Finding Christmas JOY!

How Christmas Movies Gave Me Back My Holiday Spirit!

As I posted not too long ago,holiday traditions can be a challenge in the empty nest. All of our traditions are morphing and changing and turning into new ones. A new grandbaby is on the way, I’m leaving Christmas Day, Christmas won’t really be at our house this year, and I really wondered if there was any point in even decking the halls this year. And then, for some reason, I started watching Hallmark Christmas movies. Maybe because there wasn’t anything else on that night. Maybe I was tired of the stale news cycle, maybe I was tired of sad shows and cop shows and just downright ugliness in the world. Whatever the reason. I got caught up in the plot of one of the Christmas movies. Then another. Then another. (and yes, I know they’re all virtually the same movie, but with different actors, sometimes, but whatever). And before you know it, I felt the familiar joy well up in my heart, and that itch to festoon the house in ribbons and garland and tinsel and tradition. So that weekend after Thanksgiving I went to town. Actually, I may have done a bit before Thanksgiving. I used to be the Crazy Christmas Lady. Truly. There are numerous bins in our garage, in shelves built just for our Christmas collection of decor, lights, trees and well, stuff. Hallmark ornaments! Blown glass ornaments from Germany! Tons of Santas I used to collect. But I’m finding as the years pass, I’m becoming more sentimental, and tend to just want show off the pieces that have personal meaning and value to our family.

  • There’s our very first Christmas ornaments, handmade by one of my husband’s first employees, back in 1982. Hand Beaded and light blue, there’s one for each of us. Christmas isn’t Christmas unless they’re on the tree. They’re still so pretty. IMG_1296


  •  This ornament picturing my Mom and Dad taken a couple of years before we lost them. I remember this Christmas Day so well, and am so glad we have these pictures to remember them by. IMG_1294


  • This homemade ornament created by our talented daughter, Amanda. IMG_1257


  • This giant Santa that has moved around with us, and always seems at home near the tree. IMG_1253


  • This loved and worn Santa that my sister gave me when I was around 5 years old, and living in Finland.IMG_1269


  • The vintage pink ornaments I found in my Mom and Dad’s attic, along with this sweet little Moppets musical angel from my childhood that was tucked safely away, and still plays perfectly! I mixed the old ornaments with newer ones, and love how they blend together.IMG_1260IMG_1278


  • This old ceramic tree my Mom gave me years ago, that has graced many of the homes we’ve lived in. I remember thinking it was so cheesy when she gave it to me, but it’s ended up being one of my favorite things. IMG_1275


  • This beautiful Santa my sister in law Teresa made me years ago when she was into ceramics. I just love it! IMG_1281


  • And finally, the quilted stockings Mom made us in the early 90’s. I’ve changed out my ribbon and garland themes and colors over the years, but these stockings remain, no matter what else changes. They remind me of her, and all the Christmases that they’ve seen, filled to the brim with tiny treats, and lip balms and toothpaste, and socks, and perfume and ponytail holders and legos. IMG_1286


Just displaying all of those things brought me so much joy. It’s an eclectic collection of holiday memories through the decades we’ve been together. Who cares if nobody comes over to see? I will. My husband will. And they bring us joy in our empty nest. Memories and traditions and pieces of the past that we weave together with new memories and new grandbabies and happy wishes for us all. And that’s what’s needed right now!

And speaking of joy, the hubs and I enjoy the Magic Elf. You know the one I’m talking about right? The difference is, our Magic Elf, Bradley Sparkles, is extremely mischievous and has an adult sense of humor, since he visits adults. I’m not sure if he reports anything back to the North Pole about us. At least I hope he doesn’t. He just appeared this morning.  I highly doubt I’ll be able to highlight any of his escapades and keep my untarnished reputation. Sorry.

Say hi to Bradley! (Caught him hanging out in a couple of spots in the closet this afternoon)IMG_1298img_1210.jpg

What brings you joy this season? Do you have treasured ornaments or decorations that remind you of the past? Or newer things that help you embrace the future? Share with me! I’d love to hear about your Christmas treasures and traditions.


13 thoughts on “Finding Christmas JOY!

  1. I’m attempting to get myself into the Christmas spirit. I went out and bought a tree and decorations today. I lost my sister this year, followed by a cousin. It’s still very hard dealing with holidays since my mother’s death 4 years ago. But I’m determined to get into the holiday spirit. Maybe watching a few of my holiday movies will do just the trick as it did for you.

    Blessing to you. I’ve so been enjoying reading your blogs. I’m not even sure how I came across yours but I’m glad that I did 🙂

    1. I’m so very sorry for your losses. It does make it so much harder to dig down and find that joy we used to have, doesn’t it? Check out the hallmark channel for a few days. It might do the trick! Hugs to you.

  2. My Grandma loved making ceramics and she made a lot of those ceramic trees with lights. 🙂 She’s been gone a lot of years now, but I have a few precious pieces that she made for herself. Nostalgia.

  3. Some of my favorite things are the ornaments made by my kids from school and the special ornaments we bought for them each year. Some of them have seen better days, but still they remain. Now we buy a new special ornament for each of the grand littles every year. Only some unbreakable ornaments along with this years special ornaments will be in the tree this year (two year old, need I say more? Lol).

  4. I don’t decorate as much as I used to, but every piece I put out has a memory attached to it. I love this time of remembering.

  5. Absolutely loved this! Andy you have a gift. Thanks for the nostalgic feelings I got while looking at your pictures and reading the stories about your treasures. My television stays on the 2 Hallmark channels this time of year. It is a nice reprieve from all the ugliness in the world and reminds us that love is what we all need and it’s what we all seek. Remembering the love of God the Father who sent the best gift of all His Son who saves our souls. Treasure making these new memories and traditions. Love you sweet cousin of mine. Regina

  6. We are two peas in a pod!! I was exactly the same way……tons of Christmas things labeled in Rubbermaid totes and every nook and cranny of the house was covered. This year I thought I would downsize but before I knew it I had done quite a bit, not as much but I found that I was doing more sentimental things. I have my mother-in-law’s village (that my sister-in-law was going to throw away this year. She passed away in 2009) sitting on my piano beautifully displayed with all of her tiny little people, etc. I have my mom’s old Christmas play books from when we were in elementary Sunday School plays at church. I displayed them with my carolers. I have my trusted nativity scene on the mantel from years past. Ornaments on the tree share special meaning of our travels or when our kids were born or ornaments the girls made for their American Girl dolls when they were little. I love Hallmark movies even though we know how they will end. I love all things Christmas and the older I get the more value sentimental things hold. Merry Christmas and thank you for the sweet reminders and sharing your sentimental items with us!

  7. Oh and we have Bronco the Elf at our house. Each morning he does something mischievous and I send a pix to my great nephews for their enjoyment. I also send pix to my 28 and 24 year old daughters and my mom just because we get a kick out of it. I think I enjoy it as much as the little nephews do. And the Elf at Aunt Deanna’s house it only for fun and doesn’t ever tell bad things to Santa! 🙂

  8. My grandma had that same ceramic Christmas tree! My mom has it now, but it made my heart happy to see yours. That was part of every one of my Christmas’ for almost 30 years.

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