Hey there friends, and welcome to my contribution to Boomama’s Christmas Tour of Homes, and the tour going on at Hooked on Houses. Let this post be a window into what a treeless Christmas looks like! Why treeless, you ask? Well, let me tell you. Since we are going home to Texas for Christmas, and because my two daughters are away at college and meeting us in Texas, Hubs suggested that we not put up the tree this year. At first, I was aghast at his suggestion. No tree? For the first time, not just in our 25 years of marriage, but, well, EVER in my LIFE? It helps to understand that ours is a tree from the pre-already-put-together-and-lit generation of artificial trees, and while it is huge and gorgeous, it take FOR.EV.ER. to put together. The more I thought about it, the more his suggestion made sense. So, I put a few other Christmasy touches around the house, and called it festive. Allow me to show you around.

As you approach my house, here’s the greeting:
I actually used two table sprays and, after adding ribbon, turned and hung them as “wreaths”:
As you enter and look to the left, you’ll see our nativity from ye olde Sears and Roebuck, circa 1986:
Should you look closely, you’d see that this little number has been loved and played with over the years; just ask this member of the Magi and the (one-winged) Angel herself:

I will never replace this because how in the world do you replace the memory of your children loving a nativity to near-ruin? Oh, that they would continue to love it to such extent.

Just beyond the nativity is our dining room, set with a conglomeration of antique glass ornaments, velvet and greenery, poinsettias and Mary and Joseph on their way home from the stable. 
I love the way he’s looking at them:
From the entry, if you looked straight ahead, you’d see this on the living room coffee table. Simple, yes, but these are two Santas from my youth, their memory alive from a very early age:
Moving on into the kitchen, this frosty little guy graces our kitchen table:
On the bar, you’ll see the $20 tree I bought at Walgreens (because nothing says Christmas like Walgreens). This was the beginning of my realization that I’d made a tragic error by not putting up my actual tree. Surrounding it are all of our Christmas card pictures over the years, framed in Christmas frames. This is one of my favorite things, as it chronicles the girls’ lives and lets me relive some sweet Christmases:

Tucked in a corner of the kitchen cabinets are my collection of Christmas mugs, a Santa my mom painted for me years ago and another precious ode to my past, my first nativity:

In another corner, a collection of Christmas cookbooks:

Beyond the kitchen in the family room, is our mantle. It’s very simply decorated this year with a Santa holding two little dolls in his bag (representative of my own two little dolls, of course) and the girls’ stockings. I made and painted these when they were small, angels kneeling at the manger, topped with pieces of their great-grandmother’s lace:

Even though I have all these representations of the Season surrounding me and Christmas music playing 24/7, there still has been the ever-present feeling that something is missing. Could a tree be that important? I’ve come to realize that, for me, the answer is YES. 
Certainly, it symbolizes all the Christmases that we’ve celebrated over the years, the memories of my children, wide-eyed with wonder on Christmas mornings past. It holds the products of their hands made in the school room, at a Girl Scout troop meeting, in Sunday School or at our own kitchen table. But more, what struck me in its absence was that it wasn’t just any tree but a symbol of a tree that would come some thirty-three years after the stable. The tree that held the first Christmas gift, a living sacrifice that bled and died so that I might live. Christmas is incomplete without the tree, just as the nativity is incomplete without the crucifixion and the resurrection that followed.
Perhaps I wouldn’t have learned this special lesson, had I put up my tree as usual. But I now know that our home will never be without it again. Oh how I look forward to basking in the glow of the trees at the homes of our parents in Texas! Henceforth, I’ll never look at them the same.
May your Christmas around your own trees, circled by the ones you love with lights reflecting in their eyes and hearts, be one of extraordinary warmth and gratitude – for them and the One who was the most perfect ornament a tree ever wore.
The merriest of Christmases to you and yours, from me and mine.