Silly Holiday Decorating Traditions

Speaking of silly decorating traditions made me think of my childhood. Every Christmas, my mother would purchase my sister, brothers and me new underwear, which we opened on Christmas Eve. At some point, one of us decided to drape our new underwear over the decorated tree, and the others followed suit. Each year after that, as soon as someone opened their gift of underwear, up it went on the tree. There are photos of this somewhere, but I doubt my dad would be too excited about searching the albums for me.

As soon as the photos were taken, Mom insisted that the underwear come down, so she could have her nicely-decorated tree back, but we had a lot of fun “decorating” it our way.

Did your parents give you underwear for Christmas? Anyone else’s mom grab the wrong box when buying them, and give her 8-year-old son thong underwear (which he wore!)? What embarrassing or silly gifts have you given or received in your life?


The horse looked hungry, so I gave it an apple.


ABC gingerbread men (and women). ABC = Already Been Chewed. Yes, I am a full grown adult and not a middle schooler, why do you ask?

Speaking of Christmas …

If you’re looking for that perfect gift to give to the person on your list who has everything, look no further. My husband has compiled a book of our photographs from the past year (ish) which is available for purchase here. That’s the large-format version. If you’re looking for something slightly less expensive (but equally awesome), there’s a smaller version, as well. If you just want to peruse the book, click on the first link, then look at the preview. It shows you the whole thing.

We don’t make any money off the sale of the books – it all goes to the publisher, but we wanted to share, and provide people with an opportunity to see our photographs, if they so choose.

Decorating for Christmas

A year ago, after having moved across the country just five months previously, we moved even farther east on Dec. 17. Our agreement upon moving was that we would return home for Christmas every year, which is how I found myself begging our daughter to have my brother help her move our 7 1/2 foot tree from its box in the basement to the living room upstairs. Neither seemed very inclined to help with the process, but as I was flying in on Dec. 19, and the tree is too heavy for me to lift, I begged and cajoled, and then my husband ordered her to make it happen. I assured her she wouldn’t have to help decorate – I’d do all of that – I just needed help getting the tree into position.

That is all a long story to explain how I came home to find this:


Darth Tree. Also known as “Darth Tree and the horse he rode in on.” It’s not a great picture, but there is the tree, as requested, with a Darth Vader mask my brother wore in the ’70s, my daughter’s light saber, and at the bottom, her old stick horse. Those two really had to search the archives for this one. And since you asked, yes, I did leave it exactly like that, and was happy to check “decorate the tree” off my long list of things to do.

While they were going through the Halloween stuff, they also found an old skull:


To this, they added a light-up Santa hat headband, and light-up glasses purchased at an Elton John concert.

How lovely to come home to a fully-decorated house, and not to have to worry about decorating after packing, moving, unpacking, then flying cross-country. I haven’t moved this year, and I don’t expect similar decorating assistance, but it’s fun to imagine how those two would decorate this year.

What items do you have packed away in storage that some silly person might use to decorate your home for the holidays? Any silly decorating traditions?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Thankful

What are you thankful for? As we’ve discussed previously, that sort of talk gives me great trauma. But, this week’s photo challenge asks us to consider what we are thankful for. While there are many things, I am sure you have no interest in seeing lots of pictures of my family, home, job, health, etc. So, I’ll share a photo I made yesterday, while so many people were out and about making sure America’s retail industry was successful in 2012. We were outside the Old North Church, in Boston, and came across a war memorial, dedicated to American soldiers lost since WWI, and created by British military groups.


Travel Theme: Liquid

I’ve been away for a while, but I’m back, and I’ll try to be better about posting. Life should not get in the way of  a good blog post! Today’s Travel Theme is “Liquid,” and these are some of my favorite recent “liquid” photos.


The petal of a lily after a rainstorm in Quincy, Mass.


Morning dew drops on vines, Walden Pond, Mass.


A heron flying across Walden Pond on a fall morning.