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.
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.
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.