The Duchess Gertrude

Here we are on Christmas Eve. The bustle outside our doors is screaming of family merriment. (Mostly of merriment anyways…I am sure there are a few cross people.) The Olive’s are readying themselves for the annual Adam Christmas Eve celebration. And no that is not a clever play on mixing “Adam” into the “Eve” of Christmas: Adam is the family name of her grandfather. Before the season has past us by, I wanted to get up a few pictures of the uniqueness of our Christmas Decor. We start with The Duchess Gertrude–our Christmas tree. We decided that this year we were going to have a real tree. If you know Ellen and I well enough, you could imagine it is a rather unique tree. We wanted a unique tree because I had a unique idea on how to decorate it. Really it all began with the star: the rest just seemed to fall into place. The star is just two pieces of leaded glass wired together and then wired to a lamp kit from Urban Outfitters. With the star hung from the ceiling, we set out to find our tree. I wish it would have been equivalent to the trek from Christmas Vacation, but unlike the north: Houston does not get cold for Christmas.  Yesterday it was a mere 80 degrees outside. (BOO!!!) So with sweat beading from our foreheads 2 fortnights past, we searched to and fro at the Christmas tree farm for the perfect specimen. We nearly gave up and settled for Mr.VonPickens (an abandoned tree fit with stand). But the true meaning of Christmas tree hunting is only found when one can saw through the trunk of a noble pine in conquering fashion. It was as if a we were guided by fate to The Duchess Gertrude (on the very last row of the farm): wider than she was tall–I freed her from the bindings of Earth. Ellen and I brought her home to live with us until the time when she must leave this world. (At which point I plan on warming myself by the fire of her torching…sad.) We decorated her not with our traditional ornaments, but instead used yarn for tinsel with gold-leafed pine cones and “snow flakes” for ornaments. Finally above her is flown the Holiday message of “Merry Christmas” by the enchanted humming birds. (Actually I just bought the birds at Pier One and strung them up with fishing line. The letters I found at Hobby Lobby and is held by the same yarn as the tinsel.) Without any further ado:

This (above) was my answer as to what to do with our collection of ornaments. We do have a great collection starting. Our first Christmas together we bought 3 ornaments each to start our very own collection. They are all unique in their own way as well. The teddy bear is from Macy’s to commemorate our first trip to NYC. The snowmen lanterns were gifts from DeeDah. The stained glass pieces I made. The Mary Poppins umbrella is from Ellen’s trip to NYC with her mother. The “O” ornament was from a dear friend PJ. And the rest are from our start up collection or gifts from friends. We cherish them all. The tree is a tree made of yarn tied around a ladder looking piece that I rescued from the trash. (I sometimes drive around on trash day to rescue furniture being thrown away to give it new life.) I thought it turned out pretty neat.Yes that says naked days until Christmas. I am not sure how the joke was started but the word has been chalked on there since we bought it 3 years ago. Ellen and I love our Christmas Card stocking. We love that photo cards are now the norm for sending Christmas Cards. It is fun to catch up with people through their family photos. Thanks everyone who sends them. And just FYI (below) everyone makes it to our fridge for a few days until the new batch comes in and you get booted (hence the boot ornaments for a visual pun) to the stocking. You are all superstars at the Olive Home!:)  (The boot ornaments were gifts from Jess & Chris Hill’s rehearsal dinner in June 2008!)Our wreath: a gift from Mrs. Lezlie Armour (Ellen’s mother). We love it. And the piece hanging underneath it was a gift from the Thompsons from Adam Christmas Eve last year.The entry way with Santa keeping it real. (He is a jolly plush plump stuffed doll that sings when you press its hand…or at least he is supposed to. All he does is say Ho, Ho, Ho. Fitting.)And finally our mantle critters with the stockings hung with joy. Mr. and Mrs. Snow Head keep them hung with style…I hope you enjoyed a little glimpse into our home. Merry Christmas to all. And never forget: even though Christmas has become a very “commercial” holiday– celebrate the birth of Christ.  What a creative way to save the world.  We are grateful.  Joy to the world!!!

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