Yearly Family Picture Christmas Ornaments
Our Christmas tradition is to add yearly family picture Christmas ornaments to our collection and I am showing you how I display them. Now that my kids are almost grown it is so special to look back at all the memories when I get to unpack all the ornaments and hang them up.
My über talented friend Jennifer of withHEART is hosting a holiday tour series that is supposed to highlight each blogger’s traditions and meaning behind their individual decor.
Every one of us does something different and it is so interesting to hear. Today Sarah M. Dorsey and Style House Interiors are sharing their Holiday with HEART with you and tomorrow you can continue at Simply Organized.
Collecting yealry family picture christmas ornaments
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If you are new around here because you are coming from a different blog then you might not know that I’m from Germany. I just got my American citizenship this year actually. In Germany, we celebrate Christmas on the evening of the 24th. No opening presents on the 25th in our PJs for us. My kids actually love love love this because they have fun telling their friends that they don’t have to wait until the morning like everyone else.
In Germany growing up, there wasn’t a Santa Claus, we had St. Nicholaus and he came on December 6th. We used to leave out boots for him to fill with nuts, oranges, and some chocolates. And he would also come to talk to us with his scary helper “Knecht Ruprecht” who brought his wooden rod that he’d pretend to whip us with if we were bad. Needless to say, we were scared to death. St. Nicolaus is the original Santa Claus and reading about him is so interesting.
So on the 24th, we went to church to celebrate Jesus’ birthday, and when we came home “Christkind” (and no we weren’t deeply religious at all) had left presents under the tree for all the children. I believed in baby Jesus and not in Santa Claus.
So to combine the two and not make our kids totally left out in this country, we celebrate on the evening of the 24th but it is Santa Claus who brings them gifts although I do have to admit that I wish it would be the old ways in our house too. I love the origin of everything and don’t like how it has all gotten lost.
After opening presents, we eat broth fondue which is so much fun and our children love having to cook their own meat and vegetables in the broth and then getting to dip them into different sauces that we prepared earlier that day. This meal ensures that we all get to sit around and enjoy each other’s company for a bit longer since it is a lengthy meal due to having to cook every individual bite.
During that evening my husband and I drink a bottle of champagne or two and really love that we don’t have to drive anywhere. Just having the 4 of us for an entire evening is quite wonderful.
Another thing that my husband and I started when we got married is that we make one framed ornament from each year of us on that special Christmas Eve. We usually decorate our fun Christmas tree in the family room with those but since we have a torn apart basement family room this season, I came up with a different way to display those frames and I really love it and might have to do it again next year. In March we will be married for 17 years so we have quite a couple of frames. I also added a few that I just loved of our kids with Santa when they were smaller.
This is the secretary desk (it’s one of my first ever furniture makeovers and blog posts) that I usually have in the living room but it got moved into the master bedroom to make room for the tree. I really love having all these sentimental photos in our bedroom where we snuggle and watch TV a lot before we go to bed:
Other related Christmas posts:
I’m also a firm believer in letting my kids decorate their room by themselves for Christmas. My son isn’t all that into it which is the reason that I don’t have any photos of his room. But my daughter is just like me and loves it.
You can download my daughter’s vintage paint-by-numbers by clicking HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE.
Two years ago I showed her how to cut snowflakes out of white paper. Now she reminds me of elf in the movie because she’ll sit there for hours making them. She hasn’t perfected making them in pointy star shapes. They are still squares which I think is sweet. She made the garland completely herself, all I had to do is hang it. And she also decorated the tree in her room and made a duct tape star for the top. She hung a wedding photo of us on the paint by numbers.
I can’t deny that she is clearly influenced by my design choices as you can see which melts my heart.
(I get asked about the vintage paint by numbers all the time which I bought at Goodwill but I found some on Etsy just like it (HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE). You can buy a small white tree HERE, a clear chair HERE. I made the headboard myself out of Ikea curtains – read the tutorial HERE. The desk is also Ikea.)
When we got married in Germany we received a large German Christmas Pyramid as a gift and we still have it and light it every year. You can find the same one right HERE.
And my dad sends us a huge package of original “Nürnberger Elisen Lebkuchen“. Christmas time wouldn’t be the same without them. So so good.
You can see the small version in the photo below next to the pyramid:
Here is a peek into our living room:
Come see the rest of my Christmas tour.
Our kids say it looks like Narnia in our living room which I love to hear.
This Christmas is also very heartbreaking for all of us as we are preparing to say goodbye to our youngest (around 6 years old) Monkey, who is suddenly dying of kidney failure. I’m trying to put down many of my projects and plans to just spend time with her and love on her and the other very old cats (16, 17, and 21 years old) with my children.
So I’m wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and Holiday season and I hope you enjoyed my Holiday with HEART tour.
If you enjoyed what you saw you can stop by again to see more of my home. I just got my new dining room chandelier installed and I’m sharing the rest of my dining room in the reveal. Here’s a little sneak peek:
so pretty! i love the branch with the photos, and lily’s room is the sweetest. i wanted to make paper snowflakes this year but i never got to it.
Have Emmy make some 😉
I LOVED reading this Julia! My mom lived in Germany before I was born and we visited at Christmas time once when I was a toddler and once when I was 9. It left such an impression on me as a child. My mother brought back several German Christmas decorations, a German pyramid, a little wooden village, and wooden toy trains to name a few. I have a small pyramid of my own and set up the little wooden village from my childhood in my home. They hold such special memories to me. Thanks for sharing your traditions:)
Oh we had a wooden village too. I forgot about that the tree had these curly wood shavings. I’d love to bring one of those home too one day. Thanks for the visit Heather. You should go back to Germany one day again.
Love to hear about others traditions and your family photos are so special. Beautiful decor everywhere. Can’t wait to see a sneak peak of your dining room.
Thanks Marty. I’m so in love with my new dining room light 😉 and can’t wait to share it.
Julia, I love your tour! I love everything from your display of your ornaments above your desk, to the snowflakes hanging in your daughters room. I also love reading about your german traditions, my dad lived in germany when he was in the army, my older sister was born there. My younger sister and I were just talking about some of the traditions we felt like were meant to scare kids. I am happy we got to grow up with a nice happy version of Santa Claus ; ) but if I’m not mistaken, we owe the tradition of Christmas trees to Germany, that one I love! sorry to hear about your fur baby 🙁 hugs to your family!
Thanks for the visit Jen. Yes the Christmas tree is from Germany too. St. Nicholaus was a happy guy though, I was only scared of his helper. But I think a little bit of being scared isn’t all that bad for kids 😉 It made us behave. Happy Holidays!
I like how they seem to stretch Christmas out all month long in Germany ;). And I love how your daughter’s decorated her room–the snowflakes are just lovely!
Thanks, she’s working on trying to get pointy star shaped snowflakes right now 😉
Oh Julia i just love this so much friend. I remember leaving our boots out by the door when we lived in Germany and praying that St. Nic brought us nuts and fruits instead of coal. We were so stressed every Christmas! I love seeing all your German traditions highlighted here. I miss the chocolates there so so much. Nothing here compares. Also adore your girls room. The snowflakes instantly made me smile.
Yes to the chocolate. But a lot of them you can get at our grocery store here now too.
No pickle on the tree? That is one of my favorite German traditions that I am sharing with my two girls. No Saint Nick in part because my youngest’s birthday is Dec. 5 so I could never keep the dates straight but that was another favorite childhood memory of mine. Luckily since we were in the states we didn’t have to worry about his helper – my mom didn’t bring that part over with her 😉 And lebcuchen. How I used to love getting the packages from my Omi with Lebcuchen and gummi bears!
Nope no pickle. As a matter of fact I didn’t know anyone growing up who actually did that in Germany 😉 My mom always brings the kids Gummibärchen too. Thanks for reading Susan.
My heart is so sad for you, its so painful to lose our furry children. They give us so much love.
Thanks Barbara, I burst out crying non-stop randomly 🙁
Every single part of your home is gorgeous. I am wondering if you will share the how to of the snowflakes? I have a desperate need for unbreakable, and inexpensive ornaments. Thank you for the tour.
Maybe I can get my daughter to make a square snowflake tutorial 😉 but she just cuts randomly and sees what comes out and the end 😉
Thank you for giving little Monkey a happy, loving home for his last days, before crossing the rainbow bridge.
Thanks Sheryll, I will miss her so much. Even my husband said yesterday that he will miss her and he didn’t want to have anything to do with her when she showed up at our door step. But she became his garden buddy and hung out with him when he did yard work or sat in the sun.
Oh, I love hearing your the history of Christmas and how you celebrated it as a child. I really like how you are incorporating your past into your children’s lives. So good! Also, I don’t think that picture frame display could be any cuter. Really adore it. Can’t wait to see that dining room.
Thanks Ashley. I wish I could take the kids to Germany for Christmas one of those years 🙁
Es war schön, Deine Weihnachtsgeschichte zu lesen. Danke dafür. Wir packen unsere Geschenke übrigens am Morgen des 25.12. aus…..im Schlafanzug ; ) .
Fröhliche Weihnachten wünscht Alexandra aus Hamburg
Hallo Alexandra, echt wie die Amerikaner? Keine von meinen Freunden in Deutschland haben das früher gemacht 😉 LG und frohe Weihnachten
I loved this. The fondue meal sounds so fun, what a great tradition. The champagne too 🙂 The framed photos each year are such a sweet idea – I love how it’s snapshot of where you were in your life that year. I might not like to see myself aging though…
Oh Julia, I loved your post so much! It’s funny– every time I read something of yours I can hear you saying it in your adorable accent and it makes me so happy! I was laughing at your story about the scary santa– how terrifying! And crying over your sweet girl, traditions, and poor kitty. I’m so sorry for you! I can’t thank you enough for joining in the tour. Love you! xx
Awwww thanks Jen. Love you too and I think back to our dinner conversation in NYC which makes me smirk and giggle sometimes. Knowing these little secret did-bits about each other is awesome!
The scary santa helper was quite helpful to my parents at times. I could use him at times in our house too. Thanks so much for including me in your series and Happy Holidays.
I love hearing about other people’s traditions. We do our big Christmas celebration and extended family presents on the 24th also. Santa and immediate family is done on Christmas day. Since we get the large Christmas celebration done first thing, Christmas day always feels more relaxed and chill.
I love the branches and photos!! This is so beautiful!