Our Shenandoah Valley Christmas 2013 was extra special with family, friends, and traditions all rolled into one. It was magical, spiritual, and homey, a celebration to never forget. Through it all, I had camera in hand to take photos of people and places and experiences and, while most photos of family members aren't posted on my blog, here's a window into our world during 10 magical days.
We were grateful to have our parents with us for Christmas. Mom had a health scare a couple of years ago so each year is special.
Everyone baked cookies and made candy and other goodies that were stored in colorful tins.
Mom has collected Santas for years. These are two that she gave me to brighten my kitchen.
Candles give a peaceful feeling to the season and, in the tradition of Colonial Virginia and the Richmond area where I was raised, I display white ones.
Snowflakes hang over the kitchen sink.
He came into our lives after our father passed away many years ago and has been like a father to my sisters and me ever since.
Our wintry coffee/hot chocolate cups.
Many displays are from friends. The goose pitcher is from Mom; the snowman in the wreath is from dear nearby friends; the "Celebrate" platters are from my Richmond sister. The fresh arrangement was sent to my mother from my cousin Marie in Richmond. The Santa picture on the wall was a gift from SWAC Husband, bought in Gatlinburg, TN, a number of years ago when our children were young. The Santa on the dry sink was one of Mom's that she passed along to me.
Christmas Eve morning it was 10.2 degrees in our corner of Augusta County, and we saw a few snow flurries that day to make it seasonal.
SWAC Daughter's Christmas gift from SWAC Son ... my two Carolina Panthers fans. They are happy campers now that the Panthers are the NFC South Champions.
Christmas morning breakfast.
The cardinal was the 2013 George W. Bush Presidential Library ornament painted by the former president.
My special ornament from patient Stacy from Richmond Children's Hospital years ago. The background story of this ornament is here.
SWAC Daughter, cat lover, and her Christmas tee shirt.
Fresh greenery decorated the house ... Frasier fir, magnolia leaves, nandina berries, evergreen.
She loves the movie "How to Train Your Dragon" so there she sat, SWAC Niece and the dragon from Aunt Lynn sitting on her keyboard....
Busch Gardens' Christmas Town in Williamsburg is quickly becoming a family tradition with millions of multi-colored and white twinkly lights, decor, Christmas trees, sights, sounds, and smells of the season. We went down the Friday after Christmas....
Christmas Town ... the night passed too quickly but we had fun in the cold December air.
Christmas Eve and "It's a Wonderful Life."
Christmas wouldn't be complete without visiting friends and their new babies.
The Appalachian Mountains on Christmas Eve weren't covered in snow but it was cold and felt seasonal, and that was enough.
Homeschool friends, now grown and with children of their own, visiting during the holidays. We are a family, a community, that stays close and in touch as our children marry and begin their own families ... a special connection that will not fade with time.
Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell