Last weekend I had the opportunity to receive a pretty incredible Christmas gift early. I got to do something that I’ve literally dreamed of doing for the last 20 years. I got to go back home. Let me explain…
When I was nearly 15 we moved from the only house I had ever known – the house I was born in, grew up in and never wanted to leave. It was an exciting time for my parents, finally buying the lake home they had dreamed of someday owning and moving back to the town my Dad grew up in. But for me, it meant saying goodbye to the only place I had ever called “home.”
Last Saturday, our parents surprised my brother, sister and I with the gift of visiting that house again. My mom had stayed in touch with the new owners over the last several years and asked if it would be alright if we visited. It’s something I never, ever thought I’d get the chance to experience again.
Just pulling up into the driveway brought on tears. I was hit with a barrage of emotions, and a flood of memories washing over me the minute I stepped foot through the door. Suddenly, there I was, 10 years old again, and “home.”
Touring the house was surreal. Suddenly, everything seemed much smaller than I remembered it. But oh so many things felt the same. The house I grew up in was an older home, filled with charm. My favorites – built-in cupboards and bookcases, the vintage wallpaper on the ceiling, old-fashioned heat radiators, the hand-painted banister upstairs, crystal light fixtures and doorknobs, screened-in porch & walk-up attic – all these things still remained.
Some things were very changed, but mostly, the house was just as I remembered it. It was honestly such a great experience to be able to relive my childhood by walking through that home again. It was even more special because I got to take my husband and my kids along too. Now they can understand why I compare every house I’ve ever stepped foot inside of to that one.
But something struck me as we were leaving and on our way back to our own “home” that afternoon. We have been living in the house that we built 7 years ago, making the same kinds of memories with our own children. As much as I dream about moving someday back into a house like the one I grew up in, my kids probably view our home in the same way I did as a child.
I often hear my kids say things like, “I never want to move” or “I love our house.” And that makes my heart really happy. I hope I can continue to make our home a sanctuary for our family, just as my parents did for me & my siblings growing up.
One way I try to do that – especially around the holidays – is by decorating our home in ways that will bring back that same nostalgia someday.
I don’t really purchase a lot of new fancy Christmas decor every year – I just find creative ways to use the favorite things I have again in new ways. Sometimes I put things out that I didn’t the year before. Then there are favorites that go up every year. Like this Advent Activity pallet I made for our family last year.
We decided to get a real tree this season, for the first time in several years, but I’m so glad we did! It smells great and aside from the needles I have to vacuum up, I really love it. Our family ornaments mean so much to us – many of them are handmade and have sentimental value.
I brought in this vintage white bed frame my dad salvaged for me from a junk shed he was cleaning out and decided it would look pretty with some garland and a Merry Christmas felt banner plus little red mittens strung across the top. The other bottom half of it is outside in our front garden bed with pretty white lights and a wreath on it!
Of course our nativity really has special meaning since we celebrate the birth of Jesus, and I love finding new ways to display it every year. He is the reason for our joy this time of year and always.
I decorate with my kids in mind at Christmas, so a lot of their favorite things are here in this space. A countdown advent Christmas tree with little drawers for tiny ornaments. A basket of Christmas books. Candy cane pillows. Stockings.
There are many ways you can make your home feel inviting around the holidays. Don’t be so concerned with what the designer magazines tell you your home should look like. Instead, decorate from the heart. Use pieces that have special meaning to you and your family.
Remember what it was like to have that childlike wonder at Christmas time.
And what it was like to be home for the holidays.