Tag Archives: Christmas Tree

Deck the Halls!

Zuniga-Odom Christmas Tree 2016

Zuniga-Odom Christmas Tree 2016

It’s officially Christmas at our house!  While everyone else was shopping on Black Friday, I was at home getting all our Christmas decorations out and up around the house.  It doesn’t take as long as it used to since I organized my decorations by room and labeled everything.  It took a little time one year after Christmas but it was so worth it!

On Friday, my husband did his part and put our pre-lit tree together. Later that day I added some large white star lights to it and got it ready for the family to decorate it together today.  We’ve had a full house this weekend and it has been so nice.

Our 2016 Hallmark ornaments to add to our growing collection.

Our 2016 Hallmark ornaments to add to our growing collection.

So after a late lunch of left-over taco soup, I put on some Christmas music and we got started.  As I mentioned in my Hallmark Obsession post a few days ago, I add to my Hallmark ornament collection every year.  I always put the new ornaments out on the dining room table for the kids to see and then they race to add their favorite to the tree.  Then the singing and the storytelling begins as everyone sifts through the two large storage containers full of Hallmark ornaments dating back to 1973.  At some point someone – usually my husband – remarks that the tree is getting full and there is no more room.  I am always determined to prove him wrong and keep adding in little nooks and crannies.  I’ll also rearrange a section to add a larger ornament to a limb where a smaller one is taking up too much space.  My kids swear I rearrange most of the tree when they are gone but that’s not true.  Instead, I walk around the tree to see which ornaments they have selected to adorn the tree that particular year.  We have so many that I love to see what strikes them as special.  My son-in-law, Ryan, is a real trooper and hangs in there with me to keep adding ornaments when the others have given up!  This year he broke one of the ornaments – which is really not a big deal – and I said “that’s why we have super glue!”  He said “now I really feel like part of the family!”  Usually, my husband, Eddie is the one who breaks something!  Everyone had a good laugh about that…

Our ginormous collection of Hallmark ornaments in these two huge storage containers.  I used to put them back into their individual boxes for many years but it got too tedious so I just keep the boxes in the attic now.

Our ginormous collection of Hallmark ornaments in these two huge storage containers. I used to put them back into their individual boxes for many years but it got too tedious so I just keep the boxes in the attic now.

After the tree is complete, I unveil the family ornament.  Each year since 1989, when my son was born, I have bought a handmade ornament with our names and the year on it.  I never really thought about what a tradition this was until I had collected about 10 years worth.  When we got Lucy, our pup, I added her to the ornament.  Now we have added my son-in-law, Ryan and their pup, Lucia.  So my challenge has been to find an ornament with space for 8 people on it.  I like to select it myself and make it a surprise for everyone each year.  I’m so glad I accidentally fell into this family tradition and love looking at the different designs from over the years.

The 2016 Odom family ornament!

The 2016 Odom family ornament!

Finally, we take family photos in front of the completed tree.  I can always count on this being one time of the year when we are all together and can get these photos so I really do cherish them.  Kind of like first day of school photos…I always knew I would get those too!

Admiring our tree this year...

Admiring our tree this year…

Soon after the photos were taken, all the kids scattered and went to their respective homes.  The house is quiet again.  I stopped briefly to enjoy a glass of wine and watch the tree against a background of Christmas music.

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My Mexican Christmas Tree

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Two of my Mexican tin ornaments…

I have always loved Mexican tin ornaments…so shiny and colorful!  I began collecting them many years ago but never really had a way to display them.  Our family Christmas tree has always been decorated only with Hallmark ornaments.  And I’ve been collecting Hallmark ornaments  since they first came out in 1973 – but that’s a story for another post…

I know it was a few years after we moved into our house in Hoover, AL, that I decided to have a Mexican tree in my family room.  It started slowly…we had a small tree we used in our apartment while we were waiting for our house to be built.  It was the perfect size for our family room.  So I put together and began decorating.  I used poinsettia stems and the tin ornaments the first year.  And I added chili pepper lights in green and red too – for a little zing!  I remember the first year only having a few strings of chili pepper lights.  A friend of mine who loves day after Christmas shopping, found a few more sets one year and called me to see if I wanted any.  I said “YES!” and said picked them up for me.   I used those lights until just two years ago when so many had gone out I decided to just use multi-colored lights because I couldn’t find chili pepper lights anywhere in town.

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The purple sugar skull ornament that I found recently at Myers Plants and Pottery in Pelham, AL

Every year, I try to add something new to the tree.  Every time I’ve traveled to New Mexico, Colorado and California, I’ve brought back an ornament.  One year I found a few small sombreros and decided to use them as a tree topper.  Worked out better than I thought it would!  Locally, I’ve found ornaments at World Market and Target.  This year, I went by Myers Plants and Pottery in Pelham, AL,  and found two sugar skull ornaments to add to the tree – one in white and the other purple.   Finding these at Myers was a total shock!  Then again, this is the place where I’ve found amazing Talavera pottery pieces too so…

 

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My daughter Emily places poinsettia flowers around the tree before we began decorating with the ornaments.

This year, my daughter Emily helped me with the Mexican tree.  We worked together so seamlessly and had it done in no time.  After I added the multi-colored lights, she quickly began filling in the spaces with poinsettia flowers.  We worked on the ornaments together and each one filled the perfect spot.  I remember when my kids were little and would clump ornaments into one spot.  After we were done, I would “re-distribute” the ornaments around the tree to even things out.  That wasn’t the case today.  Emily knew exactly what looked good and where to place things.  As a final touch, we picked up the tree skirt and together worked it around the base of the tree.  Then we placed the pewter manger under the tree.  On either side of the manger, we placed a Mexican mariachi nutcracker and a Mexican Santa doll.  Next year, we’ll add red pepper lights back to the tree.  My sweet husband found a few boxes while he was out running errands earlier in the day and brought them home for me!

IMG_8207I’m looking at the Mexican tree now as I write this…so peaceful…so beautiful…so colorful…and so Mexican!

Feliz Navidad!

 

 

 

 

 

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Unpacking the poinsettia flowers, pewter manger and sombrero tree toppers for the Mexican tree.

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First step after adding lights is to add the Poinsettia flowers…

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Wreath tin ornament on the left that I bought in San Antonio, Texas…sugar skull ornament on the right. I found this one at Target a few years ago.

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No Mexican tree would be complete without the Virgen de Guadalupe ornament. In fact…I have several on the tree.

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I have several of these ornaments on the tree. I made several of these last year as thank you gifts to my HICA – Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama – board members. The Monarch butterfly is a symbol of immigration.

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This white sugar skull ornament came from Myers Plants and pottery in Pelham, AL.

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My Mexican Mariachi Santa ornament!

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My pewter manger that sits under my Mexican tree every year…

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A Trip to At Home…

A new store called At Home opened near my house recently.  I had no idea what this store was about but curiosity was piqued after my daughter went by and loved it and then my mother said she went by and bought a few things.

So today, after spending several hours with my daughter and our wedding planners (my daughter is getting married in April next year – more on that in a later post), we decided to check it out together.  There are still a number of empty spaces in the store  – some shelves are empty and waiting to be filled – but their Christmas items are out in full force and everything is color coordinated and presented by theme.

Since we were in wedding mode, we found a number of items in burlap in the Christmas section that will work nicely for my daughter’s wedding.  We made a note of those items and continued our exploration.  Then suddenly…I spotted an entire shelf unit of Mexican pottery!  YES!!!  Score!!!  So beautiful!!!!  And now I must have them…

IMG_7591These pottery items are rather large but I can see them gracing my deck next spring with lovely plants.  I can also see them on my front doorstep on either side of my front door.  So many possibilities…  Of course, this store now has my full attention since they carry Mexican pottery.  I’m just hoping they will continue to get a nice selection and a variety as the seasons change.  Time will tell, and I’ll be checking on them!

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IMG_7595Of course, when I’m with my daughter (or any of my kids), we have a great time cutting up and today was no exception.  Down one aisle, we spotted some New York storage boxes that looked like suitcases.  This immediately bought the musical “Singing in the Rain” to our minds and the song “Broadway Melody” where Gene Kelly struts across a stage swinging his suitcases and singing “gotta dance!”   My daughter decided to recreate the scene and of course, I got a photo of it!  Oh…and I think I forgot to mention that it’s not unusual for me and my girls  to break into song at the drop of a hat.  It gets especially crazy when I’m with my sisters!  I love that this has carried over to my kids!

On our way out of the store, we passed the colorful Christmas trees again.  I remember our family having an aluminum Christmas tree when I was growing up in Puerto Rico.  My mother would put it on the marble coffee table and then place a four color wheel light next to it.  Well, now you can apparently get these trees in multiple colors!  My daughter found one in purple, her favorite color, and of course now she wants one.  The trick will be to convince her future husband that this is the tree for them!  This should be interesting…

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Did I mention it was a fun day??!!!