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Opening the doors to the Christmas spirit

The house has been transformed into my own winter wonderland.  The Christmas village is illuminated on top of the dining room buffet.

The snow has fallen on the mirrored lake and the church steeple rises high above the houses.

The children are playing, the dogs are barking, the moms are shopping and the ceramic Santa is waiting around the corner to deliver his bounty on Christmas morning.

The snow village is one of my favorite Christmas decorations. It reminds me of an idyllic movie scene I produced only in my mind. When I gaze into the little houses and buildings topped with fallen snow, I wish I could travel there and stay a while.

A three-foot Santa awaits you at the end of our foyer.  His robe is made from old quilts and he is holding a lighted Christmas tree. He was a gift from friends that I worked with long ago. I love his jolly face and old-time charm, and I still love the friends that knew I would.

The big tree is adorned with special ornaments and finery. The presents are wrapped ready to go under its branches awaiting a paper eruption on Christmas morn.      

The mantle holds holly, twigs of green and sprigs of cotton. Large candles sit at each corner and a wooden sign that reads, “Let it Snow” hangs underneath the mantle. The sign was a gift from my dear friend who loves the snow, Christmas and family as much as I do.

There is another tree that sits atop a side table in the breakfast room. It is a skinny four-foot pencil tree that is called “David’s Tree” and it has a story of its own. This tree is not pretty, yet very special.

Six years ago, my husband and I had to be in separate places for Christmas. His mother was coming from New Orleans for a visit and his grown children as well. I was needed in Florida because of my daughter’s illness.

David decided before I left not to put up the big tree or many decorations. We just did not have enough time, nor did I have enough energy and spirit.

When I looked at my spiritless house, I just couldn’t leave it that way. One day, when he was away on a business trip, I bought the little tree and a few ornaments I thought he would like. Since he loves fishing, golf, photography, New Orleans, pizza and the beach, I adorned the tree with things representing those items.

Not many trees have red and white fishing floats and a slice of glass pizza hanging from their branches, but this one sure does. Along with old colored lights, are beach chairs, a camera, golfers and a replica of a po’ boy sandwich.

Everything David loved was hanging on the tree when he arrived home. I don’t think I ever gave him anything he appreciated more.

We add to the tree every year with another crazy ornament. However, on the back of the tree hangs a beautiful pink ornament that is a reminder of the reason there is “David’s Tree” and the daughter who was fighting cancer that Christmas in 2011.

As you walk through the kitchen, there are utensils held in a snowman container. Christmas platters are held by easels on bookshelves.

Fragrant evergreen candles fill the air. Soon, the scent of cookies that my granddaughter and I always make will waft through the rooms.

On the table in the foyer, is the Nativity and the reason for the other decorations that adorn the house. The stable is covered in straw and the wise men are walking toward the Christ child. An angel is watching over them and settling the lambs and cows down to rest on a bed of raffia.

The shepherds are standing still, filled with awe and wonder as they gaze upon the miracle child.

I realize upon finishing my decorating that I don’t need to travel to an idyllic setting for Christmas.

There may not be snow on my roof, but there will be laughter and joy rising as high as a church steeple. There will be chaos and messes, so it will not look perfect. The dogs will bark too loudly, the children will play rowdily, and the family will gather to tell the miracle born in the stable that Christmas day, “Thank you.”

Christmas is not in the décor, nor is it the presents we buy.

It is in the love of friends and family. It is our spirit that turns Christmas to ideal and the love of the Christ child that makes it perfect year after year.

Go put a wreath on your front door and let that perfection be invited in.

Lynn Walker Gendusa is a former resident and writer who currently resides in Roswell. She can be reached at lwgendusa@bellsouth.net.