Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wednesday's "What If's Post"…What If I Told You I Almost Cancelled My Own Party?

If you had asked me last week how I was feeling about hosting our annual Christmas Party I would've been quite honest and told you that I was absolutely dreading it…stressed out…wishing I could cancel it, trying to come up with a believable illness…you name it! Truth be told, I wasn't even all that fired up about Christmas or Christmas decorating! When you own a shop that begins selling and decorating for Christmas in October it really does take some of the joy away! ( which is why I love that picture above from Pinterest! It brings me joy!) In years past, it hasn't bothered me this much! ( I'm being very open here!) This year…it really did bother me and it also bothered me that I could absolutely not get excited about this party! Not to mention, I had menus galore swirling in my head but had no one to talk to about it because I didn't want them to know my frustrations!
I'm one of those people that wants everything to appear perfect and have it seem like it was nothing to host this dinner and then still be able to say,"Yes, we'd even love for you to come back tomorrow night for leftovers!" I really do wish I had that personality! But I most definitely do not! Then, I ran into one of the sweetest friends I've ever had…we were actually pregnant at the same time with our youngest sons…and our daughters were in each other's weddings, etc…etc…. She lost her husband just a couple of months ago to a rare form of eye cancer…I hadn't seen her since his incredible funeral and yet, we live 5 doors down from each other…
Really, Carolyn? Yes, really…I hadn't talked to her since the funeral because I'd been busy…it hit me like a ton of bricks that I would never, EVER be THAT busy again! We have three close friends that have lost either a spouse or a parent and this is their first Christmas without them…now THAT is something I need to be concerned about and not about my feelings of dread or inadequacy! 
When we talked, she told me how she was not in the Christmas spirit at all! I felt like I'd been hit by a mack truck…who was I to dread the holidays and think that life was so busy I couldn't even enjoy hosting a party for all of my best friends! This woman, this incredible woman is facing her first Christmas without her husband! She doesn't even feel like decorating! Imagine that! And here I was thinking I was the only one that felt like that!
I'm determined to get her into the Christmas spirit! Her four children will be here with her so I know that will help…but it's still not the same as it used to be! It never will be!
So, as I'm getting ready for the party this Saturday I thought I'd show you a couple of things we've put out so far and also be thinking of things to help those that are really hurting during this holiday season to get in the holiday spirit!…Keep in mind, no greenery is in place! It's been too hot to do that in Alabama until today! The high was 40 degrees! Now, I can bring in the greenery! 

One of the things I love most about Christmas is my collection of nativities…I love them for many reasons but the main one is that they represent the real, true meaning of Christmas! Just imagine them with a bit of lacy Smilax vine or some of my wonderful Cryptomeria draped on the mantels and tabletops as well! I will definitely post pictures after the party so you can see it.

I told you in a previous post that you can see HERE that I was doing all of the decorating myself for the first time in many years…I'm not doing a fabulous job, but it will do! And Jim is happy….

More Nativities!

And then we move to my collection of Nutcrackers! Wow, I collect a lot of things, don't I?

When I first opened Mulberry Heights Antiques…I went to an antique show and this Welsh Dresser was probably the first thing I ever bought thinking I would sell it…it's still in my sunroom! I don't EVER plan on selling it! I simply love it! I think I love it because it is simple and right now I love simple!

Here are a few more Nativities…most were given to me by another dear neighbor/friend, Michele! I love them and I treasure them! Michele lost her father suddenly just 3 weeks ago...

 And then, there is is this one… I love the little figures…even though we are missing two Wisemen! Jim's Aunt Martha gave this to us so many years ago when our children were very young! Now I love to have these out in my home in hopes that Layton will grow to love them and look forward to seeing them every year! Aunt Martha lost her husband ( Jim's uncle) to pancreatic cancer a couple of years ago…he was a Rock in our family…a true Gem…we miss him terribly but his legacy lives on!

I think about Aunt Martha and Uncle John every time I put this nativity out! I treasure it!

And my all time love is my collection of Caroler's that my mother adds to every year! Or at least she used to! I don't have room for any more of them, but I sure do love them!

 What do you love to collect? Is there a favorite Christmas decoration that you treasure? Is there one that stirs up those wonderful memories of long ago? Most of mine add up to one big memory and I love that! Great memories and wonderful traditions that involve family and friends are what make me really happy!
Hey, I guess that's why I'm having this annual party even though it's hard!

I will forever keep those memories of happy Christmases and family get togethers in my mind and in my heart…and even "heirlooms" like this music box brought to us from Jim's parents when they went to Germany…for some reason this thing stole my heart the moment they gave it to us and I've protected it like the Hope Diamond! For the life of me I can't figure out why except that it was a special memory that I never wanted to forget!

Just like these ornaments on my tree…the pictures of all three of my precious children…they hang in clusters on my tree…along with the ornaments they made me throughout their school age years…and I will Never Ever part with them! 

They will always hold the front and center part of my tree…they are my anchor! And now, I even have Layton's to add to that mix! Can you stand it?

Layton made us that crown last year in K-4!

 I feel like I should've warned you early on that this wouldn't be a short, care free post! But I'm so thankful you stopped by! I'm all for being honest and real these days! Kind of like showing you my decorations with no greenery…it is what it is!! 
And I know for certain that you will all be so kind to read this and think nice things…what I really want you to know is how much I've loved getting to know you and that I hope each of us truly enjoys the real meaning of Christmas! 
Do you know that Miller and I actually set out tonight to find a homeless man we saw as we came home from Costco today? After hearing WALES GOEBEL talk about BROTHER BRYAN I can't very well pass up someone that is cold…and hungry…we took him coats…but we couldn't find him tonight. We plan to go look for him tomorrow. We will keep you posted. I just love having Miller back for a little while! Even if it's a just a little while! What a sweetie! He takes after his older brother, Mitch! The sweetie of all sweeties…a then there's Holly…(we can't go there now!) Just know that I am proud of all three of them! And very thankful for the time to have Miller home and be a family again!
And I'm thankful to be getting ready for a party! I am blessed with many friends and I'm very excited about seeing them all!

 Just look at this cute group! I think all of them will be here this year as well! We shall see!
Much love to you and many wishes for you to have the Merriest of Christmases! 


  1. Hi my friend, the holidays can be funny that way - I have had years when I felt like that as well. Focus on family and friends who love you just the way you are; I am sure they think you are a dynamo even when you are not feeling it yourself. You have a beautiful Nativity collection, (the carolers are absolutely charming, too!) and the house looks very festive. I have a collection of carved wooden Santas that began when we moved to Vermont, I haven't added to it in a few year because I wouldn't be able to fit any more on my mantle. You'll see a photo next week. ;-)

  2. Carolyn....I have had such a hard time getting in the mood for Christmas......My Father was diagnosed with Cancer. He has a tumor behind the eye and it has destroyed the nerve behind the eye...he has lost vision out of that eye. Your house looks beautiful and I'm so glad you had the party...looks like everyone had a great time!

  3. Carolyn,
    I so understand.....I haven't gone all out inside this year and with a house guest arriving tomorrow, asked my husband if we could get busy on decorating when he gets home tonight!! I often find, whether it's a party or a house helps motivate you!

    My heart goes out to your friends who have lost loved ones this year. The holidays are especially trying times for them. I know you'll see you friend many times in the next 5 months! :)

    Loving all your nativities...and what a gorgeous group of friends. I'm sure they were thrilled that you didn't cancel your annual party. And, I'll bet it help you get into the spirit, having all their positive energy in your home.

    Merry merry!
    xoxo Elizabeth

  4. Hi Carolyn...thanks for this honest post. Who hasn't felt that way at one time or another? I threw this luncheon today for 28 ladies and I could soooo relate what you were saying, I was even coming up with ideas of "getting sick" actually feeling totally overwhelmed, but then something happened, I started counting my blessings as I saw a young soldier, his wife and 2 darling kids taking Christmas pictures and I got the feeling they either hadn't seen each other in a long time or were about to say goodbye, and then I thought THIS is my biggest problem? I wanted to spank me:) So....I brushed myself off, got busy decorating, got very busy with all the luncheon preparations and guess what it turned out to be a really fabulous day! Not to mention my very good friend whose mother died a year ago had been feeling melancholy about her mom not being here and she told me this really made her happy and that she felt her mothers spirit with us today. So...bottom line, we should think about all the great things, the reasons we have to celebrate life and good things and I can nearly assure you, you WILL get in the spirit and it will all work out.
    Your decorations are looking fabulous and your group looks like a lot of fun and is quite good looking too! Good luck I really rambled!

  5. Love this post. Your honesty is touching and refreshing. We all have times when we can't seem to get on board. Looks like you found some reasons to count your blessings. I will keep your friend in my prayers. Must be so hard for her. So glad Miller is home. So cool about the coats - home you find the homeless man who needs them. xo

  6. Love this post and glad you are helping a friend get into the spirit. Your decor looks beautiful and would put anyone in the spirit. I saw your German music box and I just got my first one this year. I laughed about the Hope Diamond reference. Mine went carry on in the airplane with me and was so protected and not over packed so it would be safe.

  7. Carolyn-
    I am laughing at your comment about the Carolers. They truly fill your mantel. So funny and gorgeous. You home looks amazing, and I am in love with your nativities. They are stunning.
    Just calm down. It will all be ok. You are trying to do too much.
    Doesn't it break your heart to know people, including children, are out in this weather? We have a lot to be thankful for.
    Have a nice party, and enjoy yourself.
    Happy Wednesday.

  8. Hi Carolyn,

    All your Nativities are beautiful and those Carolers are so much fun. I like the expressions on their faces.

    On the subject of stress and trying to achieve perfection.. I can imagine how you feel given the fact that you are decorating in October with the business. Entertaining is a challenge for most of us. Some women seem to have a casual spirit that allows them to entertain without worry. I'm certainly not one of those women, ha! I've had to scale back a little this year. My work has been tiring and I just don't have the energy to menu plan and clean when I get home at the end of a long day.

    Having events catered and help with the house cleaning is the way to go if it's in the budget. Most people don't have that option I would assume. What really matters is the time that you are spending with your friends (such a handsome group;) People remember events .. not how clean the house is or whether or not it's decorated like a Pinterest picture :)

    Everything will turn out perfectly and it's wonderful that you are having friends over that could use a little holiday cheer.. :)


  9. Hi, Carolyn -

    You did an beautiful job decorating the house! I love your Nativity figures. I actually would love a collection for the table behind our sofa in the family room.

    I did not decorate our shop this year for Christmas :( Just too busy, and we do not get a lot of holiday traffic. You have just inspired me....perhaps I'll throw something together this weekend.

    I'm so sorry to hear about your friends---it's so sad and difficult to lose a loved one, especially this time of year.

    Thank you for sharing your lovely home with us!! I love the carolers :)

    Happy Holidays!
    Take care, and enjoy your party ~