Family Room Christmas Tree
Each year at the Jerry home, we have two decorated Christmas trees. Both trees are eight foot tall. The first and fullest tree is in the family room. Each year, silk poinsettias form a swirl on the tree, which looks pretty with or without the lights.
One year, I left the poinsettias off to be different and caught grief from my youngest daughter, so it has become the tradition to include poinsettias on the tree.
There are 22 sets of lights on this tree! They are wrapped around every branch! It takes about one day to cart the tree, two sections at a time, from the basement to the family room, set it up and put the lights on it. At the end of the day, I always plug the lights in and just enjoy the beauty of over 2200 twinkling lights. (Some sets are 150 and some are 100.)
Each year, we bought Christmas ornaments for each of the kids and they are displayed on this tree. It brings back so many memories of vacations, where we found unique ornaments and memories of Christmas past.
We have discontinued that, since the kids are grown, and someday, we will be passing their respective ornaments onto each of them, so they will have lovely memories as they decorate their own trees, too.
The Christmas Story Tree
The Christmas Story tree is displayed on the catwalk, which overlooks the family room and the foyer, which has a second story window. The tree is visible from the street.
I saw this idea in a book a long time ago and just loved the idea. When I worked at the local bank, I was allowed to decorate the lobby for Christmas one year. There was not a lot of money available for decorations, so this idea was perfect!
Using sheets of 8.5″ x 14″ copy paper, I printed out the Christmas Story in Old English type. I could usually get two verses to a sheet since they are printed lengthwise (landscape) on the paper. Then, the type was cut out into strips, leaving a margin around the words.
Wanting the strips to look antiqued, a couple at a time were placed in a baking tray. Tea bags, which had been soaked in boiling hot water, were used to blot tea stain onto the lettered strips of paper until the desired effect was achieved. They were left to air dry, and if needed, blotted again with the tea bags.
Once the strips were dry, the edges were painted with a dark brown acrylic paint, so the paper looked worn and torn.
The papers were flat, so each was curled over the edge of the counter, to give the paper a little curve. (This is the same concept as curling a ribbon with scissors. You can see the before and after in the pictures to the left.) The ends were curled in the opposite direction of the middle.
The tree was a hit, and one customer asked if she could have the whole story! For such a minimal cost, the effect is really rich looking when the glow from the lights illuminates the ochre colored papers.
Obviously, I have kept the papers and decorate our tree with them, each year, reading and enjoying the story, as it is woven around, in and out of the branches on our tree.
The Christmas Game
This Christmas 2015, for the first time ever, we will be playing a “Christmas Game”, which I came across on Pinterest. The inspiration for the game came from Natalie, who has a blog, which you can find here►Let’s Get Together.
The idea is to collect inexpensive presents for everyone who will be at the Christmas party and wrap them. Cash or gift cards can be hidden in some of the gifts. Natalie’s family wraps three gifts for each person. At this point in time, I am only wrapping one gift for each person. I just came across this last week and don’t have enough time, but maybe next year!
We are having eighteen people here so eighteen numbers will be written on pieces of paper and drawn from a hat. Number one goes first and chooses a gift and opens it. Number two goes next. That person can pick another gift from the pile or steal an opened one from someone else. The person with the stolen gift can either choose another gift from the pile or steal from someone else.
The game resumes and the next number is in play. A gift can only be stolen three times before it is dead and can’t be stolen again. (Most of us have probably played a similar game with co-workers, but everyone brought a gift.)
I thought this was a great idea, but I took it a little farther and chose some cheesy sayings, which were also inspired by some pins on Pinterest, to accompany the gifts. I am sure some of the puns will get some laughs and perhaps some will receive winces of pain, but it should be fun.
Here are the gifts, wrapped and ready to go, prominently displayed on the coffee table in the family room.
The Christmas Game
Tags for Gifts – 2015
Feel free to copy and use these for your personal use.
The ‘Blowing Christmas Wishes Your Way” gift can be ‘bubbles’ or ‘bubble bath’.
“Wishing you warm and cozy toes All winter long” gift can be a couple of pairs of socks.
“May your days be merry and sprite” gift can be a mini pack of Sprite.
“Happy Holiday from you Nacho very ordinary family” gift can be a bag of Nachos.
“You’re Gettin’ Muffin for Christmas gift can be a box of muffin mix or some fresh muffins.
“May your days be Merry and Bright” can be a flashlight, or we found a 3-pack of flashlights.
“Just a Note of Sweet Christmas Tidings” gift tag was attached to a large Symphony candy bar.
“Wishing you a beary Merry Christmas” was tucked in the tissue paper covering a little stuffed Teddy bear, but Gummi Bears could be used, too.
“The Kentucky Holiday Bubble Bath Kit” was a box of bean soup with a bottle of hot sauce.
“These are Mint to wish you a Magical and Merry Christmas” tag was taped on the top of a box of Andes Mints, but another kind of mint could be used, too. A “20” dollar bill was tucked inside the sleeve on this box, which worked really well.
“Christmas is a time of cheer with warmest wishes for a bright New Year” accompanied a gift set of two mugs and hot cocoa mix.
“Rudolph the red toes Reindeer” gift was a bottle of red finger nail polish and polish remover.
“Have a rootin’ tootin’ Christmas” was a can of beans and a can of root beer. I stacked the root beer on top of the can of beans and rolled it up in tissue paper, tied a red gingham ribbon on the tissue paper, and placed inside a wine gift bag. Yes, I think it was mistaken for a bottle of wine.
“Merry kissmas and a chappy new year” was included on a cute 2-pack of flavored lip balm.
“Hand Santa-tizer” obviously was included with a two-pack of hand sanitizers.
“Wishing you a holiday season full of Peace, Joy, and Soap” and “We wash you a Merry Christmas” were both taped to a designer bar of soap in a gift box.
Christmas Tags 2016
“The Dove is a symbol of Peace, Purity, and Love. Remember the Reason for the Season! Merry Christmas!” tag was included in a package filled with milk chocolate Dove candies.
“Warmest wishes this Holiday Season! Merry Christmas!” was included with a fleece throw but could also be used for a pair of gloves.
“Hope Your Holiday is Buckets of Fun!” This was not used this year but another metal bucket had been intended to be filled with craft items or goodies and a movie for a movie night.
“We hope this helps Spread some Holiday Cheer! Merry Christmas!” was intended to be included with some jam, jelly, or a spread with a decorative holiday spreader.
“Spread Cheer Not Germs!” had been intended to be included with some hand sanitizers.
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