Patrick's mom, Helga, has recently passed down many of the traditional German Christmas decorations that Patrick grew up with to us, including this beautiful steckpyramide. If you've never seen one of these in person, it's really pretty because once the candles heat up, the whole pyramid starts spinning on its own. There are fan blades at the top which you can see more clearly in the photo of our whole bar below.
All of the little figures are hand-carved and in their original boxes from the workshop she bought them at in Germany. Helga bought these sometime in the late 60s, we think. She had recently wed Patrick's dad & moved from her home of Juegesheim in central Germany to Houston, Texas - can you imagine the culture shock?!
For some reason, that little tree stump is my favorite - it's just so darn cute!
Here's a wider shot showing our makeshift mantelpiece, since we don't have a fire place in this house (click for larger view). I think the bar makes a pretty good substitute, although I do miss cuddling up by the fire on cold evenings. We've got our quirky, mismatched snowman stockings hanging from it, lights draped all around, and some silver & blue paper chains I made many years ago when we got our first live Christmas tree for the apartment we were living in in Seattle & were a little short on decorations! The tree took up the whole living room, but it was beautiful. ahh, memories... There's also a little ceramic Christmas tree, complete with working lights, that my mom made for us. I love it; seems like all the ladies in my family had these when I was growing up, so it's a lovely bit of nostalgia for me.
We've also got a humongous bowl of tasty pecans from my parents' tree. yum! and yes, that is a lobster cracker not a nut cracker, but it works just the same!
We've got a little collection of decorative nutcrackers, too, also courtesy of Helga. The one in front with his majestic red coat & fluffy beard is my favorite, but he's a mass-produced item from a German department store. The one behind him with the brown hat is a handmade, one-of-a-kind nutcracker, so he's a really special one.
Here's our new ornament for 2009 - an awesome glittery, aqua blue(!) reindeer, purchased on clearance for about $2. Gotta love that! It's a little tradition of ours to pick out one new ornament for our tree together every year - but just one. So we have to pick carefully (and I'm always partial to glittery reindeer). Many of the other ornaments are hand-me-downs from friends & family, so we have an eclectic assortment of old & new. They're all in various shades of blue & silver though, which I think looks absolutely gorgeous on our white tree, which was also a major clearance deal. It's a floor model we got for about $20 at Home Depot one year the day after Christmas, right after deciding that live trees were too hard on our sinuses and we needed to go with fake trees from then on - very serendipitous! We weren't even shopping for a tree, but how could we pass up that deal?
Hope you've enjoyed a peek at our home all decked out for the season. Happy Holidays & the very merriest 2010 to you & yours!