Friday, March 8, 2013


I learned to love the holidays from my mother, who no matter how limited her resources, always found a way to make the holidays a magical time for her children.  My father, although present, did not help, so mom did everything by herself.

On top of her other duties of being a full time registered nurse, caring for us children, keeping the house, and making delicious meals; mom put up and decorated the tree.  She baked Toll House cookies, made peanut brittle, homemade fudge, and baked tons of pies.  Mom shopped for our gifts and wrapped them.  My mother made Christmas a joy that replays over and over happily in my memories.

I have several themes by which I decorate the house for Christmas: African American nativity scenes, African American angel figurinnes, needlepoint stockings and tree skirts, and red poinsettias.

My mother's last Christmas [before she died of congestive heart failure] was made joyful for her when she received my gift of an African American nativity set.  Mother had always wanted a nativity set and never had the resources to get one.  The one I bought mom was very special.

From Enesco's Mahogany Princess Collection is the 1998 Mahogany Miracle Entire Nativity Scene. Artist Ed Van Rosmalen's figurines are breath-taking in their beautifully inspired design and intricately detailed sculpture. Sleek, striking, sophisticated and timeless-thanks to Ed Van Rosmalen's infusion of energy and talent.  This made a wonderful Christmas gift for her.

My mom would sit for hours in the chair beside the table where the nativity scene was set up.  Sometimes she would touch a figure and she would smile................

I also bought mother angel figurinnes that were to me a symbol of my hope that she would be protected by angels.  My favorites were from the Ed Van Rosmalen Mahogany Princess collection and they matched the Mahogany Miracle nativity set exactly.

On the top of the list of decorating items are the Needlepoint Christmas stockings that come in different designs -- my mother loved the ones I bought her for her last Christmas. I hung them on the staircase, doors, and even at the Christmas tree to give the house an elegant and impressive look.

I replaced the tired angel tree topper with a very lovely one with silk robes and a beautiful china head.  I bought dozens of finely crafted angel ornaments by Mahogany Princess, Hallmark, and other good companies.  Strands of clear acrylic angel lights replaced old fraying ones.

Our old Christmas tree skirt was looking tatty, so I purchased a beautiful wool needlepoint dark blue background with a pattern of gaily colored Christmas ornaments.  The festive colors of this gorgeous piece raised the bar on the luxuriousness of the whole room.  This tree skirt measured 42 inches across.

 Poinsettia  -  Also known as the Christmas Star and Christmas Flower, it’s said that this winter flower’s association with Christmas comes from a Mexican legend. The story goes that a child, with no means for a grander gift, gathered humble weeds from the side of the road to place at the church altAr on Christmas Eve. As the congregation witnessed a Christmas miracle, the weeds turned into brilliant red and green flowers.

While considered by the ancient Aztecs to be symbols of purity, in today's language of flowers, red, white or pink poinsettias, the December birth flower, symbolize good cheer and success and are said to bring wishes of mirth and celebration.

For mom's last Christmas I bought some really nice red silk poinsettia potted plant arrangements, made red silk poinsettia covered lighted evergreen window and door wreaths, and red silk poinsettia evergreen stairway garlands all enhanced with big beautiful gold glittery ribbon bows. 

My relatives all were very impressed and kept complimenting me, but I didn't do it for compliments, I did it to show my mother I appreciated her and everything she had done for me.  So these are the decorating themes I still follow.