Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Tess's Tidbits: Christmas Preparations

Last Saturday, Hailey and I were busy chatting in our room when Mama came in.

"Hey girls, I thought today would be a good day to get out the Christmas decorations for your rooms.  What do you think?"

Of course, we were thrilled with this idea.  The big tree in the living room had been up for a week now, and we were all anxious to get our own decorations up as well.

Mama told us to meet her on the bed in a few minutes.  Then she headed over to Maggie and Rachel's room so Maggie could help out.

Once we were all there, Mama got down the tubs of Christmas decorations and left us to sort through them.  

"Wow," Hailey commented as we opened the tub.  "There sure are a lot of things in here!  It's going to take us forever to go through everything."

"Not necessarily," said Maggie practically, a bit of pride in her voice.  "Tess and I have been through this enough that we know what we're doing."

I decided not to remind Maggie that she had only helped me last year.  The Christmas before that, my sisters and I had been the ones to go through everything.  Of course, there had been fewer decorations that year, so it wasn't a huge deal.  Still, helping with the decorations once didn't necessarily make Maggie an expert.  But I wasn't about to tell her that. :}

As I thought back to that first Christmas, the familiar sadness swept over me at the thought of my littlest sister, Ella.  I wondered how she was doing.  It had been a while since we'd heard from her.  I still held onto the secret hope that one day she would come back to us.  A foolish hope, perhaps, but one I clung to all the same.

My melancholy thoughts were not going to lead to any sort of Christmas cheer, so I shook my head firmly and focused on the lovely decorations in front of me.  "Oh, here's the pretty holly wreath from last year.  And look at this gold and purple garland!  Is that new?"

"Oh, great!" Maggie groaned from the other side of the tub.  "I touched the glitter bomb!  Now I'll be sparkly for the next week!"  She glared at the glittery tree skirt in front of her.

I hid a smile at her disgust, but I could understand her feelings.  The tree skirt Mama had purchased for us last year always left a heavy coat of glitter on anything it touched.

The tub lid and the bed both had a generous sprinkling of golden pixie dust.  And once again, we'd managed to unpack the decorations on Papa's side of the bed.  He was NOT going to be happy about the glitter trail on his blanket. :}

Maggie flung the tree skirt aside in annoyance, and we began removing the rest of the items from the tub, spreading them out on the bed so we could see everything we had to choose from.  We decided that the best way to do things was to invite everyone to the bed after we'd unpacked the decorations.  Then everyone could choose their favorite decorations.

Maggie moved on to the next tub while Hailey and I looked at the tree that had decorated our room so beautifully last year.

"Tess, I don't think it's going to fit this year..." Hailey said doubtfully.

I looked over at our already crowded room.  It did seem a bit impossible.

I looked back at the tubs and noticed a new little tree that Mama had put out for us.

"I suppose we could use this one instead," I began, secretly wishing we could make the big tree work.  

"Aw, man!  Seriously?" Maggie's protest interrupted our tree conversation.  "These aren't Christmas decorations in's just a bunch of kitchen stuff."

"Well, at least it's less we have to go through," I offered timidly.

Maggie rolled her eyes.  "Whatever," she grumbled.  "Let's just get this thing closed up and out of the way so we can get on with going through the decorations!"

We helped her close the tub back up and move it to the end of the bed.  As we did, I had an idea.

"Hailey, we could pack away some of our furniture for Christmas so that we could fit the big tree."

"You think so?" she asked.

"Come on, let me show you," I answered, starting for our room.  "We'll be right back, Maggie."

My friend just grunted, already engrossed in her job of sorting through the decorations.  

We climbed back up to our room and plotted together, rearranging things in our heads.  Hailey very graciously agreed to pack away her chair and her Hello Kitty nightstand for the Christmas season.  We decided we'd move her pink shelf out to the front of the room and put the tree in the corner.

"Are you sure this works for you?" I asked my sister. 

She nodded.  "It's worth being without some furniture if it means having our big tree up.  I think I would miss it."

I smiled.  "I feel the same way."

Without another word, we started packing things up and rearranging.  Mama came back just in time to help us pack away Hailey's extra furniture.  Then she put the tree in our room, but she decided to let us figure out where we wanted to set it up.  Maggie came over for a bit to help.

Moving the tree was a little trickier than I thought it would be.  I'd forgotten how heavy it was!  Maggie took the heavier bottom part of the tree, and I helped support the top.

"How's that?" Maggie asked when she'd set the tree up.

"Um, maybe a little bit to the right?" I suggested timidly.  Hailey nodded at my suggestion.

Maggie adjusted the tree.  "Better?" she asked.

"Well..." I began.  "Perhaps just a tad more?"

My friend tugged at the tree again.  "How about here?" she asked with noticeably less enthusiasm.

It still seemed a bit crooked to me, but I could tell when my friend was running out of patience.  "It looks fine," I said with a little smile.  "Thanks."

"But Tess," my less observant little sister piped up, "don't you think it should be a little..."

"It's perfect, Hailey," I interrupted gently.

She must have taken the hint, because she didn't push it.

"I'll go plug it in for you," Maggie offered.  She nimbly swung over the side of the dresser, dropped to the floor, and plugged in the cord.

"Oh, it's beautiful!" I called excitedly.  "Thank you, Maggie!"

"No problem," she called back.  "I'm going to go get everyone else and have them start looking through the Christmas stuff.  Are you two okay up there?"

"Yes," I assured her.  "We'll just get the tree skirt on and then we'll be over to join you."

It took us a while to get the skirt around the tree, and I felt a bit like Tinkerbell when I was done (that golden glitter got EVERYWHERE!!), but it looked fabulous around our tree.

Hailey and I headed over to the bed to meet everyone else. 

Maggie was there with Emma, Jenna, Charlie and Hayden.  The room was filled with laughter, pleasant chatter, and intermittent squeals of delight as the girls discovered the decorations they loved, along with a few new ones.  Everyone found something special.

Emma loved the new porcelain doll that Mama had found.

Jenna couldn't wait to try out the "Merry Christmas" hanging sign.

"Oh, look!" Charlie called out excitedly.  "Our little LED tree from last year!"

"And here's the Nativity scene we used!" Hayden added.

Hailey and I joined our friends and began to admire the many trinkets and treasures waiting for us.

"What do you think about this garland, Hailey?  Wouldn't it be wonderful for our tree?" I asked.

"Definitely!" she agreed with a grin.  "And maybe we could use these bells as a tree topper!"

We looked through everything until everyone had found something they loved.  We set a couple things aside for Ava and Elena to use for their room.  They'd been too shy to come down and join everyone else.  Rachel was feeling a bit under the weather, so she told Maggie to choose things for their room.

Later that afternoon, Hailey and I returned to our room with our decorations.  Hailey's golden bells looked merry and festive at the top of the tree.

I worked on getting the garland around the tree.  Hailey held the end for me so it wouldn't get too tangled up.

Of course, Pemberley couldn't resist playing with the sparkly golden beads of the garland. ;)  Thankfully, she didn't get things too tangled up. 

At last, the tree was finished.  We turned out the lights so that we could get the full effect. :)

There's nothing like sitting and looking at the lights on a Christmas tree with your friends or family.  All we needed to make it perfect was a Christmas CD and some hot chocolate. ;)

As is the custom in this house, after everyone had finished decorating, Mama got out our fancy dresses for Christmas.  We'll be dressed formally until the end of December (unless, of course, we take any trips with Mama between now and then).  I always thrill to this time of year.  I'd dress like this all the time if I could. :)

Another tradition is to take formal pictures in our fancy dresses.  Mama loves taking pictures of us when we're all dressed up. ;)

Hailey and I beside the tree.  Mama was short a few formal dresses this year, so Grandmama let her borrow a few for us to use.  Hailey loved this blue one.  It's the "Ballet Recital" dress from the American Girl Just Like You line.

Hailey decided to wear her dolly contacts since her pink glasses really clashed with this outfit. ;)

Hayden and Jenna got to wear the other dresses from Grandmama.  Hayden is wearing a beautiful handmade Renaissance dress, and Jenna is wearing Kanani's Party Outfit from AG.  Don't they look lovely?

Best friends :)

They ended up using the little Nativity scene, a mini tree, and one of our 4 fuzzy snowman decorations.  I think it gives the room a perfect festive touch.  Oh, and it's not in the pictures, but they also hung the "Merry Christmas" sign Jenna liked so much on their closet door. :)

Emma and Charlie looked particularly pretty in their reds and greens.  Emma was very excited to put on her special Cecile dress again, especially since it matches her doll's dress.  And just like last year, Charlie decided to wear her boots and her Buzz Lightyear necklace with her formal dress. ;)

Sweet sisters :)

Charlie and Emma decided to use the LED tree and part of the ceramic Nativity scene in their room.  If you look high up in the top left corner of the picture, you can see Emma's Calico Critters (you can also see them in the first picture of Emma and Charlie).  Emma liked my Calico Critters she gave me for my birthday so much that we all pitched in to get her some of her own for her birthday (which was November 8th).  I'm a bit ashamed that we forgot to post about it, but this time of year always seems to get away from us somehow.  Anyway, rest assured that she had a wonderful birthday, even if we didn't document it. ;)

Rachel felt well enough to get dressed and pose for a few pictures with Maggie.  I think with a little more rest she should be as right as rain in no time. :)  As you can see, Maggie got to wear a much less formal dress this year, which thrilled her to no end. ;)

Rachy and Mags ;)

They went for minimal decorations this year:  a sparkly tree and snowman on top of the dresser...

...and a wreath on the front of the dresser.

And here are Ava and Elena, looking elegant in their formal gowns.  Ava is still here on a trial basis, taking her time getting to know all of us and seeing if she fits in.  Mama thinks now that Elena and Ava are more like distant cousins than sisters, but they've still really enjoyed getting to know each other and sharing a room together.

Blues and purples are great colors for them, aren't they? :)

They got to use the sparkly green wreath...

...and another of the mini snowmen.

After the room pictures were done, Mama insisted that the Hathaway sisters needed a picture together.

Didn't they turn out wonderfully?  They're all three so photogenic. :)

Then Mama realized that Rachel and Jenna needed a picture together, too. :)

Emma and I decided we needed a few pictures together with our matching dolls.  It's not often we get to dress so formally and match our dolls at the same time.  We felt quite elegant. :)

Emma's dress is perfect for her coloring.  I love how the green of her ribbon matches the green of her eyes.

I just love looking like my special Samantha doll.  I'm so grateful to have her, and I'm so glad that Emma ended up with her special Cecile, too.  I'm sure we'll cherish our dolls for years to come.

The only distressing thing in all of this is that we couldn't find our stockings anywhere!  Mama assured us that she still had them and they would be sure to turn up.  I certainly hope so.  Our stockings always add such a bright, colorful touch to our rooms.  It would be tragic if we were unable to use them this year! :(

I'm not sure how often we'll have a chance to post this month, as December is always horribly busy for everyone.  We'll do our best to keep you updated on our lives as much as we possibly can, though. :)

I hope you enjoyed the post.  Have any of you decorated for Christmas yet?

P.S.  We changed our header and background to reflect the time of year.  What do you think?   (Thanks to The Spicys for the great idea of using tinsel garland as a photo backdrop.  :D  Unfortunately, Mama decided to be frugal and went for the 97 cent garland instead of the fuller, more expensive ones, so our backdrop did not turn out quite as impressive as theirs.  It's still pretty and sparkly, though.) :}

Here's a copy of our old header:


Anonymous said...

What was wrong with Rachel?

beastsbelle said...

Not to worry, Anonymous. She has been fighting a minor cold. Personally, I think it may have had something to do with too many late nights watching "Avengers" and eating ice cream with Maggie, but that's just my two cents. ;) She's already feeling much better than she was. :)


Cathie said...

Wow! Wherever did you find those doll sized bins? ADORABLE!

beastsbelle said...

Walmart! Mama does a lot of her shopping there. :)


N said...

Pemberley is a great name for your cat! You all look beautiful in these photos.

beastsbelle said...

Thanks, N...I thought so too. ;) Oh, about Pemberley, I mean, not the fact that we all look beautiful. Goodness, that would have been egotistical! :}