There’s No Place Like “Home for the Holidays”

25 Dec

Whatever culture, country or religion, this time of the year universally is for families and the celebration of love. For me, it means celebrating Christmas with my family in New York and Pennsylvania. Here’s a snapshot into my favorite memories of Christmas Present & Christmas Past.

Robin and Reagan Wallace at Bryant Park with the Holiday Tree, December 22, 2011.

As I began decorating for Christmas, I was so touched by all the memories and love held in my hands. From ornaments to child-made crafts, as well as special gifts, I found myself heartily embraced by family members and friends.

The process started right after Thanksgiving and took another two weeks in a “piece mail” style of decking the halls (who else can relate?), which meant I had an ever-present warm fuzzy of the nostalgia and cheer of many past Christmas-times.


The Holiday Concert of First & Second Graders: A picture as classic as Norman Rockwell could paint.

It made me realize that Christmas is like a big, cozy homemade quilt where you get to snuggle in for a little power nap to give you that extra boost of joy and love to keep you inspired and energized for the rest of the year.

As I sit in my childhood home, I am surrounded by the sounds of a chiming grandfather’s clock, babies giggling, children squealing, parents and spouses laughing and talking … it’s a timeless soundscape that leaves me breathless in wonder.

It’s not like I’m the kid walking around in my own world, or this is some other family or storybook vignette. This is my family; This is the foundation of my son’s childhood memories; I am one of the adults creating this framework for the next generation’s traditions.

Wow, how times does march on and yet, it does remain so much the same …

… Bound in a cycle that gives pause to remember why life is so important: Life is the paramount gift which begins in the act of giving, and love.

Here are a couple snapshots of “a few of my favorite things” … I just couldn’t resist the reference … Enjoy!

Christmas in New York


A vignette of home decor & holiday decorations blending in seasonal cheer!


A Yo-Yo Button Wreath made by my late Great-Grandmother Derr.

A Thimble Elf made by my late Great-Grandmother Derr.

A Yo-Yo Christmas Tree made by my late Great-Grandmother Derr. These are just three of the dozens of crafts and quilts she made for me (not including my sisters and other family members) over the years. I was very lucky to have known her so well until my early 20’s when she passed away. Certainly, she was the DIY, craft & domestic queen of the family!

A Snowman Figurine given to me by one of my sisters when I was 13, and a vintage 1980 Christmas plate from the year of my birth given to me by my Grandmother Wallace.

2005- Reagan Ornament
One of the first ornaments given to me by my son, Reagan, when he was just 18 months old. I love having one from him every year — from photos to hand prints — it marks his growth from year to year and all the memories made along the way!

Reagan & Lillian
Reagan and my niece Lillian work on putting the final touches to our Christmas tree.

Mantle Tree

Our mantle’s centerpiece is a two-fold crafted creation: First, the cardboard, toilet paper roll and tin foil star made by Reagan when he was 4-years-old. And, then the Styrofoam tree covered in tissue paper, glitter leaves and retro buttons — Reagan and I made this in December of 2009 when I was at home recovering from two subdural hematomas. This craft took much of my strength but was our little activity to keep life “normal” at that time.

To have special time as a little family, Reagan and I open our presents together on Christmas Eve morning at our home, and then we travel to my childhood mom in Pennsylvania. I love that we have a fireplace to hang our stockings by with care … and that our quilted stockings were handmade by my stepmother!

Christmas in Pennsylvania

On Christmas morning in Pennsylvania, Santa brought some silly glass for some silly kids! It was in our childhood home that three out of four sisters, significant others and children came to celebrate Christmas morning together.

Three of the four American grandkids!

My mom’s Royal Doulton china which we ate a glorious Christmas Eve feast upon. As a kid, this design always looked like Kermit-the-Frog to me! Can’t you also see Kermie’s face?

Our family’s 
grandfather clock

A vintage tea towel, one of my mom’s many Santas as part of her extensive St. Nick collection.

A ‘frig filled with lots of memories, and some home-made Christmas magnets.


Another vintage tea towel that belonged to previous generations, my mom’s cross-stitched towel which I remember her making back in the mid 1980s, and my “collegiate” birdhouse that I made for my mom as her first little Robin was heading off to college 800 miles from home. In theory, it was to keep her from feeling like her nest was empty!

What are the memories that make you warm during this holiday season? What are your favorite new memories made this year?


2 Responses to “There’s No Place Like “Home for the Holidays””

  1. Dawn December 25, 2011 at 8:26 PM #

    Merry Christmas to you and your son, Robin!! Your pics are wonderful! I LOVE all your great-gramma’s crafts. Your apartment is adorable :-)…you have a fireplace!!! Reagan is already *quite* the artist; I can see where he gets it. All those handmade pieces really make the holidays more special, yes? They are the real treasures. Thank you for sharing your life with us, your humble readers 🙂


  2. Helen Ann December 28, 2011 at 10:32 PM #

    This is a lovely post. I especially like your metaphor, “Christmas is like a big, cozy homemade quilt.” I can visualize that for my family as well. Thanks for sharing your pictures and memories. Merry Christmas!


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