Saturday, December 1, 2012

"It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas..."

I can't believe that it's December 1st already.  Where has this year gone?  It seems like Christmas gets here faster with each year that passes!  

In celebration of this festive month, I thought I'd share a few piccys of our Christmas decorations. :)  (Some of this may be a bit repetitive from previous years, so bear with me.) ;)

Here is our lovely tree.  We had a great time setting it up and decorating it last weekend. :)

There are many special ornaments that grace our tree's branches.  I thought I'd take the time to share just a few of them with you:

This little ornament was one I gave to Hubby when we were still in high school and just dating.  I wrote a story to go along with it (which he still has).  I was a little bit nervous about giving him a cutesy mouse ornament, but he still ended up marrying me, so it must not have been too bad. ;)

This is Pinky.  She's a little bear (or maybe mouse?) ornament that was always my very favorite when I was a little girl.  She's made out of cheap plastic covered with flocking, and she's dingy from years of use, but I still love her.  Every time I hang her on the tree, it brings me back to those Christmases when I was a child, hanging ornaments with my little brother. :)

This unicorn was another of my childhood ornaments.  I love his festive red and green horn.

Of course, my tree has several Beauty and the Beast ornaments. :)  This is one of my favorites. 

Snow White is Middle Gal's favorite princess...she loves hanging this one up. 

I really love this Giselle ornament from the Disney Store.  It's huge, but so elegant. 

This was one of my Christmas gifts from my mom and dad a couple of Christmases ago.  When you turn the golden handle in front, the princes and princesses go through the archway together.

I always love putting out my crocheted snowman family.  My grandma made a family like this for my mom and dad, and I always loved it growing up.  When I got married, my mom asked one of the ladies in our church to make me my own family.  She made an additional snowman for each of my younger two daughters the Christmases after they were born. 

When Hubby and I were first married, we invested in a couple of the beautiful Nativity sets sold at Costco.  We both felt it was important to have a visual reminder of the purpose of the Christmas season.  The girls love watching me unpack the Nativity Scene each year.  Here is the main part, displayed on the piano.

One thing that's become a yearly tradition is that Oldest Gal always makes a star to hang over the Nativity Scene. :)

I also had to share this picture.  When I was in college, I worked at our local Christian book store.  In 2001,  Morgan Weistling painted this painting, entitled:  "Kissing the Face of God".  It depicts Mary tenderly kissing Baby Jesus' face.  I absolutely fell in love with the painting, but it was way too expensive for my college budget. ;)  Thankfully, the print was made into an oversized Christmas card a few years ago, so now I have my own little framed copy. :)

Another tradition we have is to put the Wise Men in a separate location from the rest of the Nativity.  It is likely that Baby Jesus was around 2 years old when the Wise Men came to bring him their gifts.  We also have 4 Wise Men because we don't really know how many there were (people just assume there were three because of the three gifts and the popular Christmas carol "We Three Kings"). :)

Yet another tradition we enjoy is counting down to Christmas with our advent calendars.  This year, we have three, so each of the gals will get to do a calendar each day. :)

This little snowman always shows up somewhere in my living room.  He was a gift from my best friend, and I always think of her when I put him out. :)

I usually hang these glittery ornaments to these shelves to give them a dash of Christmas cheer. :)

Even the dolls are all decked out for Christmas! :D  Yesterday, I finally got their little tree up and got everyone in their holiday finery.

Tess and Maggie should have a post up soon on their blog describing their Christmas preparations. :)

Christmas has always been my favorite holiday, but as I've gotten older, I've gained a better understanding of how hard it is to keep the true "Reason for the Season" in the center of our celebration.  It's easy to get so caught up in the decorating, the shopping, the Christmas program practices, and the parties and activities that we forget the whole purpose of Christmas:  remembering Christ's birth as a human baby.  Of course, He didn't remain a baby, "wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger"...He grew up and died on a cruel cross, taking the punishment for our sins on Himself.  On the third day, He rose again, triumphant over death.

  My earnest prayer, this season and always, is that I would remember the amazing reason I have to celebrate:  I am a child of the King who loved me enough to die for me. 

More posts to come! :)


Natasha Marie said...

We always put our Wise Men in a separate spot from the Nativity scene, too, and move them a little bit closer each day. They usually arrive sometime around New Years Eve...unless we forget to move them;)

I loved seeing some of your Christmas decorations! :)

Merry Christmas!

Abilene Lilac said...

Your tree is beautiful! I also love your nativity set. It's nice to see that people remember the true meaning of Christmas. (Although, the decorating sure is fun :D). Where did you get Charlie's dress? The light blue color suits her so well.

Abilene Lilac said...

*my bad, that's Hailey in the picture...I saw the red hair and got confused.

Bama said...

Lovely decorations and a very touching post. I hope everyone remembers the true reason we celebrate Christmas.

beastsbelle said...

Thanks, Tasha. :) I love your idea about moving the Wise Men a little closer each day. :)

Hi Abilene. Hailey's dress is from American Girl. It's the Ballet Recital outfit from the Just Like You (now My American Girl) line, released in 2006. I'm actually borrowing it from my mom, as I was a few fancy dresses short this year. :)

And I agree, I think it looks great with Hailey's coloring. :) It's been fun to try out a few new dresses and see how they look on my dolls. My mom's very sweet to lend them to me.

Serenata said...

Lovely post, and gorgeous decorations with their wonderful memories they invoke.

beastsbelle said...

Thanks, gals. :)

beastsbelle said...

P.S. Abilene, I forgot to mention that I also enjoy seeing that others still remember the true meaning of Christmas. :)

Jen said...

Wonderful post! I think you will be able to keep the focus on the Real Reason for this celebration just fine!

Julia said...

SOOOOOOO Cute! I love Christmas too. Do you have some sort of doll gift guide? I found this informative article that compares different doll makers. Great resource for deciding which doll items are right for you and your holiday wishlist! I'm wondering what you think of the dolls on the list? I want a special doll for my little girl

beastsbelle said...

Thanks, gals. :)

Julia, a doll gift guide is a great idea for a future post...thanks! :)

Thanks for the link, by the way. Unfortunately, several of the dolls on the list (Pen Pal Girls, Tonner Dolls, Kidz n Cats Dolls, My Twinn dolls, and Carpatina Dolls) are lines that I've had limited or no exposure to, so I can't really give an informed opinion. Here's what I can say about each, though:

1. I just heard about the Pen Pal Girls last week, and I'd like to find out a little more about them before recommending or not recommending them. I think the idea is great. :)

2. I've heard a lot of good things about Tonner dolls, but they're waaayyy out of my price range, so I've never had a chance to add one to my collection.

3. The same goes for the Kidz n Cats Dolls.

4. I'm still hoping to snag a secondhand My Twinn doll to do a review. I think some of them are really cute, but I'm not a fan of all of their face molds, and it doesn't seem like the dolls always end up looking "just like" the children they're ordered for.

5. You can probably tell that I love American Girl dolls. ;)

6. I love the clothing from Carpatina Dolls (especially the clothing made for AG and other compatible dolls), but I don't care as much for the faces of the actual Carpatina dolls (ESPECIALLY the boy dolls!).

7. I like a lot of the Our Generation clothing (out of all of the less-expensive doll lines, the OG clothing is one of the best), but I'm not a fan of the dolls. Their hair is low quality, their faces are not my favorite, and I don't care for the way their arms curve at a different angle, almost giving them a football player look in the shoulders.

8. Journey Girls have lovely faces but do not stand very well on their own and have very thinly rooted hair. Also, unlike the OG dolls, they cannot share clothing with American Girl or other similar dolls because they are much thinner.

Yikes, I hope this didn't sound too negative. Out of all of the dolls on the list, American Girl dolls are the ones I'm the most familiar with and the ones I like the best. I know they can be especially pricey, though, so if this is an issue I would recommend trying to find a nice used one on eBay or Craigslist.

Sadly, the off-brand 18" dolls I like the best, the Alexander Girlz dolls made by the Madame Alexander company, are no longer being sold in stores this year. :(

If you'd like to see some of the dolls I've reviewed and hear my thoughts on them, you can click the "Doll Product Reviews" link at the top of the blog, right under my header picture.

In the meantime, I'll start my doll recommendation post! :)

Hope this helps a bit. :}