Christmas

Christmas Décor Tour (Part III)

Today is the last installment of my Christmas Décor Tour… Let’s check out my latest additions…

- Overview 1

-Topper

My Literary Tree was an inspired idea based on my own personal reading challenge/goals for the last two years. Each ornament represents a book I have read (not all books make the tree). I have typed and printed a list which details which book each ornament represents and a quote from the book. I made the tree topper, the garland and a few of the ornaments. Here is a closer look at some of the ornaments:

Atlas Shrugged
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it’s yours.”

To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
“Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”
(Another quote from this classic covers the fact that that is indeed a Blue Jay, not a Mockingbird: “Atticus said to Jem one day, “I’d rather you shot at tin cans in the backyard, but I know you’ll go after birds. Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it. “Your father’s right,” she said. “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing except make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corn cribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us.
That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”)

Animal Farm
Animal Farm by George Orwell
“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
“Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”

Jaws
Jaws by Peter Benchley
“You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

Road
The Road
by Cormac McCarthy
“Are you carrying the fire?”

Lord of the Rings
(from TreehouseIllustrator)
Lord of the Rings (trilogy), & The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”

Count of Monte Cristo
The Count of Monte Cristo
by Alexandre Dumas
“All human wisdom is contained in these two words—wait and hope.”

Longmire
Longmire
(series) by Craig Johnson
“I should protect and cherish the young, the old, and the infirm, because at some point I would be all of these things before my own journey ended.” The Dark Horse


Godfather
The Godfather by Mario Puzo
“A man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.” 

American Sniper
(from Lucky Dog Printing)
American Sniper by Chris Kyle
“The thing we all had in common wasn’t muscle; it was the will to do whatever it takes.”

Bible
The Holy Bible
“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. You will find me when you seek me, if you look for me in earnest.” Jeremiah 29:11-13

Slaughterhouse-Five
(from FredArndtArtworks)
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
“And I asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was,
how much was mine to keep.”

 

Robertson Books
Good Call by Jase Robertson
Blessed, Blessed…Blessed by Missy Robertson
Happy, Happy, Happy; unPHILtered by Phil Robertson
Si-cology 101 by Si Robertson
“Our founding fathers started this country and built it on God and His Word, and this country sure would be a better place to live and raise our children if we still followed their ideals and beliefs.” Happy, Happy, Happy

 

If I Stay
If I Stay; Where She Went by Gayle Forman
“Sometimes you make choices in life and sometimes choices make you.” If I Stay

The last part of this tour brings us back to the reason for the season. This nativity scene is very special to me. It was a 25th birthday gift from my parents; it is all the way from Hawaii. It is made of Tapa cloth, which is made from the inner bark of the Mulberry tree (the bark is beaten with a club until the pulp expands making layered sheets of cloth).

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Every tiny detail of this gift is beautiful!
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“Merry Christmas to all…”

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Christmas Décor Tour (Part II)

For the second part of my Christmas Décor Tour I give you, my Aggie Tree.

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This tree has many symbols of my time at university (footballs, basketballs and soccer balls to represent the games I attended; Miss Rev; homemade Fish Camp and bonfire ornaments…)

These are a few of my favorite parts of my Aggie Tree:

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I made this tree topper out of popsicle sticks. I modeled it off of the historic outhouses that topped the traditional Aggie Bonfire. 

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I created this ornament  with a picture I took of my Aggie Ring on a table a Koppe Bridge by the ’13 I carved the night before I graduated. The original “Christmas House” lady is the one who told me about PersonalizationMall.com (and I have ordered several ornaments from them since). They always have great sales going on and they generally have a 15-20% off coupon on RetailMeNot.com (or app).

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These great additions are from the cntrysisters on Etsy.

 

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This fighter jet represents all of the pre-game (football) flyovers.

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“Put a penny on Sully, and wish me some luck…” –Granger Smith
I found this beautiful piece of Aggieland at the Lucky Dog Printing shop on Etsy! LuckyDog Printing has great customer service and has sent me several promo codes since my original purchase.

 

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This is also a gem from PersonalizationMall.com. This one is made from a photograph I took at the best football game I have ever attended, Texas A&M University vs. the Nebraska Cornhuskers (11/20/2010). The game was so close, stressful, exciting and fantastic with a final score of 9-6! (After the game the field was stormed by students which are visible at the bottom of this ornament; a photo of the final score board is on the back of this unique treasure.)

 

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Every year Howdy pins are given out at home football games in Aggieland. I simply looped some ribbon to the pin part to turn my collection to turn them into ornaments, however this year they decorate under the tree.

 

The next part of our tour is my beautifully handcrafted “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” bedspread my mom made for me last year. Isn’t it beautiful?!

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Dr. Seuss’ whole story,
from “Every Who down in Who-ville liked Christmas a lot…” to
“He himself, the Grinch, carved the roast beast”,
is told in its iconic illustrations around the perimeter of the quilt.

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I found Max here.
P.S. – The ornament and quote pillows are backed in green and white houndstooth
(does my mom know me or what?!)

P.P.S. – I made the matchstick train at the top of this post in 2014.

 The last installment of Christmas Decor Tour is next Friday,
and I have saved some of the best parts for last.
Have a great weekend!

 

Christmas Décor Tour (Part I)

Late in 2013 my grandma was having some health problems so I spent the end of that November and the majority of that December staying with her. One of my favorite parts of that time I spent with her was our trip (with about twenty other little old ladies from her church group) to the next town over; there we visited the house of a very sweet woman with a fantastically immense collection of Christmas decorations. The moment I walked into her home I could feel the warmth of the season, along with her radiating joy for the opportunity to share her carefully curated collection with others.

While my grandma found it a bit tacky (due to her penny-pinching tendencies), I fell in love and quickly developed a desire to have a “Christmas House” of my own. Before we left, I had a chance to speak with the quirky collector; we instantly bonded over our love of Christmas and our familial connections to Texas A&M University.

I already had a few Christmas decorations from my years at university, but now I finally had something to really collect and a glittering vision in my mind. This month I am going to share some of my favorite pieces of my collection.

It is no secret that I love a good black and white houndstooth print. I found this adorable houndstooth reindeer in December of 2013 at Hobby Lobby; I was just beginning my collection for “My Christmas House”.

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In 2014 my mom saw these cute houndstooth moose, this perfectly plump houndstooth Santa, and presents for me!

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        Before my grandiose aspirations, my Christmas decoration collection revolved around a jingle bell theme, and for the most part it still does. When I first started picking out decorations I needed my own special niche – my mom has a very impressive Santa collection and my sister collects snowmen. Here are a few of my favorite jingle bell pieces…

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My Favorite Christmas Quotes from Books

“Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” –How the Grinch Stole Christmas

“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” –A Christmas Carol   

“Sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.” –The Polar Express   

“God bless us, everyone.” –A Christmas Carol   

“8 And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; 11 for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” ” –Luke 2:8-14

My Favorite Quotes from Christmas Movies

“Christmas isn’t just a day; it’s a frame of mind.” –Kris Kringle, Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!” –Buddy the Elf, Elf (2003)

“I never thought it was such a bad little tree. It’s not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love.” –Linus, A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

“There’s a certain magic that comes with the very first snow. For when the first snow is also a Christmas snow, well, something wonderful is bound to happen.” –Narrator, Frosty the Snowman (1969)

“Every time a bell rings… an angel gets his wings.” – Zuzu Bailey, It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

“Seeing isn’t believing; believing is seeing.” –Judy the Elf, The Santa Clause (1994)

 

Some of My favorite Quotes about Christmas

“I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“Christmas waves a magic wand over the world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” –Norman Vincent Peale

“When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.” – Bob Hope

Toys For Tots

Nothing is more special than Christmastime as a child. Can you imagine that time without any excitement? For some children Christmas lacks the extraordinary magic I recall.
With Toys for Tots we can do something to help them build wonderful memories…

“In 1995, the Secretary of Defense approved Toys for Tots as an official activity of the U. S. Marine Corps and an official mission of the Marine Corps Reserve.”

“The primary goal of Toys for Tots is to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens.”

“Most campaign sites are able to assist children up to age 12, but in many local communities, local support is such that the age limit may be extended to 14-16.”  There is no list of acceptable toys so as not to limit the variety available for distribution; the only types of toys that will not be distributed are toys with realistic looking weapons.

Like many other non-profit organizations, Toys for Tots displays the breakdown of their financials on their website. More than 97% of financial donations go to providing toys, books, and other gifts to less fortunate children. 2.80% of donations go to fundraising and .20% goes to cover overhead costs; “Not one donated dollar goes to pay for salaries or any other manpower costs.”

“While Toys for Tots Coordinators organize, coordinate and manage the campaign, the ultimate success depends on the support of the local community and the generosity of the people who donate toys.”

To donate your time this holiday season, or to find a location near you to drop off your new unwrapped toy donation click here. Most donations sites appear to end collection on December 13th this year, Make sure to check the dates for locations near you.
To make a financial donation to Toys For Tots, click here.
To request a toy for a child you know click here.

(Information taken from: www.toysfortots.org)

My 25 Favorite Christmas Songs

25. All I Want For Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth) (The Chipmunks)

24. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (Gene Autry)

23. Auld Lang Syne (Celtic Woman)

22. What Child Is This (Martina McBride)

21. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (Sugarland)

20. O Holy Night (Faith Hill or Martina McBride)

19. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Frank Sinatra)

18. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas (Bing Crosby)

17. Go Tell It On The Mountain (Dolly Parton)

16. A Holly Jolly Christmas (Burl Ives)

15. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (Andy Williams)

14. O Tannenbaum (Vince Guaradldi Trio)

13. Do You Hear What I Hear (Martina McBride)

12. Baby It’s Cold Outside (Dean Martin)

11. White Christmas (Bing Crosby)

10. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (MercyMe)

9. Joy to the World (Dolly Parton)

8. Silent Night (any version)

7. Carol of the Bells (Mannheim Steamroller)

6. Christmas/Sarajevo 12/24 (Insturmental) (Trans-Siberian Orchestra)

5. Mary Did you Know (Clay Walker)

4. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (Frank Sinatra)

3. Born on Christmas Day (Brad Paisley)

2. We Three Kings (Dolly Parton)

1. Little Drummer Boy (MercyMe, Josh Groban, Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, really any version – I just love this song)

 

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?