As you can see, I've added a few lights on the inside that add to the holiday look outside.  I put some white lights in the sidelights at the front door and a single candle in each of the upstairs windows.  I'd love to put one up in the attic but the attic freaks me out.  Maybe I'll try to work up the guts tomorrow.  As you can see I also have a tree.

I don't do a lot of decorating inside...

...but a little Currier and Ives print comes out... well as my collection of wooden Santas but a Christmas tree is the one thing I do faithfully. 

Growing up, picking out and decorating the Christmas tree is one of the few things that I can remember doing as a family.  My great uncle, Uncle Gus, had a small nursery with two or three greenhouses and about an acre of trees and evergreens.  All of us would go after church in early December to Uncle Gus' field to pick out and cut down the tree.  Even if the first tree we saw was great, we'd reject it so we could keep looking for the perfect one.  I miss those "real" trees that were never meticulously trimmed into perfect cones.   

Now that I live in the city, the closest thing I get to cutting down my own tree is driving 15 minutes to the country--okay, work with me here!--to Wilson Farms in Lexington, Mass.  

It's just a short ride but you really do feel like you're in the country.

The parking lot overlooks their greenhouses and this time of year there are poinsettias as far as you can see.  Uncle Gus would have loved to have seen this.

I can only imagine what this looks like from the farmhouses up on the hill.

They have wreaths in all shapes and sizes...


...traditional garland, swags...

...and even some unusual things I've never seen before like this red ruscus.

I picked my tree, which is trimmed perfectly into an unnatural form.  800 lights later, I'm ready to decorate.

I don't know if my mother had some incredible foresight or if she was just trying to get rid of junk in the house but at one point she split up all of the Christmas ornaments and presented me with a box on one of my vacations home.  Each year  at Christmas, I unwrap my treasures and I'm immediately connected to memories of Christmases past.  I love these mercury glass beads to start the tree trimming.

These little angels hung on fishing line over my mother's nativity.

These are from the year my mother wanted to have an all green and white tree.  I remember going to the store to buy a few boxes of these ornaments.  I was lucky enough to get a whole box of these.  The price on the box is marked 88 cents.

Some of these were on my grandmother's tree.

This ornament is one of the earliest ones I can remember.  I remember staring into this beautiful blue ball at Santa Claus and dreaming of what he might bring me that year.

This bird ornament is one of several we made as a craft project with my mother when we were kids.  A small nest is glued on a clothes pin and spray painted gold.  A few pearl "eggs" were glued in the nest and a red velvet cardinal was added.  I love these because they clip to a branch and look very natural sitting in the tree.

I bought a bunch of partridges last year to make a more of these but I never got around to it.  I was hoping to find a single tiny pear to put in each nest.

The clip-on candle holders were my great grandmother's from Germany.  I was fortunate to have the opportunity to know all of my grandparents and great grandparents.  I have a million questions I'd like to ask them today that I never would have thought of as a kid, but having that connection to three older generations of my family now gives me the interest in researching who they were and where they came from.

This is another one of my favorite ornaments even though it's from not so long ago.  It reminds me of a short time I lived in New York City.  I thought if I could make it there, I could make it anywhere.  And I couldn't.  I love New York but I couldn't live there.  I lived there for one Christmas season and I bought this ornament.  This ornament reminds me that  I should try to happy with what I have. 

This beaded bell was made by my grandmother.  She was very talented with this kind of thing.  She was always knitting, crocheting, beading, tatting something.  She taught me that hard work and patience pays off. 

Here's the cardinal clothespin ornament sitting among my other Christmas memories.  

The beaded star.

Seeing these ornaments each year helps keep fresh the memories of Christmas past and those loved ones who are no longer with us.

Although these ornaments don't have the same meaning to my friends, they always love to come over to sit in the light of the Christmas tree and become almost hypnotized by all of the ornaments.

Do you have ornaments that have been passed down through your family?  If not, I hope you'll consider starting this tradition so your children and grandchildren, decades from now, fondly remember you and the Christmases of their past.

Merry Christmas, everyone!