Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

How my holiday decor celebrates family & the past December 29, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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My Charlie Brown tree, an untrimmed Christmas tree purchased for $12 at a tree lot in Faribault.

I absolutely love my Charlie Brown tree, an untrimmed Christmas tree purchased for $15 at a tree lot in Faribault. It reminds me of the Christmas trees of my youth, which makes it perfect. Branches are sparse and adornment minimal.

I CONSIDER MYSELF A MINIMALIST. I don’t like clutter, an overabundance of stuff filling my house. Too much of anything makes me uneasy, unsettled.

So when I set about decorating my house for the Christmas holiday, I am selective. More remains in boxes than is pulled out for display.

I did not grow up with Christmas stockings. But my husband did. Randy's aunt made this stocking for him in the 1960s. It's missing a few decorations. But that adds to its character.

I did not grow up with Christmas stockings. But my husband did. Randy’s aunt made this stocking for him in the 1960s. It’s missing a few decorations. But that adds to its character.

The items I choose to set the holiday mood must meet my criteria of holding personal/family significance. The older, the better. Handmade ranks high. So does simplicity of lines.

Found in my mom's basement, this lovely pincecone Christmas tree crafted by my godmother, Aunt Rachel. This will now go up in my home each Christmas.

Found in my mom’s basement, this lovely pinecone Christmas tree was crafted by my godmother, Aunt Rachel, in the 1960s. This will now go up in my home each Christmas.

This year, after cleaning my mom’s house and acquiring some old “new” items, my appreciation of the past has deepened. And that is reflected in the items currently displayed.

Here’s a quick peek at my holiday décor and why these items are showcased in my home:

This paper Baby Jesus and an angel go on my Christmas tree each other. They are from the 1960s, from my Sunday School Christmas lesson.

This paper Baby Jesus and an angel go on my Christmas tree each other. They are from the 1960s, from my Sunday School Christmas lesson.

Behind the Christmas tree hangs this paint-by-number winter scene painted by my Great Grandma Anna.  This was the perfect addition to my paint-by-number collection.

Behind the Christmas tree hangs this paint-by-number winter scene painted by my Great Grandma Anna. This was the perfect addition to my paint-by-number collection and was acquired when my siblings and I were dividing my mom’s belongings. My sister got the painting matching this one.

This manager scene dates back to the late 1960s or early 1970s and was handcrafted by my maternal grandfather.

This manager scene dates back to the late 1960s or early 1970s and was handcrafted by my maternal grandfather. The figurines are made from Plaster of Paris.

While going through a box of cards my mom had saved, I found several Christmas cards that I made as a child. This year I displayed those cards, along with a vintage card from Schwans

While going through a box of cards my mom had saved, I found several Christmas cards that I made as a child. This year I displayed those cards, along with a 1971 vintage card from Schwan’s Ice Cream (right) on an old dresser in my living room. The chest of drawers was used by my dad as a child.

Around the corner on a vintage dresser from my husband's family, I display candles and an angel on a vintage mirrored tray set atop a vintage holiday linen.

Around the corner on a vintage dresser from my husband’s family, I display candles and an angel on a vintage mirrored tray set atop a vintage holiday linen.

Come December, I swap out my regular vintage drinking glasses for the Twelve Days of Christmas glasses. These were gifted to me by the furniture store right across the street from the newspaper office where I worked in 1978 in Gaylord. Since then, I've acquired the same set of holiday glasses for each of my four children at garage sales and an antique shop.

Come December, I swap out my regular vintage drinking glasses for the Twelve Days of Christmas glasses. These were gifted to me in 1978 by the furniture store  across the street from the newspaper office where I worked as a reporter and photographer in Gaylord. Since then, I’ve acquired the same set of holiday glasses for each of my three children at garage sales and an antique shop.

Three net angels dangle from the hallway light fixture. They are just like the angels my mom dangled from the living room doorway when I was growing up.

Three net angels dangle from the hallway light fixture. They are just like the angels my mom dangled from the living room doorway when I was growing up.

My oldest brother and I purchased this set of miniature plastic angels for our mom as a Christmas gift in the 1960s. Several years ago, my mom gave them back to me and I display them each Christmas. They are among my most treasured of holiday decorations.

My oldest brother and I purchased this set of miniature plastic angels from a small town hardware store for our mom as a Christmas gift in the 1960s. Several years ago my mom gave them back to me and I display them each Christmas. This angel band is among my most treasured of holiday decorations.

My father-in-law painted this holiday scene, which is why I treasure it. Plus, I really like the painting.

My father-in-law painted this holiday scene, which is why I treasure it. Plus, I really like the painting that hangs behind my couch.

Back in the day, when my dad's siblings and their families still gathered for the holidays, I received two candle Santas and a snowman from my Aunt Ardyce during a gift exchange. A match has never touched the  wicks and never will. I cherish these as much for their vintageness as the memories of so many Christmases past with aunts, uncles, cousins, Grandma and my own siblings and parents.

Back in the day, when my dad’s siblings and their families still gathered for the holidays, I received two candle Santas and a snowman from my Aunt Ardyce during a gift exchange. A match has never touched the wicks and never will. I cherish these as much for their vintageness as the memories of so many Christmases past with aunts, uncles, cousins, Grandma and my own siblings and parents.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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