Christmas 2011: The Nativity

Our Nativity scene has a Scandinavian twist.

Kris’ grandma Charlene gave us this Nativity set last year.  Since I didn’t make it to Nebraska last wintertime, I saw it for the first time a few days ago.  We’ve got all the figures set up, with 2 special additions, Dala horses.  There’s Mary, Joesph, an angel, shepherd, and various farm animals; the Dala horses fit right in.

You may notice that the Baby Jesus is not in His crib.  I’ve hidden Baby Jesus until Christmas Day.  Traditionally in Latino households, Baby Jesus gets put in his crib when the family comes back from midnight mass.  The 3 Wise Men are also seemingly MIA.  They are across the room, next to the stereo.  Every few days I move them closer to the manger set, but they won’t show up until the Feast of the Ephiphany, 12 days after Christmas, January 6th.


Our Christmas Tree 2011

Right now, upon entering our house, a sweet, woodsy smell of evergreen gushes out as soon as the door opens.  We have set up our Christmas tree, and it is making itself at home, filling our living room with its pine fragrance, my favorite smell of Christmastime.  Evergreen is the smell of comfort and nostalgia.  I associate it with friends, family, Christmas lights, fires in the fireplace, hot cocoa, snuggling, and Christmas carols.  It’s coming home from midnight mass to a quiet and dark house, solely lit by the tiny lights of the Christmas tree and a whiff of pine.

When Kris and I got our first tree, it was a little 3 foot tree that we set up on top of our coffee table.  We didn’t have any ornaments at the time, but I found some golden ornament balls near the dumpster at our apartment building.  One of our neighbors must have changed their tree color scheme and left them out for someone else to use.  Lucky us!  We went out and bought one pretty ornament each, a tradition we continue to this day, and that year, 2008, we had a tree full of golden ornaments and two random ones.  The simplicity of tree decoration didn’t matter though because it still filled the apartment with its pine smell.

This year we have a 5 foot tree, a stout Noble Fir with sturdy branches.  Last night we decorated it to the sounds of Christmas music.

Around the tree are various ornaments.  What I love about Christmas ornaments are the memories and stories they remind me of.

Various star-shaped straw ornaments that were my decoration last year.

A few first year ornaments as wedding and First Christmas together gifts.

These stuffed ornaments were made by my mom over 30 years ago.  I grew up hanging these ornaments, and my mom kindly gave us half of her collection for our own tree.  (Look I’m saying hello through the golden ornaments!)

She also gave us these cute snowmen from her accumulated collection of ornaments.

We have crystal ornaments from my mother-in-law, Pat.

And ornaments from Michele, a woman I call my second mother; may she rest in peace.

We can’t forget this ornament.  

Kris wanted to throw it away, but I told him that my neighbor from when we moved into our first house in Livermore made me this when I was in elementary school.  It used to have a cotton-ball handmade bear attached to a green ornament ball.  But, during our first Christmas with our dog, Titania, she found that low-hanging ornament, and then I found the handmade bear and green ball ripped to pieces by the backdoor.  I will keep shell though because now it has 2 stories.

Instead of getting an ornament each, we bought an elegant angel tree topper.  She’s playing a glittered lute and has a gold and white dress that drapes over the tip of the tree.  Kris arranged the last Christmas lights to go inside her dress so she lights up when the lights are on.

It is starting to feel more like Christmas as we put more and more decorations up.