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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Chistmas/God Jul

Merry Christmas from the Brooks household.  Kate, Jack, Allie, Ron and I hope you are all having a peaceful day filled with family, friends and fun. The sun is shining in Sandusky and there is only a slight dusting of snow on the ground. Last night, Terri Estel and I walked up and down the streets lined with luminaries. It was a silent night and absolutely beautiful.
Christmas memories for me revolve around Swedish traditions. My Great Grandmother, Charlotta Lambert Lee,  came over from Sweden when she was just 16. In her later years, when I knew her, she lived with my grandparents in Omaha, Nebraska. My dad's sister, Marj, made Swedish breads and cookies from family recipes. We always had lutefisk for Christmas Eve dinner and then opened presents around the tree.

 
I started collecting Swedish Christmas ornaments around 1986 with my friend, Janet Ford. Her grandparents were also from Sweden. We attempted to recreate  Swedish treats every December until we found a Swedish bakery in Chicago. After several years of flying to Chicago, just to pick up the Christmas goodies, they started a mailorder business...just for us!


We both started decorating our trees with Swedish flags, candles, gnomes, goats, red ornaments and straw creations.

In addition to Swedish influences, Ron and I always decorate around our favorite things.

 



 
This year, we added the cool sign that we purchased in an antique mall. It is painted on part of a door and looks nice on our dining room mantel.

This is the back parlor mantel. Santa leave presents in the stockings and around the fireplace here. He's been visiting here every year since 1907 when the house was built.
 
 
We forgot to leave out cookies this year, but, we did leave out a pitcher of bloody marys that he seemed to enjoy.
 
My Great Aunt Alberta (age 102) gave me some of her tree ornaments a few years ago and I like to put them in a glass bowl on the coffee table.
 
 
Can you see the collection of sheep around this tree at the top of our staircase? You might have to click on the photo to see it better.
 
 
Jorden, Paulette's 6 year old granddaugher, helped me get the American Girls ready for the holidays. That's Julie, Kristen, and Molly, in our living room. I'm not sure why they are all wearing glasses, but, I can ask Jorden about that later today.

 
This is the time of year to get out the Christmas bears and the antique ceramic tree for the fireplace mantel in the bedroom.
 
Santas pop up all over the kitchen.
 
 


They are all handmade from a gentleman in Berlin Heights, Ohio. I love their sweet faces.

No surface is without a Christmas collection of some sort!
 
The Spode Christmas plates debuted in 1938. According to one of my favorite books, Dish, there were no Christmas-themed china patterns until this one. Still in production, it is the most popular china pattern of all time. I've been collecting it since 1974 when my Aunt Marj gave me some of her. Every Christmas, my friend, Janet, gives me a special piece to add to the display.

My mom sent this photo to me. Right away I remembered the doll. When I showed the photo to Janet, she said, that's a tiny tears doll. Ebay is an amazing way to recollect your past, and I now have a tiny tears doll again (she's in the kitchen on the shelf with the santas) She's wearing a crocheted shawl that my Grandma Lee made for her. I found something similar for my "new" doll.

Christmas is such a special time of love and laughter.  I love wearing goofy reindeer headbands and giving presents to family, friends, and even strangers. Seeing Allie snoozing contentedly in a pile of gift wrap is a joy. Having Kate and Jack survive consumption of a whole pound of Ghiradelli semi-sweet morsels yesterday is another blessing. That our vet would take the call at 5pm on Christmas Eve is a miracle. I loved that Ron gave me the same present that he did two years ago...that he forgot about...an ISO Cool pillow. Phone calls from my mom in California have kept the Christmas spirit close. Visits with Paulette and Bob and their families are savored. I hope, you too, are having a great Christmas. Send me some of your favorite memories when you have the time.