December 14, 2006

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things...

Carl's G.I.F.T. Challenge Post #3

For today's Thursday Thirteen & Carl's G.I.F.T Challenge, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite Christmas decorations. Several of these items were gifts to me from my godmother (Miss Leslie) when I was a very little girl. In spite of my recent birthday (yesterday!), I am not terribly old. However, I tend to think of some of these ornaments as antiques. Maybe I should reevaluate that way of thinking and, instead, consider them cherished treasures.

This musical angel plays Silent Night.
I don't remember when Miss Leslie gave it to me,
but it's been around for quite some time.

This little Santa isn't as old as some of my other decorations,
but he's quite dear to me.
I love to collect little objects depicting "readers."

Ah, now this dear old fellow is almost as old as me! My godmother gave him to me on my 2nd birthday (1963). He takes two large batteries, one in each boot, and when the switch is turned on, he waves his wand (which lights up) and shakes his bell, turning his head from side to side. I can't imagine Christmas without him!

As one who loves to bake Christmas cookies for friends and neighbors,
this little guy just makes me smile. I bought him over 25 years ago.

A friend gave me the snowman on the right and I've since added to the collection (even have a couple of rabbits for springtime). I leave these guys out all winter, since they're not really Christmas decorations. You can read more about Dedham Pottery here and here.

I love the intricate detail of this angel.
It's really no bigger than my thumb!
A gift from Mom & Bill (purchased in Germany).

This is a photograph of me (on the bottom step) and my two older brothers.
My younger brother wasn't born yet.
I believe this picture was used for our Christmas card in 1963.
We were living in Lenoxville, Quebec at the time.

Ah, one of my all-time favorite ornaments.
This was given to me by my godmother.
It's held up very well after all these years!

My mom tells me that my great aunt Helen gave this to her in the late 50s. It was my favorite ornament as a child and Mom was kind enough to let me take it when I moved out.

One of the first ornaments I bought as a young wife and mother.
Living in San Diego, I must've romanticized the idea of snow!

Paddington Bear.
A favorite childhood book and a cheerful bit of London for my tree.

Hmmm, another snowman. I see a trend...

I have so many other favorites (homemade ornaments from my daughter's preschool days; a little birch canoe to remind me of a special vacation on Lake Vermillion; a ceramic polar bear), it was very difficult to choose this final item. The reason I selected this photograph of me and my then 2-year-old granddaughter is that it represents the meaning of Christmas. Being with those you love, doing what you love the most. What could be more special than reading to a child on Christmas Eve?


  1. I love how you've posted a picture of each item, you talented girl! Of course, the best is last, in my opinion: nothing could be better than reading to a child. At any time of year. Thanks for sharing your personal life, and I love the photograph of Rachel in the background of one of the pictures, too.

  2. Anonymous6:46 AM

    I just love that last picture! Merry Christmas (and happy birthday)!
    - Stephanie

  3. Anonymous8:25 AM

    It will not surprise you, my soul sister, that I woke up today thinking I would offer Christmas ornaments for my Thursday Thirteen! I did something different instead. :<)

  4. Anonymous8:51 AM

    Great pictures and great memories to go with them. I remember loving Paddington Bear as a child.

    I too have some items that I bought simply because they depict readers.

  5. Anonymous9:01 AM

    Wow, great idea for a list! I remember where I got all of my favorite ornaments and decorations too.. makes them so much more special.

  6. I love this, Lesley! That gives me the idea to feature some of my favorite ornaments, too. I collect Santas (wooden when I can find them) and have for years. This year I found a really cool one that "smokes" when you light a bit of incense in his belly (odd image, I know!).

    Thanks for sharing these.

  7. What a lovely post, Les. Thanks for sharing with us.

  8. Gosh, I'm homesick, and I've never even been to your house! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Anonymous11:51 AM

    Wow, those are some great ornaments! And I love the stories behind them.

  10. Anonymous11:56 AM

    Happy belated birthday!! Did you get some books? :)

    What a great picture and thank you for sharing your favorite ornaments. Too cute.

  11. Anonymous5:11 PM

    What a great post. I love ornaments to, and I look forward to taking each and every one of them out of the box each year.

  12. Anonymous3:39 AM

    Les, first off, let me wish you a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY for the 13th! Sorry I'm late, but hope you had a fantastic day nevertheless!

    Now, coming to your post, what a fabulous header - "These are a few of my favorite things", love it!

    Love all the vintage ornaments, too. You are lucky to have so many! The Paddington Bear is just wonderful and so are the gingerbread man, the reader Santa and the angel with the trumpet. The musical angel is also such a treasure! You've made me want to go steal a few decorations off my father's tree- he still has his first set of decorations that he bought as a young man in London in the late '50's.

    And Les, you are quite lovely! I love that picture of you reading to your grandaughter - how precious.

    Thank you for a beautiful Christmas post, I so enjoyed it!

  13. Bellezza - Thank you. It was a fun post to put together. Lots of special memories wrapped up in all those pictures.

    Speaking of which, I was going to move that photograph of Amy & Rachel when I took the picture of the musical angel, but decided to leave it in the shot. The angel has always gone right by the current Christmas picture of the girls and that's one of my favorites.

    I debated on the final picture for my post and was going to use the one of me with Shaylyn, as well as one of Rod with Rachel & Shaylyn (same night, different book). Somehow it just seemed too sad for this blog. But it is a wonderful picture of Rod reading to Shaylyn on Christmas Eve, with her mommy listening along.

    Stephanie - Thanks (and thanks!). :)

    Nan - Great minds think alike! :) I like what you wound up using for your TT. You know how much I love lists.

    Carl - I may do a post with photos of all my "readers." I'd be interested if we shared similar items.

    Angela - Thanks! You should see all the ornaments I didn't have room for on this list! 45 years worth of collecting Christmas decorations. Lots of favorites.

    Lisa - A smoking Santa?! You're right. It is an odd image! I'd love to see pictures of all your Santas if you get around to posting them.

    Andi - Thanks. It was fun to put together, although difficult to narrow down to just 13.

    Bybee - What a sweet thing to say!

    Lesley - Thanks. I had to call my mom a couple of times to confirm some of the stories behind the ornaments. I'm glad I have it all written down now!

    Iliana - Thanks for the birthday wishes! Yep, I got 3 books. I'll write about them next week. I'm off to Texas for my daughter's college graduation in a few minutes! Just had to pop in here and answer all these comments.

    Sheri - Thanks. I, too, enjoy unpacking all the ornaments every year. It's been difficult to do these past two years, however. Lots of memories of our oldest daughter who died a year and a half ago...

    Lotus - Thanks for the birthday wishes! It was a lovely day. Glad you like the title for this post. It just came to me (sometimes I sit and sit trying to think of something clever, you know?). I do feel quite lucky to have so many wonderful ornaments. Guess it's a good thing my birthday is in December. And you are too sweet. I was a bit hesitant to post a picture of the real me on my blog, but it is one of my favorite pics of me and my sweet little granddaughter.

    Glad you all enjoyed the post. I sure enjoyed reading everyone's comments. Such a fun bunch of friends I have here. :)

  14. Anonymous11:42 PM

    I'm late to comment, but just wanted to say what a lovely post. It was wonderful seeing your special ornaments.

  15. Anonymous4:38 PM

    Lesley, you are a beautiful grandma and mother. Loved seeing pictures of some of your 'favorite things'. And the pictures of your daughters and granddaughter are beautiful. All these Christmasy blogs are helping with the Christmas spirt. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Anonymous5:31 PM

    I adore your Paddington Bear ornament!! Thanks for sharing your memories with us...I enjoyed your ornaments.

  17. les, come back soon. I miss you. Hope all went well in Texas.

  18. Nat - And I'm late with my responses! Glad you enjoyed the post. It was fun putting it together. Fun to think about the history of my treasures.

    Booklogged - Aww, aren't you sweet. Thank you.

    Orange Blossom - Thank you. I also have a cute little Buckingham Palace Guard and British telephone booth ornaments, but I ran out of room on this post. Maybe next year...

    Bellezza - I'm back! It was a wonderful trip.

  19. Those are all lovely, Les. And, such a wonderful photo of you reading to Shaylyn! I also love the picture of your girls in the background of that first photo. I'm so glad you didn't move it.

    Oh, I know about those smoking Santas! My husband brought one back from Germany . . . and gave it to my mother. He actually brought home three "smokers", in all (only one was a Santa), and gave every single one of them as gifts. I own a very small one a friend in Germany sent me, but it's nowhere near as nice as the one David gave my mother. LOL

  20. I love the memories that you have with your ornaments. I especially love the pictures of the reading Santa and the reading Grandma. Very neat.

  21. Bookfool - Nice to see you back here again! I'm glad you enjoyed all the pics. I'll have to keep my eye out for one of these smoking Santas I keep hearing about! :)

    Framed - Thanks. Those are two of my VERY favorite things. :)

  22. Anonymous3:45 PM

    Nope, it's Ann actually - and you're the first Lesley (or Leslie, for that matter) who had something else besides that as a middle name - I was beginning to think that was some sort of cardinal rule.

  23. Anonymous3:46 PM

    Oops, I meant to post that comment to the other post!

  24. Lesley - My best friend in elementary school was a Leslie Ann. It is a popular middle name for Lesleys/Leslies, isn't it?


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