An Old Fashioned Christmas

Published 4:58 am Sunday, November 18, 2007

Mary Hugh Roberts welcomes you to her lovely home at 200 Third Avenue and invites you to experience “An Old Fashioned Christmas” through her recollections of past Christmases.

Growing up as a country girl in a large family, my family and I always decorated for Christmas with what nature provided. I am inspired from those memories each year to continue the tradition with an old fashioned Christmas.

My fondest memories are of my daddy, mother, and all of us children, five at the time, walking through the woods, happily searching for holly with red berries, mistletoe, and large pine cones to use for decorating our house for Christmas.

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The grand finale of our trip was our search for the perfect short-leafed pine tree that we would transform into a beautifully, decorated Christmas tree that evening. My daddy would add the final touch by placing the angel on top and saying a prayer, thanking God for the birth of his Son, Jesus.

This Christmas is no different than those in the past. As one enters my home, a holiday wreath designed by my daughter, Stephanie, made of holly with red berries, decorated pine cones and magnolia leaves, and accented with a large red bow, greets visitors. The foyer is decorated with garland, magnolia cones, and mistletoe sprigs hanging by ribbons from the doorways. White poinsettias and decorated house plants invite each into the formal dining room. The Queen Ann table is set for Christmas dinner with beautiful Lenox China trimmed with holly and red berries which is on loan from my nephew and his wife, Travis and Crystal Light Kennedy. Each place setting is reflected by a mirror place mat. A centerpiece designed with a Lenox candle holder, holly, and gold glittering magnolia leaves sparkles under the lights of the ornate chandelier.

The old fashioned Christmas tree stands poised like an old friend in the family room, decorated with my most treasured ornaments from the past. Some were even made by my daughters, Tessa and Stephanie, and my baby sister, Michelle, when they were children. My Grandma Mary’s antique armorer proudly displays red poinsettias and garlands. At my Kennedy Family Christmas party, this room is a favorite with gifts piled high under the tree.

In the guest room, wedding/baby room, wedding day portraits can be seen of each daughter and her husband: Tessa and Ronnie Sanford; Stephanie and Jon Jordan. Under each couple hang portraits of their babies and all are decorated with garland, festive ribbon and netting to showcase these blessed events.

The hallway proudly pays tribute to my family portraits of seven generations of Pearl River Countians. Pine sprigs and holly accented with Christmas bows give them appropriate recognition.

The library/office is very cozy with a small Christmas tree decorated especially for my grandchildren: Alex and Cole, 13; Anna and Rachel, 11; Jack, 6. Their tree is decorated with keepsake ornaments given to me by them, as well as, those given to me by students during my teaching career. This is a very special tree for my grandchildren because they know that a special keepsake ornament for each of them will be under the tree. Old Santa stands smiling at them as they read Christmas stories or play games with each other while enjoying Christmas treats.

The kitchen is decorated with gingerbread items and greeting cards from

family and friends. It is a favorite gathering place as the aroma of Christmas cookies baking in the oven spreads throughout the house. The breakfast nook table is set with gingerbread China, waiting for Christmas morning.

A showcase of Christmas pictures of my grandchildren and daughters can be viewed sitting on the master bedroom dresser. A tiny tree of twinkling lights, porcelain Christmas figurines, and Christmas bouquets decorates the dresser and night stands. A decorated food tray, filled with Christmas cookies and candy, delights our taste buds as we bundle up on the bed to watch old Christmas classic movies.

Both bathrooms get recognition with decorated wreaths and the warm glow of candles. Floating candles, magnolia and holly leaves, enhance the decor`.

For the annual Kennedy Family Christmas Party, the garage is transformed into a banquet hall to accommodate my large family. The large white Christmas tree there is decorated with white lights, shiny red ornament, and candy canes. The tables are decorated with holiday tablecloths and napkins, and centerpieces made of holly, pine cones, and red candles. A special table, decorated with holly, pine cones, and red bows, holds my mother’s punch bowl which is filled with our traditional punch made by my granddaughters, Anna and Rachel. After each family member’s plate is filled with delicious food brought by everyone,

thanks are given to God for all of his blessings.

May this Christmas be a blessed and happy one for each of you. Keep Christ in Christmas.

The Christmas Pilgrimage will be held of December 1, from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., and is hosted by the GFWC-MFWC Civic Woman’s Club. Tickets can be purchased in advance at Checkered Lily or The Glass Porch for $10 or at the door of the homes

for $12.