When I unpacked the ornaments decorate the tree in the bedroom, there among the fancy velvet ho ho ho and the glitter stars and the monogrammed wood cutouts….
….I found an ornament someone gave us the year we got married.
It’s a simple clear circle without a lot of fanfare.
Just two doves and a heart and the words “Our First Christmas Together.”
Years later 37 boxes of Christmas decorations live in our upstairs attic and I would trade every single one for this ornament. I can remember when it hung on a tree with only a box of shiny red ornaments and a little ribbon to keep it company.
I’ve never forgotten that tree.
And not just for that beautiful ornament hanging from its branches.
Here’s one of my favorite stories the second time around….
….because that’s the way the cookie crumbles.
The first Christmas we spent together, we were newly married and living in an old farmhouse that had seen better days.
And all we had to our name was some wedding china and a few pieces of furniture our family had given us. Living on love without anything left over for Christmas decorations.
To save money, we went to a neighbor’s farm and cut down a tree.
It was kind of a Charlie Brown Christmas tree….there were big branches missing and it kind of leaned and looked like at any moment…..
….without the slightest bit of provocation….it would topple over.
But I didn’t care.
I loved it.
It was my first Christmas tree and I cut ribbons and made them into bows and tucked pine cones in it and hung those shiny red ornaments on every branch.
And then….for the finishing touch….the icing on my Charlie Brown tree….
….I baked dozens of gingerbread men.
They weren’t very fancy ginger people.
And they looked more like ginger blobs then men….but I decorated them with great gusto and Christmas cheer and hung them everywhere.
I hung them on the tree with ribbons.
I hung them in the windows and doors and from the back of chairs and cupboards.
It seemed that every inch of that old farmhouse was covered with grinning….bright-eyed…..bow-tie wearing….
An entire farmhouse decorated from almost nothing.
I was so proud.
So all about myself and my budget Christmas decorations.
Gingerbread men made a house look like a million dollar decorator stopped by. Who knew?
It wasn’t until later that my husband called me into the kitchen.
“Why did you make the gingerbread men with only one leg?” he asked in a puzzled voice.
We both turned to the smiling bedazzled gingerbread man hanging in the window.
I just shrugged.
“It must have broken when I hung him up there,” I said with a smile. ”But at least he’s cute.”
We smiled at each other and our little one-legged gingerbread man in our little farmhouse festooned with homemade Christmas decorations.
Decorated with love.
I was so busy over the next week….wrapping and drinking hot chocolate and window shopping and watching “Prancer” on television….
….that I forgot all about the gingerbread man with the missing leg.
Until I saw another one on the tree…..
…..missing part of his head.
And another one….missing part of his arm.
And then…..I heard one as it dropped to the ground…..
….completely chewed to pieces.
And jumped on a chair.
Wildly hopping around and hands waving and yelling for my husband to immediately get every gingerbread man out of our farmhouse….as far away as possible.
Because those half-eaten gingerbread men were no accident.
It seems we had plenty of friends….
….friends of the furry four-legged whiskered variety that were enjoying Christmas at the farmhouse, too.
I don’t think I really ever recovered.
As a matter of fact….I’m positive.
Because when I unpacked those 37 boxes of Christmas decorations…..full of ornaments and garland and trees and mistletoe…..I double checked one more time…..just to be sure…..
…..that there was not a gingerbread man in sight.
It’s day 12 of the 12 days of Christmas and I’m so happy that you joined us along the way.
And now for some more Christmas inspiration from some of my favorite people.
Click on the links below to take you to the projects.