“I’m the historian and recorder of the family,” she added. “I’m hoping my kids will keep putting up some of the decorations after I’m gone and I hope the grandchildren will remember and talk about how much their grandmother loved Christmas.”
A book as tradition
One of her Christmas traditions began after a friend bought her a book titled "The Family Christmas Book" that supplied blank pages with prompts to record memories for 25 years of holiday fun. She recently filled the last page. By reading the stories to her children and grandchildren every year (and showing the pictures she has taped inside), the entire family is able to relive happy times.
To her surprise, she found more copies of the book. After purchasing one for each of her children (Brady and Beth), she painstakingly rewrote all the stories by hand into their own volumes. She also supplied a blank book to each of them so they can continue the tradition with their own families.
This special book is displayed prominently in the family room on a bookshelf near the fireplace. Six stockings hang from the mantle, while three giant ones hang on the nearby shelf. One is for her only grandchild, Chelsta, one is for the child expected in May and the other is for any on the horizon.
“Thanksgiving is about blessings and being grateful and I think it’s a great holiday to lead into the season of Christmas,” she said. “We were given such a great gift at Christmas and that’s what I try to convey in my house with the decorating. My decorations aren’t expensive or new. I just want to people to see the spiritual meaning behind them.”
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Although Pat Barnes attaches a spiritual meaning to all her Christmas decorations, she does have a special spot for those that overtly represent the birth of Jesus, such as the nativity sets. Grouped together in a prominent location, they reflect the deep meaning of the holiday.