it's beginning to look...

a lot like christmas.

while i hate winter, i love christmas. 

growing up i hated the day after thanksgiving. mom would make us drag hundreds of boxes out of the "christmas closet"and up the stairs, where the entire day was spent changing out every decoration with a christmas decoration. the glasses were traded for christmas glasses, and the mugs for christmas mugs.  the christmas serving dishes, and candy dishes, and toys, and books... our entire house was transformed into a christmas house.  then we would have to drag all those boxes back down the stairs, knowing the day after new years we would be forced to drag them back up the stairs to be filled and drag them back down again.  but then the night would come, and the house would be oozing christmas spirit.  we would put on old christmas albums and as a family we would string popcorn and cranberries for the tree.  dad would grow tired of it after about a foot of string, and he would snuggle under a blanket and turn the lights down low, and hum along to the christmas music.  for weeks to come, you could find dad any spare moment he had, beneath glowing chrstmas lights, under a blanket listening to christmas music on his dad's old stereo.  those moments i will remember for always, and cherish them forever, and it took all the lugging boxes to achieve those moments.

i still dread the putting up and the taking down of christmas decorations, but i love the feeling of sitting amongst the lights and trees and stars and angels and santas, and the memories and spirit they emote. 

yesterday, after a trip to hobby lobby with holly, matthew and i took asher to buy his very first christmas tree.  we spent the afternoon trimming and decorating and reminiscing, and only fighting for a second over the placement of the lights on the tree. 

the biggest tree we have ever had.  i was looking for a skinny one... i didn't realize how huge it was.  it is nearly perfect.  ignore the crooked picture in the background, i kept bumping it while hanging ornaments.

every year my mom bought me a new ornament.  she still does.  every year we buy a new ornament for ourselves.  i love putting them on the tree and remembering the story with each and every one.

the first year we put up a tree together was before we were even engaged.  well, the ring was bought and sitting in a drawer somewhere, but matthew had yet to work up the courage to ask me.  i lived by myself in a little apartment, the same apartment where we shared our first kiss, and got engaged, and really fell in love.
sometimes i miss that apartment... then i remember the late night parties from my neighbors, the stench of weed in the hallways, and the taco bell wrappers filling the entryways, and i don't miss it so much.  but that is besides the point.  that first year we bought the cheapest tree we could find, and the cheapest felt stockings, and the cheapest glass ball ornaments.  we also bought this ornament.  it is still matthew's favorite on the tree.

this is my favorite ornament.  i don't particularly love precious moments, i have ended up with lots of precious moments ornaments over the years... but this one i adore the most.  it gets the prime spot on the christmas tree, front and center.  my mom bought it for me one of the first years she started buying us ornaments.

last year i bought myself an eiffel tower ornament.  my mom also bought me one.  they are both hanging on our tree.

i have dozens of these little knitted stockings.  my great grandma will be 100 in january.  she has a bazillion great and great-great grandchildren.  every year we all receive these little stockings stuffed with candy and money.  i do not put them all on the tree, just pick a few favorites.
this one is a particular favorite.

when i was in europe we stopped off for 3 days in vienna.  after 90 days in romania, vienna felt more like america.  we stopped at starbucks twice a day while we there, and found this darling little christmas village set up in a park selling all sorts of christmas goodies.  i bought this sweet little santa there.

we never played santa growing up.  i was the mean kid telling kids on the playground there was no santa.  my parents didn't want to confuse us.  i don't think we will play santa with asher either, but we will tell him to not ruin it for other children, we don't want him to be the bully i was... my mom never had santa decorations.  she just didn't.  maybe it's my lack of santa in my childhood, but i love santa decorations.

i couldn't resist this fat santa with his skinny legs this year.  how cute is he?

or look at this silly santa on his reindeer.  he also has skinny legs, maybe i keep buying skinny legged santa's because i secretly wish i had his legs.  i don't know.

we have lots of angels on our tree.  i like this little trumpet girl angel.  ignore my thumb, it looks like a toe.  i am well aware. 

i made this ornament in elementary school during a class party.  julie pliner's mom came to do crafts with us.  the paper clips are a little tarnished, and i was a very sloppy hot gluer... but this is one of the few ornaments from my early child that survived the great crawl space flood of '96.

and this year we added a new ornament to our tree.  a very special ornament.  buddy's very first ornament.  he could have cared less... but to me, it meant the world.

i bought this ornament the first summer matthew and i were married.  in my garage sale hunting i came across this baby's first ornament.  i wondered what kind of mother would send her child's first ornament... and then a thought crossed my mind.  perhaps she bought these ornaments 15 years ago when she was young and hopeful and planning on a family, and after years of struggling to have a family, they gave up... and now she finally decided she could get rid of these ornaments.  and i wondered if matthew and i would ever be able to have children, but i knew we wanted them... and i bought it.  i payed a quarter for it i think.  and the years passed, and i pulled it out of the christmas box every year and looked at it, and put it back in the box for another year.  and i wondered...  i wondered if i would ever use it, or if in 15 years i would be trying to sell it for a quarter at a garage sale with my other dreams that were never realized.  i wondered until this year, when i had my beautiful baby boy laying on my lap and that garage sale baby's first ornament that i bought when i wondered if he would every exist.  and that 25 cent ornament was worth a million dollars to me.  it was the vision of a dream, and the realization of that dream.  and it is my baby boy.  my family.  my dream come true.

ps... check out Christmas is Happening... day one has one of my favorite christmas carols, sung by the lead man in one of my favorite bands.

pps... since we have the cutest baby in the world... go to and vote for the cutest baby. click on the photo contest at the top of the page.  click vote.  click search.  and search for Asher Max.  vote.  you can vote once a day for the entire month.  vote early, vote often.


  1. Love your tree. I just did a similar post about my "memory tree". It makes Christmas so much more meaningful and fun.

  2. Patrick10:57

    there I voted for him. looks like he has 35 votes.

  3. Guess what! That precious moments first Christmas ornament is the same one that I bought MATTHEW!!!

    It's a Christmas miracle.

  4. donna... oh my! i just noticed the date stamp on the bottom of the ornament, 1982... i had a fleeting moment thought if anyone we knew had the same ornament, or if it would be weird that buddy's first ornament is almst 30 years old. how perfect.

  5. the baby ornament story is so sweet. i'm going to find one to buy for my future child.

  6. Karen F.11:59

    I LOVE your decorations vintage and pretty. They remind me of Donna's house. I love winter and Christmas, my favorite time of the year is the weeks before Christmas, everyone is happier, there' so much hope for the upcoming new year, it's a time filled with excitement and anticipation for most of us.

    Enjoy your beautiful family, they are so lucky to have such a loving mom and wife.

  7. Lori in MN19:16

    We don't do the whole Santa thing either but we do have stockings and celebrate St. Nicholas Day on Dec. 6th. Since he was a real person and has a great story it is fun to read each year and then find surprises in our stockings on St. Nicholas Day.

  8. Anonymous17:49

    Beautiful once capture the memories adn feelings so beautifully. I love you Melinda Sue......:) -- mom

  9. I needed a little Christmas this morning and I got it here. That photo of that perfect little corner of your house?!?!?! AMAZING. I can't believe how you have transformed that place, Melinda. It's just so peaceful! I will have visible peace like that in my home.. someday. someday. someday.

    Loved the whole post. LOVED it.


  10. the internet must have eaten the comment i left last night.

    suffice to say:

    your home AMAZES me in it's simple gorgeousness.

    your tree is PERFECTION

    your writing makes me CRY.

    love you. COUNTING on seeing you. let us pray.


  11. steph... you are too sweet. someday, you can bring the kids and come SEE my house! you know we have an award winning zoo here?!


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