Decorating our Tree

IMG_2013

 

My wife collects Christmas Tree ornaments. We have them in several categories. One year she might decide to primarily use special wooden ornaments purchased while we were living in Germany. Another year she uses a variety we have had from when our children were small. This year she decided to use mostly metal ornaments. The ones I like the best are from the White House Historical Association. Each year a new ornament is released for purchase. The one above is from 1998. Below, in order, are from 2017 and 2018.

IMG_2014

IMG_2012 (1)

 

 

A Merry Christmas Family

I’ve posted photo stories before about the wonderful neighbors we have where we live in SW Virginia. I’d like to continue this now by highlighting the family who lives across the street from us. This year, they decided to do some “extra” Christmas decorations about their home and adjoining yard. When I saw what was going on as the decorations were being put up, I immediately saw a great photo story just waiting for me. So, here is that story.

P1040009

This is Daniel, Sarah and daughter Sophie. Daniel serves in Law Enforcement as a uniformed officer, while Sarah works at the local hospital as a Registered Nurse. Both have helped me on many occasions in numerous ways, and have always been extremely kind and generous. They are, in short, a perfect family to live near, as are others in our neighborhood. When Dan decides to “do something” he goes into the project with an extreme amount of energy and creativity, never letting anything stand in his way. Like, for example, when he decided this year to get a BIG Christmas Tree.

P1040012

He found this very beautiful natural Blue Ice Cypress Tree, which he planned to locate in the high-ceiling family room of their home. Its original twelve-foot height had to be shortened at the base by a foot, because when he first drug it into the house, its top scraped across the ceiling. Once inside, and with step ladder close at hand, he decorated it and then stood by with pride looking at what he’d accomplished. I wish more people would use “natural” Christmas trees but alas times have changed. The sweet smell and touch of the tree made me harken back to when I was a young boy helping my family decorate our tree; much, much smaller I might add.

P1040013

DSCF3266

Now, let’s get to the heart of this photo story, the decorations. Unlike the popular seasonal movie, “Christmas Vacation” with a home almost completely covered with lights, Dan took care not to overdo it. Beautiful describes the results as captured by my camera lens.

P1040026

Looking about the yard in front of their home, I saw several inflatable decorations which I felt added greatly to the festive scene, and together certainly serve as a prime “drive-by” attraction for those cruising through the neighborhood seeking Christmas cheer. One by one, here they are.

P1040017

P1040022

P1040018

P1040016

P1040024

DSCF3256

P1040043

By the time I’d completed my photo session, the skies had darkened completely, and what I saw through my camera lens made me wish I could start all over. But, there are only so many ways to compose camera scenes, and I did not want to overdo my efforts. Keep it simple is my standard motto. But, what Dan and Sarah have created about their home this Christmas is far from being simple. It’s not easy to place all those lights, position and secure all those inflatable decorations, and to do everything in such a way that it looks (in a word) perfect. If you think young Sophie was not involved in this process, I can assure you she was. Nothing excites a child more than seeing “Christmas” all about them. Merry Christmas to all!

Christmas in the House

One thing is for sure, when December arrives my creative wife Barb starts to unpack the inside Christmas decorations she places around the house. Outside decorations, limited as they are, have become my job, along with hauling up the artificial Christmas tree upon which the lights sometimes work, sometimes not. Anyway, this Christmas season I thought it might be nice to share some of these treasures we have accumulated over the years. Many of the decorations were purchased when we were stationed with the Army in West Germany during the 1980s. Each are carefully packed away when the holidays are over, waiting for next year when they will again be displayed for all to enjoy. Merry Christmas!

P1000531

P1000549

P1000572

P1000545

P1000546

P1000541

P1000567

P1000566

Faces at Christmas

Looking in various merchant store-front windows the other day I focused on “faces” on miniature figures I saw. Each represents a part of the Christmas season (especially the first one) and I felt when combined together here, they might make for an interesting series of photos. The key to making such images through glass, is to have sufficient natural light so that a flash is not needed. In these cases, the setting sun provided al that I needed. I hope this sets you in a holiday mood!

P1000488

P1000494

P1000489

P1000495

Christmas is Near

Small towns around us in SW Virginia are putting up their Christmas and other holiday decorations, as they always do near Thanksgiving. I know each year I always think to myself that many people put their Christmas decorations out too early. But then when I think about the fact that the Christmas holiday is only a month away, I understand. In our case at home, I finished up our outside decorations today — early for me. But considering that last year at this time I was in Duke University Medical Hospital recovering from a bone marrow transplant, and could not do much decorating just before Christmas when I returned home, I am thankful to the good Lord for the ability to decorate and celebrate the season this year. These photos were made in Stuart, Virginia.

P1000407

P1000408

P1000415