for tradition building, especially for Christmas. Many of her cherished, and very old, Christmas ornaments hang on my Christmas tree and the Christmas trees of my brothers, Mother's, my aunt's and cousins, all the way from Maryland to Nebraska. I still do miss her everyday, but my memories of her strengthen me and reassure me, putting the initial grief of loosing her very much in the past. I'll post one more pic for this special blog post... a picture of Nana's Christmas tree angel... it goes atop my tree every year and it is probably my most cherished possession and "Nana" Christmas tradition. Nana... all my love, and thank you for everything. Terry.
Day's 'til Christmas ............................................6!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

December 17, 2009

It's a low country Christmas for us here... down in South Carolina, at one time, cedar trees were the popular tree to use in the house. Why, well, they were and still are plentiful. And, they were cheap, as in they grow out in the woods here, and along the banks of the rivers and marshes. So, just go cut one down. The "red cedar" that grows heartily here is not really a cedar but a variety of juniper.

I only had one cedar tree for a Christmas tree, back in the early 80's. I have to tell you, they don't hold the big lights well at all. the limbs are quite flexible and even droopy. So, heavy ornaments are out of the question. We ended up using clear miniature lights when we found the cedar we had cut wouldn't hold our big C-7 lights. This pic here isn't the tree we had, but an old image found on the Internet. We did however have strung popcorn on ours, it's light weight and the white popcorn looks very nice against the dark green foliage. If you do choose a cedar, do keep it well watered, as they drink lots of water and can dry out really fast. My cousins in NC always had a cedar cut from a field, I didn't like the look of them back then, but now, I can appreciate the down-home look of a cedar Christmas tree.

Days til Christmas............................. 7!!! Wow, it's getting close.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

December 13, 2009

Those dreaded family Christmastime gatherings... I used to wonder what people were so angry about... Christmas Eve at my grandparents house with all my cousins there, was my favorite night of the year. But, as we got older and we were more aware of the adults behavior... well, I started to understand why people didn't want to be anywhere near their relatives on Christmas!
There are a couple of happy faces here in this pic, but the look on my cousin Dawn's face kinda sums up what the coming years would bring... maybe she knew something then that would take me years to be aware of. We were only 6 cousins at the time, but there would be two more added for a full compliment of 8. Some of us are still in contact from time to time, but, with the passing of years and the passing of the grandparents and one uncle, the family dynamics have changed dramatically, everyone making their own families and taking on new traditions and types of gatherings.
One comment on the tree... my grandparents were too picky. They let the grandkids decorate the whole thing. I was the oldest, so as usual the oldest and tallest got the lighting detail. They used the same old "toilet brush" style artificial tree every year, and it always looked lovely, a great Christmas Eve at Grandma and Grandaddy's house every year.
Days 'til Christmas........................ 12!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

December 9, 2009

It's not all about the trees you know... "Who said that????"
Yes, I like to consider garlands one of my specialties as well. People don't realize how much you can decorate with them. Some rooms that are too small for a whole tree can most times accommodate at least one decorated garland. Door frames, fireplace mantels, foyer entrances, window frames, large mirrors, portraits or pictures. Any place a garland, fresh or artificial, can hang safely and securely can become a display. The one pictured here is just one room away from the Aluminum tree and chandelier decor on the previous post. This house really lends itself to red and gold, and non-traditional green tones. The touch of red lights, not white, give it some added richness. You can make all the garlands through the house coordinate with the tree, or choose a different decor from room to room. Gooooooo Garlands!
Days 'til Christmas............................................. 15!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

December 6,2009

Happy St. Nicholas Day!
Well, the holiday season is rolling right along, and decorations are going up everywhere here on our island. One of the best parts of the Christmas season is getting to help others decorate their homes in preparation for the great celebration of Christmas.
My special holiday blog about Christmas tree wouldn't be complete without a real retro aluminum tree. Big advantage here, no lights to string! This one belongs to my favorite sister-in-law with a house on a creek. She and her family went through a total house renovation earlier in the year, and the finished product gave them this great dinning room with views of the great oaks outside and the creek beyond. We did a little something special on the new chandelier in the dinning room... with the addition of some great vintage ornaments, and some gold wire, a great effect was achieved in the new hip surrounds. What fun to help others decorate!
Day's 'til Christmas ........................... 19!

Friday, December 4, 2009

December 4, 2009

Here is one of my favorite pics because it has my Nana in it. That's us at Nana's house in Savannah and, it's Christmas 1970. Another great, stick thin balsam tree with icicles and all of Nana's great ornaments, a couple I can see in this picture are on my tree right now.... the red one with snow on the top, as well as the funny pink snowman (bottom limb) are two of my Christmas treasures, because for so many years they were on Nana's tree. You can't see the tree topper in this one, but I am sure it is her angel, again that angel is on my tree and has been the topper of all my trees for the past 12 years. I will treasure it always, so, the second pic today is Nana's angel.

Days 'til Christmas...................... 21!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

December 2, 2009

Another "what says Christmas more?" pic, here is one, two cute babies in rocking chairs infront of their Christmas tree. This is Christmas 1967, so I am about 1 yr 5 mos. at this point, and I think, yes, I think, but not certain that I am the one on the left. At that age, not even Mother can identify which on is which.

Love this pic for other reasons too... the old timey balsam tree is great... bet is smelled real Christmassy in there. Also, a sign of the residential architecture in the mid-late '60's, those aluminum framed louver windows in the living room and in the front door, along with some plastic sheeting over them... must have been cold that December.
And... those curtains, they moved with us the next year to the island house, about 10 miles out of town. Really miss those old balsam trees... and I really miss my red pajamas too!

Days 'til Christmas .................................... 23!