Ho ho hoooo boy. My holiday decor highlights.

I’m not a very sentimental person. I’ve shoved heirlooms into closets, squirreled away family photos and pitched old love letters in the recycling bin, all in the name of chaos control. Of course, afterwards I’m usually filled with two-slices-of-cake-and-three-glasses-of-champagne level regret. But that doesn’t curtail my enthusiasm for tyrannical tidying.

The exception: Christmas decorations.

Some people decorate with taste and elegance. I deck our ranch-style house halls with the reckless abandon of a preschooler turned loose with a bottle of Elmer’s and a pile of glitter. My favorite decorations are the old crusty ones. The ones with history. Memories.  Significance. Some are cute. Others, battered. A few are a little weird. All hold a special place in my heart.

Here, then, is a brief overview of some of my faves.

This is much cuter in person and doesn’t look like Santa’s being besieged by dandruff.

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? We were married January 1, and my best friend’s folks gifted us with this cute snow globe/music box the week before so that we could enjoy our first Christmas with a little bit of jolliness. Adorbs. And, of my favorites, it’s at the top of the classy scale.



Ah, yes. My husband’s ski dolls. One Christmas, my mom gave him a battery charger, which he loved. Then, for reasons unknown, insisted on exchanging it for “Erik and Eva,” ski dolls who hailed from the land of the ice and snow. I’m not sure if she wanted to share her Norse roots, thought he needed dolls who fancied winter sports, or had a credit with the Lillian Vernon company. In any case, Erik and Eva make an appearance every year, much to our delight.



We’re not quite sure what this is. An orange pickle? An overgrown, jaundiced icicle? Leavings from Santa’s’ reindeer? It’s one of the many ornaments created by our son using that medium so often favored by elementary schools: papier-mâché.


Speaking of kid creations, here’s a cutie from our daughter, which she made during her preschool years. Dawwwwww. I can still remember how proud she was when she gave it to us.


Okay, one more kid-made thing—because you can’t beat crafts that involve pasta.


Here’s an Advent wreath I made. As you can probably tell, I’m not much for crafting. After I completed it, my husband examined its squashed bows and lopsided sides and said, “Be sure to tell people you made it.” Um, I think they know.


I present our 42 Piece Lighted Victorian Village. Which is EXACTLY how we refer to it.

“Hey, can you help me set up the 42 Piece Lighted Victorian Village?”

“Oh shoot. We have a burned out bulb in the 42 Piece Lighted Victorian Village.”

“Looks like someone’s taken a nasty fall on the aluminum foil pond in the 42 Piece Lighted Victorian Village.”

It’s also important that the listener hears the capitalization in the moniker.

The main feature of our 42 Piece Lighted Victorian Village is its storytelling potential. We make up stories about the buildings and characters that inhabit this tiny hamlet. The boy perched atop a pickle barrel? He’s on break from the café, which serves only Gherkins. The man whose arm has been broken off? Tragic stocking-hanging incident. The women huddled over a songbook? Co-conspirators in the crime of the century. Our Victorian village is a real hot spot.


This is perhaps my favorite Christmas item, although it’s actually two items and fits under the category of “apparel” rather than “décor.” I gave these Christmas Vacation sweatshirts to our dear friends (and two of our favorite people on the planet), Ed and Martín a couple of years ago. It’s one of our favorite, most quoted movies—one we’ve seen together time and again—and these shirts give me much joy. Just like Ed and Martín. ❤

How about you? Do you have holiday décor, ornaments or bric-a-brac that hold special meaning? Please share!


37 thoughts on “Ho ho hoooo boy. My holiday decor highlights.

  1. Aw, I love all of your homemade items. I have two ornaments made by a couple of kids I know. They’re not fancy, but they’re my most special Christmas things. Sadly, I’m not quite sure I know what they’re supposed to be. But the kids sure do look proud when they finally present them to you, don’t they?

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Kathleen, what a hoot. I love the “42 Piece Lighted Victorian Village.”

    I have a ton of ceramics that were painted by my grandfather and Every. Single. One. Of. Them. must come out at Christmas. My husband obliges. And I kept all the cheesy kid-make ornaments for years – until my kids said “no more” and made sure they mysteriously disappeared. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The hand-painted ceramics sound amazing! What a labor of love. (And such talent!) The kids are mortified that I drag out their old ornaments every year. This year, Cecilia asked if we could buy some “real” ornaments. I told her these are as real as they get.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Great response!! And so true. My poor son has a photo ornament with his 6th grade or so basketball photo. He has a Luke Skywalker bowl cut. Looks just like him! Except the bangs are waaaay to short and he’s missing 2 teeth. The photo is also a magnet for our fridge. My son hides it elsewhere every time he visits. He is now 29.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Kathy, this is my very favorite thing today!

    It’s clear to me that Cecilia is such a good crafter because of her enormous hands. They work hard for her.

    I think we have that same village. And now I will begin referring to it by its full Christian name.

    One of my favorite ornaments is one I made years ago. I smashed 5 soda [probably beer] cans. When smashed properly, they look like faces, so the little tab becomes a red tongue and … well, you get it. They’re blue and glittery. I glued them down a strip of wide ribbon so they look like a totem pole of cherubic carolers. They’re ridiculous and make me smile every time I see them. Oh! and one year we all made pinecone skiers wearing felt scarves, standing on popsicle stick skis and such. They never stand up properly but we have fun sending them through the 42 Piece Lighted Victorian Village, and if we’re really testing the Naughty and Nice list, through the creche, waking baby Jesus and annoying the exhausted Mary and Joseph.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. My fav décor? The village we create 1 piece at a time. I need to look at the list and see what is still missing. Can you imagine? I looked at them last year, and I had a village with no post office or school! How is that possible?
    Tree décor?
    I once had a tree that was all twas the night before Christmas themed. However, over the years, things got broken, and now we ornaments with mini themes. I have a theme ofall my Sur La Table ornaments (note, need to get more!). A theme of mice and stockings. A theme of the 12 Days of Christmas. A theme of White House ornaments (I have everything up until 2015 (note, get 2016-2019 now!). A theme of coca cola (thanks to my ex husband). You get the jist.
    It becomes a tree that makes no sense, but it’s so darn cute!

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Agreed. The metamorphosis of decorations is fun to see. We were poor little churchmice when we first got married and for years our decorations consisted solely of things we could make out of paper. We still have all of them, btw. Then our daughter was born in late Oct and ornaments became the gift we received for her which began our tradition of theme ornaments for the kids every year and ornaments from everywhere we travel.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. LOVE everything about this, Kathy! I’m in awe of the obviously well-made macaroni art angel! (The macaroni usually falls off.)
    We used to buy Christmas ornaments as souvenirs everywhere we traveled. It was a nice way to remember our trips. These days it’s more like, “Where did we get this one?” Always label!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The macaroni angel makes me think of the Macaroni Midler “Seinfeld” storyline. And you’re so right about labeling! I’m always convinced that things happened three years ago. (What a great idea to buy ornament souvenirs!!)

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Vickie, I remember watching a Christmas movie the last couple of weeks where the couple had purchased ornaments every time they were in a hospital, or at airport kiosks. What great memories!

      Liked by 4 people

  6. Thanks for sharing a very brief but important part of your life.
    I love all the cute ornaments, I only have one from my older kids that I refused to hand over when they moved out on their own and put up their first tree.
    I’ll send you a picture of the ornament sentenced to life in my Christmas box jail.
    I also have a 42+ piece Christmas Village, picture to follow after this weekend.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. My mom occasionally hosted my older brothers’ Boy Scout troop meetings and always picked December as the time to do it, so she could lead them Christmas tree ornament-making workshops. And since I was…well…around, I’d get to participate. My favorite is a Santa made of a wooden spoon, red tissue paper, and cotton wool. I still have it, and it brings a smile every year as I place it on the tree.

    But now I am so jonesing for a 42 Piece Lighted Victorian Village. (Do they still sell them?)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There is apparently a tradition where you are supposed to hide the Xmas Pickle Ornament and the person who spots it on the tree receives good luck for the coming year. Good luck with the orange one, tho, lol. (Also, don’t hide so well that no one finds the pickle and it goes through the tree-chipper.)

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Kathy, What an adorable post!! Love all of your ornaments and especially your advent wreath. And the village, of course, b/c I’m a about them!! My favorite childhood ornament other than my kids’ is a sparkly, bright pink gumdrop man from the 60s. It was hanging in the store from a beam above my mom’s head. She reached up to check the price tag and it crashed to the floor and broke. The sales lady made her buy it and my mom was so ticked. I lovingly glued it back together and it has a place of honor in each year. I warn everyone not to touch it.

    Liked by 1 person

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