Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Merry Duchess Christmas

Let's start at the very beginning.
It's a very good place to start...

I have mentioned that  I'm somewhat of  a simplist and a Christmas decorating dork. 
The Duchess,  however,  is just the opposite.

Around town, they call her
 The Christmas Lady.

 Her home is decorated inside and out.
The outside is always designed for children
and it's different every year.

She makes every bit of it herself.
At 72, she can still run a jig saw with the best of them.

She welcomes anyone, especially children,
 inside to visit and take a peek.

 Inside, she has  trees in every room.  

But to understand the trees,
 you have to understand how the whole thing started.  
  Like most of us, I grew up with a single tree.  

You see, for five long years back in the 90's, my dad fought cancer.  His treatments required weekly trips four hours away to Atlanta.  Every Wednesday, Dad and the Duchess would head to Atlanta, where they would sit for hours for his chemotherapy. It made for very long days.  As she became more comfortable with the area, he encouraged her to venture out a bit.  What she discovered just around the corner was a new store that she had never heard of before. It was called...


And not far from Michaels,
she spied a Christmas Shop. 

 And that's how the whole thing started. While Dad had his chemotherapy, The Duchess embarked on some craft therapy of the Christmas sort. Every year, she planned, purchased, and crafted a new themed tree, believing the whole time that my dad would be around to enjoy it. It put the sparkle back in her eye and hope back in her heart. Dad approved. Even though he finally lost that battle, I'm positive he would still approve of the hobby that she enjoys to this day.  

Because she's The Christmas Lady.
While other women buy cosmetics and jewelry...
 clothes and purses and shoes...

The Duchess buys tree ornaments.

The first tree that you see when you walk in the door is her patriotic tree. It's a pencil tree which fits snugly into a corner of her foyer.

It's full of red, white, and blue.

That little Spirit of '76 ornament is my favorite.

Turning to the bedroom wing, you'll see a simpler tree.
 She calls this one her angel tree.

It's covered with little framed pictures
 of each grandchild.
 (Apparently, she thinks they are angels...) 

They start with baby  pictures
and continue until the cap and gown.

The grandchildren spend the Christmas season
playing a little game of hide and seek.
 They hide their own pictures from the dorky years
 on the back of the tree,
 and seek a dork picture of another grandchild
 to move to the front.

Her snowman theme is in my old bedroom.

With garlands of snowflakes 
 and snowmen in every conceivable shape and size.  

A Bitty Baby in a Christmas dress tops
 the toy tree
in this room which was Grama's nursery
 when grandchildren were small.

It's full of toys and books and childish ornaments. 
Garlands are bright colored beads and wooden blocks.

She even has a children's tablescape in here.
 Since our youngest child in the family is in 15,
 it sits waiting for the next generation.

Can't hardly wait...

She made this little tree skirt
sitting in the waiting room.

The next bedroom is the nutcracker room.

I love that paper nutcracker garland stuck in there.

And all the nutcracker characters.

There are more bedrooms and trees, but I haven't snapped the pictures yet.

I did take pictures of the dining room
where two similar trees flank the table.

This one...

And this one

One of them is the nativity tree.
It tells the true Christmas Story.

The other is a  music tree.

With the Angels proclaiming the Good News.
from the top.

Oh, there's so much more...

I'll try to fit the rest of the tour in before Christmas.
You really won't want to miss it,
since the one in her kitchen is edible. 

But for now, I have one daughter home and another on the way.  Why, it feels like Christmas morning in Debbie Land.


Amy Kinser said...

Oh, Debbie, first of all, I am so happy that your daughters are both going to be there today. Tell the one that's already there, that a lady from Tennessee says hello and to have a great Christmas with her mama.

Now onto those fabulous trees. I can't believe your mom does all of that. Those trees are all spectacular. I have to say that I LOVE the nativity one. And, that music one with the angels at the top is fantastic. So, how many in all does she have and when does she start decorating and when does she take down?

Great carpentry skills also. My goodess, what talent.

Have a wonderfully amazing day and week and Christmas and so on....

Custom Comforts said...

What a darling post. Your mother is amazing. I can't imagine doing all that at my age, let alone at 72. How the grandchildren and other children must love coming to her home. A very touching story.

Grace on the Narrow Path said...

Wow that is so BEAUTIFUL!!! What a talented mother you have my friend. Tell her to come to NC and help me put up my tree. I have not put up one single decoration yet. Looking forward to more pictures. Glad your girls are there.

Vanessa said...

Debbie! Oh my goodness! Does your mom have to start decorating in the summer? First of all, I love her porch and it just gives the perfect hint of the wonderland waiting inside. And, all of those amazing trees! I cracked up about the kids moving the "dork" ornaments around! My own kiddos would think they were at the North Pole going through that house and seeing that darling nursery and I totally covet that Nutcracker garland. It is just all so beautiful and I'm so glad you shared it with us! :-)

Sue said...

Oh.My.Goodness! I want just half of your mom's energy. The trees are just beautiful and I need to show my husband so he won't think I'm so bad!! I am going to start a nutcracker tree in my granddaughter's room and I am loving everything on hers - I only have 6 ornaments for mine:-)
I, too, want to know when she starts to do this, it must take forever!

It's the spirit of Christmas come to life! Thanks for sharing, and I'll anxiously await the rest of the tour.

Enjoy having your girls home.

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

This is just awesome...I couldn't help but precious..and I am so inspired...oh, my!!! What life this woman has...what a total blessing to all!!! I want to be like her!!
Thanks for sharing!!!

Sonja said...

I am smitten!! Absolutely!! I've never seen so many beautiful trees in one home! I'm with Janette, just above my comments... the dutchess inspires me to pieces!! What joy!

nd I KNOW there is joy in your house today... nothing like having everyone safe at home for Christmas!! :)

Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

Lovin' the trees, my fav is the patriotic one! So glad your girls are home/coming home I know you're thrilled-Enjoy:@)

Dayle said...

Oh gracious! I love the energy and creativity of The Duchess. Just wow! What a terrific hobby. If I had a bigger home, I might entertain such a thought ... or not. ;)

Susan (My Place to Yours) said...

Amazing! I love doing theme trees and would have sooooo much fun visiting with The Duchess about her collection! Thank you for treating us to her home tour. :-) So glad your girls will be home. Mine will both be here this year, too. The merriest of Christmas wishes to you and yours!

Sherry said...

Oh my ! I loved the Festival of Trees at the Museum where I grew up. Each tree decorated by an different community organization and set on display for the whole season. Each tree had a theme. Your Mom has that in her house! That is fantastic. I can't pick a favorite! Well maybe I am partial to the Nutcracker one, but wait you said there was more! I will stay tuned!:)

Denise said...

What can I say...I've seen them all in person and I can't pick a favorite either. Did I count correctly? Eight more to show? I wish I had half of her talent not to mention energy. Your pictures are great. I've been anxiously awaiting this post.

I'm excited for our coeds to FINALLY come home. Now, if our soldier gets home safely tonight from Germany, we can all rest better.

Sailing Simply said...

Debbie this is wonderful! How exciting! I love the angel tree the most. What a neat idea to have a tree dedicated to all the children in the family from all the photos of their years growing up. Second favorite is the nativity tree! I love your mothers spirit!

Anita said...

Wow is about all I can say!! I'm not surprised though either. Amazing trees, of course! Wonderful that you have your girls. Enjoy them!!

Chatty Crone said...

Oh Debbie - all I can say is whew - your mom is wonderful! How long does it take her to get everything out and up?

I read your comment on a blog earlier - and the poem by Dyke - I read too about dying - I loved it and want to use it too! sandie

Nellie's Cozy place said...

What a talented Mom you have, and bet you are very proud of her. What a wonderful way for her to continue to honor your dad, and so sorry he lost his battle to cancer....but so glad your Mom didn't give up her hobby.
I am sure many many people enjoy her displays.
Beautiful every one!!
Blessings for a Joyous Christmas Season,

Ms.Daisy said...

I love your Mother's Christmas her love of decorating and making Christmas for children! Pencil trees are my very favorite kind of Christmas tree. Love, love, love the tree with the grandkids pics on it! What a great idea! Please have a wonderful family time with your girls at home!


Sharon Kirby said...

Debbie - This was such a heartwarming post. I'm sorry that your dad isn't there enjoying the trees - but I know a part of him still smiles at your mom lovingly putting each tree together. That woman can decorate, and her energy is amazing!

I loved the idea of the children's tree. I'm afraid ALL of my early pictures would be in the back, hiding in Dork Land.

I'm not sure that I could pick a favorite tree. However, the guy with the eyepatch underneath the nutcracker garland is seriously scary. He will be haunting me in my dreams tonight, thank you very much.

Prayers for a safe return for all of the kids - and the soldier, too. It's going to be a wonderful Christmas...


Rinkly Rimes said...

And to think I feel exhausted at the idea of a bit of tinsel and a few cards!!!! But then, this is Australia and Summer! The Duchess must be some lady! Give her a Xmas wish from this Grandmother!

elizabeth said...

Oh my...I was just thinking today of the after Christmas work of putting the decorations from one tree away! Your mama is something! So glad your kids are home for the holidays, my youngest gets home Monday.YaY! My middle daughter and grandbabies won't be home for Christmas for the first time ever! Sniff, sniff.
I hope you and yours are richly blessed this Christmas and in the coming new year!

CAL said...

I am so thrilled to finally see your Mom's home and the beautiful Christmas trees you have spoken about over the years. I'm in awe!

Even more touching is the explanation of what motivated your Mom. Keeping your hands busy helps the mind and heart. What resulted from your Dad's health struggles was turned into a
beautiful,touching memories. These aren't ordinary Christmas trees, these are amazing love letters to your family.

Your Mom is truly amazing and so are you!!!
Can't wait to see the rest of the trees.

bj said...

So glad you have your daughters with you for Christmas. Family and can't ask for more. :)

I love all your mother's trees..they are all beautiful and full of her love for her country and her family. But...I love her SPIRIT more. She must be an amazing lady. Give her a hug for me.
xo bj

Miss Char said...

Your Duchess is one special lady, what a wonderful story you've shared during this holiday season. Thank you so much for sharing your mama's talents with all of us. Merry Christmas.

Kelli said...

I so enjoyed the tour of your mother's home! The story of how these trees came to be is so sweet and I can tell that she has lovingly decorated each one with great thought and planning. LOVE IT!!

Carol said...

The Duchess is one amazing lady! Yet another talent! The decorations outside is amazing. The trees are gorgeous.

Linda W said...

Debbie, hug the Duchess for me for allowing us to see her beautiful trees. They are fabulous and choosing a favorite is impossible. It's obvious that each one is a labor of love!

Francie...The Scented Cottage Studio said...

A beautiful story and love all the trees and decorations.
Stopping by to wish you and your family a very blessed and joyful Christmas


Hi Debbie

Thanks for sharing all your beautiful Christmas photos.

I think every neighborhood has a "Christmas Lady" We have 2 or 3 and we love them :-)

I hope you and your family have a Wonderful Christmas :-)


Kathleen said...

Wow! The Duchess is so creative and talented. To do all that decorating,inside and out. The children in the neighbourhood must love her to bits. Every single tree is gorgeous! Can't wait to see the rest. I'm so glad I found your blog.

Angel said...

Hi Debbie - I don't know why but your posts always seem to get me smiley faced and misty eyed at the same time. I love all the trees and am very impressed with the Duchess and inspired as well. Thank you for the tour and Merry Christmas!

FrouFrouBritches said...

OH MY GRACIOUS! How amazing and wonderful! It's all so beautiful that I can't pick a favorite. The Duchess sounds so like quite a lady! Such a touching story about your dad! So sweet! Can't wait to see the edible tree!

Have a great time with your girls!

saltbox treasures said...

Your mom's trees are amazing! What an inspiration!
Every room is so festive. I love all the trees . . . the nutcracker (we went to the Nutcracker every year with our daughters), the nativity tree and music tree telling the wonderful Christmas story, and the grandchildren angel tree and little table set for Christmas. I just love them all. What a wonderful Christmas home! Tell your mom how much we all have enjoyed the tour, and I look forward to seeing the rest.
Hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your family!
~ Julie

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Amazing! I want to beg the duchess to come help me!


Sheila :-)

Kelley said...


the Christmas posts...

ALL your posts! Enjoying this blogsurf today. {I'm sicky-poo, in bed. *sniff*}

Kay K said...

I love how she decorates each room and tree I am not much of a decoraterbut I love my trees I have several small ones that I do each year I wish I had the room for those big trees ..she does a superior job !!!!


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