Friday, December 18, 2009


With Chrismas just days away I'm packing as much into one post as possible, so if you are here for Vintage Christmas Monday, the ornaments are for you. If you stopped in for Metamorphosis Monday, it's immediately after the photos of the ornaments. If it's Deck the Halls that brought you here, well then I guess all applies. LOL

These ornaments are not the glistening glass ornaments that so many associate with vintage Christmas ornaments, but the paper mache ornaments I'm sharing today are definitely vintage. The four little members of the marching band were among the very first ornaments I ever purchased for myself. It was 1970, and I had recently graduated from the University, was on my own teaching school, and I wanted a Christmas tree for my apartment.

Like many young girls at the time, I was a regular at The Pappagallo Shop. These ornaments, handmade and imported from Mexico, were available there. I surmise that the signature, De Sela, is that of the artist. These paper mache ornaments and a few boxes of shiny red balls were the decorations on that first tree.

"Pa rum pa pum pum" Hear the little drummer boy?

Sweet Little Miss Sunshine

"Angels We Have Heard on High"

And Jolly Old St. Nick says:

Wishing each of you the Happiest of Holidays!

Each of you have been so kind and thoughtful to me since I began this blog in August. I've made many wonderful friends throughout Blogville and truly appreciate each of you.

With less than a week till Christmas, time is precious so I'm posting this for both Pink Saturday and Metmorphosis Monday. Beverly @ How Sweet the Sound has declared this week to be all about holiday traditions. Christmas for me is TRADITION. There are so many wonderful memories tied up in the things we repeat year after year, and the decorations are like old friends returning as we unpack them each year during this special holiday.

Last Monday I shared the tradition of "Our Own Little Forest" and some of the ornaments we've gathered through the years here. Today is the tradition of our mantel dressed for Christmas. The holidays for us are fairly simple times. We decorate the house and enjoy spending special times with family and friends, but you'll not find stacks of wrapped packages under our trees. As I said in the earlier "The Stockings Were Hung . . ." post, my husband and I continue the stocking tradition with a bit of a twist. We don't wrap gifts for each other to have under our tree. Instead we fill each other's stocking with presents. Our tradition requires a bit of creativity to find things that will fit in the stockings, but you'd be surprised at what wonderful gifts can fit into Christmas stockings.

This year our fall mantel was simply dressed with a few small antique boxes, a grouping of wooden pears, and . . .

this heart shaped wreath of faux berries and wooden leaves.

For the Christmas season the mantel has experienced a bit of a Metmorphosis. Though I always decorate the mantel, I usually do something different each year. In recent years some of our Santa figures have taken center stage on the mantel, but this year I wanted to use more natural elements.

The simple heart shaped berry wreath for fall was switched out for a wreath of red berries. I added wired ribbon bows used in previous years and an adorable Mac Kenzie-Childs inspired reindeer ornament that was a special gift from a friend last Christmas.

I started with fresh cut magnolia leaves and laced them across the top of the mantel. Then I added a few of the wooden pears back in along with an antique English tea caddy.

I liked the way the various textures and wood finishes mixed in with the leathery magnolia leaves.

The tall pear on the right is actually a music box. It was a thank you gift from Susan, the friend I recently co-chaired with on the Quimper Club International Annual Meeting. Her note said, "We make a good
pair!" It's a treasure from a treasured friend!

A couple of weeks ago I shared my childhood memory of my pink Christmas stocking here. I mentioned that my husband and I carry on the stocking tradition with a bit of a twist. We began this tradition the first year we were married. I truthfully don't recall why we did it, but I think it had to do with the limitations of our budget. My Christmas stocking had always been my favorite part of Christmas.

My husband was in graduate school, and we were living on a slim budget. I knew stitching a pair of needlepoint stockings for us was out of the question, so I decided instead to purchase some fabric and simply sew us each a stocking. These large stockings of quilted patchwork trimed in eyelet and rick-rack served us well for the first twenty years of our marriage. We even had a stocking for our beloved lasho apso.

When we moved into our current home, I felt this fire place and mantel dictated a bit more sophistication. I purchased a pair of velvet stockings. The velvets are a rich red and emerald green. The green embossed with a swirl, and the red with stylized stars. They still aren't the needlepoint stockings I intended to stitch for us, but they are certainly an improvement over the folksy quilted fabric.

The little reindeer ornaments are from our first Christmas together. It's tradition to hang them on our stockings. The wooden S is a handmade ornament that my brother-in-law made and gave to us in the early years of our marriage. Since we don't have names on the stockings these wooden initials, along with the gender specific reindeer, identify whose stocking belongs to who.

Yes, the stockings have changed through the years, but the tradition of "stocking gifts" remains steadfast in our home. Thanks for stopping by today. I do hope you'll take time to leave a comment below before visiting Beverly @ How Sweet the Sound for more holiday traditons shared for Pink Saturday. Be certain to stop by to see Liz @ Life at the Gables. Liz lives in Scotland, she has shared some fun family traditions, and she is having a Christmas Eve giveaway.

On Monday, click here to visit Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch. Susan is sure to have something creative to share and here for Vintage Christmas Monday. Then head over to Joan's @ Thoughts From Over the Rainbow for Deck the Halls on Tuesday.


The summer we married, my husband was in graduate school, and I was employed as a teacher. We took a portion of our savings that summer and purchased a sailboat. We christened our Catalina 22, “Hyacinths For The Soul” after Saadi’s poem. Our "Hyacinths" provided years of pleasure.


  1. Sarah, once again, I can so identify with your post! I adore stockings, and I love the one from your childhood, the ones you made as a young married wife, and the current ones you are displaying. We always had stockings for pets, too, and I love that! :-) I like your wooden initials and your reindeer, too!

    Happy Pink Saturday to you...


    Sheila :-)

  2. Hi Sarah,
    Your mantle with the pears and magnolia leaves is stunning, & Susan is right you 2 are a pair.
    A pair of loving friends that I treasure very much.
    Have a wonderful weekend,
    from very snowy Normandy

  3. Hi Sarah,

    You have such interesting collections. And I love the way you decorate and the way you and your husband celebrate and keep traditions.

  4. Beautiful..HPS Happy Holidays

  5. Hi Sarah! The natural look on your mantel is beautiful! I love the magnolia leaves! And I also love the stockings you have created through the years. The gender specific reindeer and wooden letters are such a cute and unique idea! Have a wonderful week...Christmas is almost here!!...hugs...Debbie

  6. Hi Sarah and thank you so much for the mention. I absloutley love your stocking tradition. it is such a simple yet wonderful thing to do and you can't get better than a homemade stocking. I really love the wooden pears too and they look great with the greenery on your mantle.
    Wishing you a very Merry Christmas from chilly Scotland.

  7. Your Mantel is beautiful with the natural elements and the wooden carved pears are works of art. Love your stockings and their stories...all of them. Your decorations are so beautiful and your home very inviting and warm. Here's Wishing You a MerryTexMas!

  8. Sarah, Thanks for stopping by StoneGable and leaving your sweet comment. Do I see Magnolia leaves- my absolute favorite. I don't think I can grow them on my property. We are in open and windy farmland. I have a wonderful friend transplanted from the south who has a huge tree in her yard. She is very generous with her Magnolia leaves, pods and flowers.
    I love your mantle. Very beautifully put together. Also, the idea of exchanging stocking is one of the best I have heard. It takes the focus off of the gifts and focuses on creative ways to please the recipient!
    Right back at you- I love visiting you too!
    Christmas blessings,

  9. Lovely post with beautiful photos and delightful traditions. My Pink Saturday is at Happily Retired Gal
    Hugs and blessings,

  10. I love all your natural elements you used on your mantel. Your stockings are just precious.. we even have a couple for the 2 dogs.. sure can't leave them hugs ~lynne~

  11. Your pears are beautiful and altho I don't know what your mantel looked like before, it is lovely now. I really enjoyed seeing the tree forest, what a great idea and it's beautiful. Happy Pink Saturday and I hope you have a Merry Christmas, see you in the year 2010, Char

  12. Hi Sarah - your Christmas mantel and stockings are all beautiful!

  13. Happy Pink Saturday!

    Love magnolia leaves and pears...they look stunning on your mantel!

    ~ Gabriela ~

  14. What a lovely tradition. I think it would be very special to try to figure out gifts that would fit into a stocking. And your mantle is beautiful. Thanks for sharing. Happy Pink Saturday.

  15. Oh, how I love your posts! Everytime I stop by I see such unique treasures and ideas that really show your personality. They for sharing these darling things with the traditions behind them.

  16. Very nice job on your post! I enjoyed every bit of it. Thank you for posting and your visit! Wish you a Merry Christmas!

  17. Your mantel is beautifully dressed for the holiday season! The stockings are beautiful and your tradition of placing the gifts in the stockings is very nice. It must take some thought to manage that!

    Merry Christmas...Kathy

  18. Good Morning Sarah ~

    Your home looks lovely....I love the magnolia fresh and elegant. This is a wonderful post.

    Have a happy, happy Christmas.

    Smiles ~ Ramona

  19. Hello Sarah,
    What pretty and lovely ornaments. Your home looks very confortable. I wanted to thank you for all your kind comments along the year and wish you a happy Christmas and New year warmed with love and joy.

  20. Hi Sarah,
    I love your tradition of filling only the stockings for your gifts to each other. Some years we have done the same thing. This year, though, I have not even put the stockings out.

    I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas!

  21. It's looking very pretty at your house, Sarah!

  22. Sarah, your trees are lovely and I love that black and white ribbon.
    To answer your question, no my vintage ornaments are not from my childhood. Don't really know what happened to those...but I am certainly not hurting for ornaments!!

  23. Oh Sarah, those paper mache ornaments are so precious! I can't believe you have kept them in such good condition. I loved your stocking tradition the first time I read about it, but I loved seeing your first stockings you made and these beautiful stockings hanging on your beautiful mantle. That picture over your mantle is so pretty too. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas! laurie

  24. Great tradition, Sarah! It saves a lot of time wrapping the presents too. I love your early paper mache ornaments.....Christine

  25. Happy Pink Saturday and happy everything, Sarah. This is a fantastic post.

    I love your stocking tradition. I noticed that my stocking is hanging a bit askew. I think my husband has already put something in it.

    And, your mantel looks lovely.

    Happy Holidays to you and your family.

  26. Your holiday home is so lovely! I'm a sucker for magnolia leaves, and the pears are adorable. Thank you for stopping by and for the sweet comment! :)

  27. I love the stories about the ornaments. Each one is so charming. Also, what a great forest of trees - that was a smart move. I have 2 bay windows and would love to do the same thing. Also, loved the black and white ribbon in the previous post - striking! Merry Christmas! Linda

  28. I love this post and I love your mantle. It's just beautiful! Happy Pink Saturday and Merry Christmas. Aren't stockings fun? That's my favorite part of Christmas morning.

  29. Thanks for stopping by and enetering my giveaway. Good luck.

  30. Sarah, I love your stocking story. We also used stockings that I made us for many years, and I also made new ones for us just 3 years ago. The old ones are decorating door handles in the house, Your home is just lovely and the painting over the fireplace is beautiful.
    ♥, Susan

  31. I love the way you decorated your mantle this year. The wooden pears look so good with the magnolia leaves!! I also love your soldier ornaments. So cute!!

  32. I just adore your Christmas inspired metamorphosis.

    Be merry and bright!

  33. Hi Sarah, thanks for your sweet comments, I hope to catch up more soon, just want to wish you a wonderful Christmas. You're so sweet to be thinking of me :)
    Big Hugs

  34. I loved hearing about your 1970 ornaments and stockings. Our first Christmas was around then, and the tree angel had the funniest hair..after a few years we decided it looked like Phyllis Diller hair, so that's what we called her.
    We used her for years..and when I replaced her with a much prettier model, I couldn't throw her out! She is still in the basement in a box!
    Merry Christmas, Sarah, and a healthy new year!

  35. Love your little drummer boys from your first tree! And what a cute pink stocking! Thank you so much for participating in Vintage Christmas Mondays this holiday season.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours. xo Joan, your hostess

  36. LOVELY figurines!
    Merry Christmas... ENJOY!

  37. thank you so much for such a sweet comment on my blog! i love that pink stocking - and love even more that you still have it!
    merry Christmas

  38. Your mantel is just stunning! I love Magnolia leaves (fortunately so many of my neighbors have Magnolia trees - I don't have one - but they let me help myself to the leaves)

    Have a wonderful Christmas!


  39. Those little drummer boys are adorable. I love your stockings too, both the old and the new. The story of how you fill each others stocking each year makes that story even more special. Have a wonderful Christmas.

  40. Sarah, I'm dropping back by to wish you the best holiday ever!

    Merry, Merry Christmas to someone who is as lovely as Christmas itself...


    Sheila :-)

  41. I love your mantel, your trio of trees and those cute stockings! You had asked over at my blog where I purchased my plaid plates..I bought them at Target a few years ago, some people have found plates on Ebay. I hope you will be able to find them, they are so fun to do a tablesetting with. Happy holidays!

  42. Merry Christmas, Sarah!
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post. What wonderful memories!
    I remember those little papier mache ornaments...they were so cute!

    Have a blessed Christmas.
    Jane (Artfully Graced)


Thank you to each of you who take the time to leave a comment. I read and appreciate each and every one and will respond to any questions. Your notes are the only way I know who has stopped in for a visit.