Sherri Lupton Hollister

Nutcrackers and More

When my son joined the army, a friend made soldiers for my tree. She made nutcracker soldiers to represent each of my boys. They were lost in the fire and I later replaced them with soldiers from the craft fair.
My husband loves nutcrackers. The Christmas after we moved into our new home, my sister-in-law restarted his collection of nutcrackers. It is the one decoration he enjoys every Christmas. He unwraps the dozens of soldiers while I place them on the mantel amid artificial greenery and bows. This year, much to my delight, he not only unpacked but he placed them on the mantle. It was fun to watch the holiday movie, “Nutty Christmas,” while setting out the nutcrackers.
Mom and dad rarely had outside lights or any other Christmas decorations. My favorite lights have been the snowflake lights my husband wrapped around the eaves of our front porch. It’s so pretty I don’t want to take them down. Sometimes I leaved them up until spring. This year, the rain has interfered with our attempts to decorate outside. I was pleasantly surprised to come home from our Ladies’ Aid Christmas party to see he’d put the lights around the porch. It’s beginning to feel like Christmas.
My Christmas wreaths have varied from ones I’ve made to ones I have bought to ones given to me by friends. One I bought at a craft fair had toy motorcycles among the greenery and another, a gift from a friend, had little green frogs (I adore little green frogs). Some of the frogs sang, one wore a Santa hat and another was dressed as the Sugar Plum Fairy.
Christmas is more than the decorations, more than the presents. Our traditions have evolved over the years. Christmas eve is now spent with my in-laws, including my mom and her sister, assorted children and grandchildren. We’ve gotten to be so many that we have to use the church fellowship hall to host our Christmas eve supper. I work, and often the festivities have started before I arrive. This year we will return to our soup and sandwich meal, saving our turkey dinner for Christmas day. We’ve had everything from full blown Italian dinner to tacos, to quiche to soup and sandwiches.
Our gift giving is limited, we now have 19 grandchildren, making 20 great-grands for the in-laws. My sister-in-law comes up with games and prizes, and we’ve started doing gag gifts with a $5 limit for anyone 12 years old and over. I search for bargains throughout the year, clearance items and two for one sales are a must. Raising six sons prepared me but who would have thought as an only child I would have such a grand family.

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