Home For Christmas

The Christmas Season has arrived in southwest Ohio and we’re ready to celebrate. The tree is decorated, the fireplace is lit, the smell of seasonal spices and baking is in the air, and the classic holiday sounds of Bing Crosby, Perry Como, and Andy Williams are streaming from the radio. Christmas is such a special time!

While we are aware that many of you have special traditions and meanings in your holiday routines, here are some of our own creative customs and practices that have made this time of year so festive for us:

1.  Home Decorations

Over the years we have discovered that “less is more.” Balancing the quantity of decorations (both inside and out) may provide you more quality – less stimulation and more room to relax, breathe, and discover some real “peace on earth.” Natural and/or country-style garnishes and trimmings may soften your home, making it warm and inviting. You may also explore a house-wide “theme” and/or a theme for each room where decorations meet the everyday styles and colors.

2. Seasonal Traditions

Christmas celebration comes early at the Rhoades’ house, at least in the form of music. Scott customarily pulls out the holiday music in mid-September as a creative way to imagine and capture the meaningful depths of the season.

For the past several years, we’ve also enjoyed attending and participating in Christmas Eve church services as a means to focus ourselves on the true meaning and spirit of our celebrations. This is often followed by a quiet evening at home where we enjoy a course of dried meats, cheeses, and crackers, and an exchange of smaller “stocking” gifts. Major gifts are reserved for Christmas morning.

Just as the music begins early, so the decorations stay up longer. Scott grew up in a very diverse ethnic and religious community, so it was not uncommon for everyone to continue celebrating up until the Russian Orthodox New Year. So, if you visit the Rhoades’ home in January, be prepared for some extended “comfort and joy.”

3. Seasonal Wishes

Whatever your customs and traditions, may your home serve as a haven for family and friends and may your holiday be filled with peace and goodwill. Merry Christmas!

©Copyright 2013 Scott Rhoades/Ivory Hill Studios

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