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Ted Adelman’s name may not mean much to people who live outside the Washington, DC area but to the locals he produced Christmas magic. Yesterday I learned that he had died just a few weeks ago. In a way it’s fitting that his family waited until another major holiday weekend (Fourth of July) to announce his death because Ted Adelman celebrated Christmas in a really big way. Boy, did he ever celebrate that holiday! Each December his home would look like this.

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You can see more photos I took of that house in my blog posts that I wrote in 2012 and 2014.

I also shot a video in 2010 of both that house and another home located across the street that was also decorating in a big way. That video shows how the house had Christmas lights that flashed in synchronicity to cheerful Christmas music that was piped outside.

That tradition abruptly ended last December when the family decided not to decorate their home for the holidays. It was when NBC4 investigated and learned the reason why: Ted Adelman had been battling cancer and he simply didn’t feel up to it. His neighbors decided to organize a group of Christmas carolers that came over to his home on Christmas night singing Christmas carols as a way of thanking him for all the years that he brought cheer to neighbors and strangers alike.

As of this writing it’s not known whether his family plans to continue with this tradition or not and we probably won’t know until December. If there’s a Heaven, I can imagine Ted Adelman trying to overdecorate it at Christmas so much that even Jesus will tell him “You don’t have to do this for me. Really. Oh, well, I’m very flattered that you care this much about me.”

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That day was the People’s Climate March on Washington, the latest in a series of anti-Trump marches that began with the Women’s March back in January. I would’ve gone to that one if it weren’t for the fact that I had a scheduling conflict. But I don’t feel too guilty over missing that one since I took part in the Women’s March on Washington and the Werk for Peace Dance Protest.

Besides there are more anti-Trump marches on Washington planned for the future which will focus on LGBTQ rights, fans of the hip hop group Insane Clown Posse (that one is because, for some weird reason, the federal government has classified the fans of this group as gangs and terrorists), and public education. I’m sure there will be even more marches the longer Trump stays in the White House.

I had a pretty busy Saturday. First I decided to help out with the yard sale that’s put on by Changing Focus, which helps people deal with separation, divorce, and widowhood. The yard sale was held on the grounds of the Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church in Crofton, Maryland, which gave me a rare opportunity to see this church in broad daylight. (The support group meetings are usually held on Thursday nights.) I noticed that the church had its own Little Free Library.

Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church

Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church

I also saw this huge banner saying that the church is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church

Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church

Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church

Plus I took a couple photos of this beautiful azalea bush that was in full bloom.

Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church

Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church

The yard sale had plenty of items but I saw none of the outdated technology products that I saw in previous yard sales. (Which included a Westinghouse vacuum tube, a microcassette recorder, blank 5.25″ computer floppy disks, a TiVo, a VHS tape rewinder, and a portable analogue TV set with a built-in VHS player.) I guess the organization is discouraging these kinds of donations mainly because I never saw anyone buy the outdated technology items. There were still some kitschy items, some of which definitely belongs in a museum.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 29, 2017

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 29, 2017

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 29, 2017

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 29, 2017

Changing Focus Yard Sale

Changing Focus Yard Sale

Changing Focus Yard Sale

Changing Focus Yard Sale

Changing Focus Yard Sale

Like previous yard sales, this one was well-attended with plenty of shoppers. The weather was cloudy, hot (the temperature rose into the upper 80’s), and very humid. At one point there was a shower but, fortunately it was a short-lived storm. By the time the volunteers grabbed tarp to cover the clothes with the rain had ended. That brief storm didn’t affect attendance at the yard sale very much.

Changing Focus Yard Sale

The next photo shows the pit beef tent on the church grounds. The proceeds from the sale went to the Anne Arundel Volunteer Fire Department.

Changing Focus Yard Sale

The Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church had a book sale inside the building, which I browsed through. I also managed to walk next door to the grounds of the Crofton Country Club, where the Festival on the Green event was held.

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

The next two photos show a hockey mask that was signed by one of the actors who played Jason in the Friday the 13th movies. That mask wasn’t for sale. It was part of the decorations that were displayed on the Laurel House of Horror and Escape Room booth.

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

I bought a few items during my time in Crofton. I bought this bar of vanilla bean soap from the Simply Natural Handcrafted booth.

What I Purchased During My Time in Crofton

I bought a couple of books at the used book sale that was held inside the Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church. I found this hardcover book of counted cross-stitch patterns called The Great Counted Cross-Stitch Book by Ed and Stevie Baldwin for only 50 cents.

What I Purchased During My Time in Crofton

I also purchased a used copy of the Weight Watchers Quick Success Program Cookbook by Jean Nidetch. I once owned a copy of this book and I used to frequently cook meals from that book regardless of whether my husband and I were on diets or not. (The recipes in that book are that delicious.) When my marriage imploded I made the mistake of telling my husband that I had been going to the Thursday night Changing Focus meetings in an effort to improve myself. (He blamed me for the marriage collapse. At the time I wanted him back so I told him about those meetings in the hopes that he would return home.) He used that information to let himself into our home when I wasn’t there on Thursday nights and take some belongings. Among those was that cookbook. So I now have my own copy so I can cook those meals for myself now.

What I Purchased During My Time in Crofton

Like I wrote at the beginning of this post, I had a pretty busy Saturday. I ended up leaving the Changing Focus yard sale earlier than usual because I had another event scheduled at 2 p.m. for the same day. It was a beer tasting that I purchased through my church auction last fall. Even though it gave me a chance to socialize with some of my friends from church while tasting a few beers, I didn’t take any pictures. I was more into enjoying myself than playing photographer.

I attended my first Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School event of 2017 in Baltimore. I walked around the Station North Arts District a bit before I headed to The Wind-Up Space.

There’s a one-time movie theater known as The Centre, which is located just a few doors down from The Wind-Up Space whose art deco architecture is eye-catching. Recently that old theater has been renovated into an arts center. The Center really looks nice when it’s lit up at night.

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I walked into The Wind-Up Space where I noticed that, even though the Christmas holiday season ended a few days ago, that place still had a Christmas tree up. I couldn’t resist taking a few pictures of that tree because it’s mostly loaded with Krampus ornaments (with the exception of a VHS version of Willie Wonka & The Chocolate Factory that was hung on the tree).

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The model for this event was a burlesque performer named KiKi Allure and some of the drawings I did in this post are definitely NSFW.

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I took part in two of the contests that were held that evening. One of them was where we had to come up with some graffiti. I couldn’t resist invoking that infamous recording of Donald Trump where he bragged about how he grabs women by the pussy. (And that’s not to mention that he was still elected President of the United States despite all that.) By the way that phone number I wrote is real—it’s for the White House switchboard. That drawing was among the finalists but I didn’t win.

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The other contest I took part in was where we had to somehow incorporate both Elvis Presley and David Bowie because their birthdays are in January. (Of course this month is the one-year anniversary of David Bowie’s death and it was also the same day that I went to another Baltimore Dr. Sketchy’s event.) I decided to have the two men do a dance-off in a battle for KiKi Allure. I modeled Elvis after his role in the film Jailhouse Rock while I modeled Bowie after his androgynous glamour rock phase back in the early 1970’s. This drawing also made the finals but I didn’t win.

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I did one last drawing of KiKi Allure before the event ended and I headed home.

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January 6 was both the last day of the Christmas holiday season (a.k.a. Feast of the Epiphany, Little Christmas, Three Kings Day, and Twelfth Night) and the seventh anniversary of the day I wrote my first post in this blog. I spent the evening of this day attending this artist networking event known as the First Friday, which was held at the Prince George’s African American Museum & Cultural Center in North Brentwood, Maryland.

I have never been to that museum before so it was an opportunity to visit it, especially since it’s located so close to my home. It’s a small museum but it’s full of interesting artifacts. Thanks to that museum, I now know that North Brentwood was a town that was originally settled by African Americans veterans of the Civil War and it is still majority African Americans. Here are just a few of the artifacts that I saw in that museum.

At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event

At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event

At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event

At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event

At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event

At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event
At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event

Here’s a tennis racket that was once owned by the legendary tennis player Arthur Ashe.

At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event

The entertainment included a deejay and a rapper along with some speeches by museum officials.

At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event

At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event

At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event

At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event

At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event

At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event

Basically everyone present (including myself) networked among each other while viewing what the museum had on display at the time.

At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event

At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event

At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event

At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event

At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event

It was a nice event and I think this museum makes a nice compliment to the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture located downtown (which I haven’t visited yet) that has just opened last year.

Birthday Cake Santa Claus

That’s right, this blog is turning a lucky seven today! Seven years ago today I made my very first post in this blog. If this blog was a child, it would be in elementary school right now. My, how time flies!

Today also happens to be the day known alternatively as the Twelfth Night, Little Christmas, Feast of the Epiphany, and Three Kings Day. January 6 marks the traditional end of the Christmas holiday season where it’s time to put all of the decorations away until December.

Here’s are a few of the highlights of what I’ve done this past year.

Did jury duty. Not long after I served, I received another jury duty summons! (Fortunately I was able to get out of the second summons because I had recently served.)

Saw the Wizard of Oz playground at Watkins Regional Park in Largo, Maryland.

Survived the Blizzard of 2016.

Went to Crafty Bastards where I not only saw a variety of interesting crafts but I also saw a former Hecht’s warehouse that was converted to upscale apartments.

Saw giant lit inflatable bunnies at the Washington Navy Yard that was also the gathering point for a 1990’s style rave.

Went to a Pre-Valentine’s Day dance at my church.

Saw a lit-up Valentine House.

Took the opportunity of a Bernie Sanders Barnstorming Rally to do a walking tour around my old alma mater, the University of Maryland at College Park.

Celebrated Leap Year.

Photographed an impromptu memorial that was put up in the wake of the suicide of a man whom I only knew online.

Visited the Pennsylvania and North Avenues intersection (where the 2015 Freddy Gray riots broke out) in Baltimore as well as checking out Penn Station and the Station North Arts District.

Checked out one of the National Cherry Blossom Festival events in Washington, DC at the National Building Museum while also checking out the nearby Chinatown area.

Saw the blooming cherry blossom trees on Crofton Parkway in Crofton, Maryland.

Saw a giant insect hotel.

Took photos during the time I did some volunteer work for Bernie Sanders at a campaign office in College Park that was formerly a florist shop.

Took in the street art in Takoma Park, Maryland.

Photographed the statues and reliefs of Greenbelt, Maryland.

Saw the first annual Light City event in Baltimore.

Briefly appeared in a music video dedicated to Bernie Sanders. That video would be aired on Fox News only to get disparaged by on air personality Kennedy.

Attended the Greenbelt Green Man Festival.

Went to Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Attended the Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire.

Attended the Crazy Quilt Music Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Went to a pro-Bernie Sanders art exhibit in Washington, DC.

Walked around downtown Silver Spring on Memorial Day.

Went to a Greek Festival where I toured a Greek Orthodox Church.

Did the Open Studio Tour at the Prince George’s County [Maryland] Gateway Arts District in May and December.

Took some photos of the Station North Arts District in Baltimore.

Wrote my observations on what it was like to live without a smartphone for 24 hours.

Saw two separate Alice in Wonderland exhibits in College Park and Greenbelt.

Saw an art house in Hyattsville, Maryland, which I later submitted to RoadsideAttractions.com and it was selected.

Visited the notorious Block in Baltimore.

Saw a cosplay photoshoot in Baltimore.

Attended the annual Hon Fest in Baltimore.

Appeared in an episode of the YouTube series C.H.A.O.S. (Cartoon Hobbies and Other Stuff).

Proved that, yes, it’s possible to take decent fireworks photos with a smartphone.

Celebrated the 10th anniversary of my first online Internet film, Bees and Lavender.

Checked out the Art in the Park(ing) Lot.

Went to a comic book signing for the new comic book series Kim & Kim.

Made my first-ever visit to the large STEM makerspace known as TechShop in Crystal City, Virginia.

Confronted the demons of my past by photographing my hand giving the middle finger to my old high school.

Did an extended tour of Brookyn Park and Glen Burnie.

Did another extended tour of Glen Burnie while I was visiting my mother in the hospital.

Burned an old wedding present that was customized with my name and my ex-husband’s name.

Attended the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival on the first and second days. Also attended the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade and the third day of the festival.

Went to the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore for the first time since I was a teenager.

Took a few pictures of the Pennsylvania Dutch Market in Laurel, Maryland.

Went to a yard sale that specialized in vintage kitsch.

Discovered an off-beat side street in downtown Baltimore.

Checked out Stary Olsa, a Belorussian band who does medieval folk versions of classic rock tunes like The Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night” and Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall.”

Attended the Silver Spring Maker Faire.

Attended Intervention Con on the first, second, and third day where I saw celebrities like René Auberjonois, Alex Kingston, Thomas “She Blinded Me With Science” Dolby, and Dwight Schultz.

Went to the Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival on an usually hot and humid September day.

Saw a heavily-decorated Halloween house along Greenbelt Lake.

Attended an adult trick or treat event at Savage Mill. It was the first time I went trick or treating since I was a kid.

Helped out with the Trunk or Treat event at my Church.

Took pictures of the Greenbelt Pumpkin Festival.

Got my first glimpse of the controversial Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC the day before Election Day.

Visited the forgotten graveyards of Greenbelt, Maryland.

Checked out the spectacular Christmas shop at Valley View Farms.

Spent my birthday checking out Christmas Village in Baltimore and this over-decorated Christmas house in Glen Burnie.

Saw the National Christmas Tree in Washington, DC for the first time in many years.

Saw the Christmas lights at Savage Mill (including lights that draped the nearby Bollman Truss Railroad Bridge).

Checked out a brand-new library that has just opened in Laurel, Maryland and it features dinosaur bones lying in a pit in the middle of the library.

Took pictures of the opening ceremony of the Festival of Lights in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Spent Small Business Saturday at the Prince George’s County [Maryland] Gateway Arts District.

Attending a Sunday service at my Unitarian Universalist church that featured a puppet show instead of the usual sermon.

Checked out the fall foliage at the National Arboretum in Washington, DC.

Did a hike around the historic Bladensburg Waterfront Park (where one of the major battles of the War of 1812 took place).

Saw a trompe l’oeil painting in an unexpected place.

Spent Christmas Eve in downtown Washington, DC at Union Station and the National Postal Museum.

Saw some of the Christmas lights in Greenbelt, Maryland.

After seeing this in my neighborhood each Christmas Eve for several years, I finally took out my camera and photographed this tradition: Santa Claus riding around the neighborhood on the back of a fire truck.

Visited both the animals and the annual ZooLights at the National Zoo in Washington, DC.

A few of the art shows, craft fairs, and other arts and crafts-related events I participated in: Took part in a drawing event that was held in the historic Riversdale Mansion in Riverdale Park, Maryland. Attended a few Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School events in Baltimore and Washington, DC. Entered a local tiny art canvas contest. Took part in a charity art show that benefitted those who were displaced by the flood in Ellicott City. Designed my first button during Interventioncon. Submitted a painting to the annual Greenbelt Labor Day Art Show.

Santa Claus

Click here to learn about the origins of this.

Benjamin Franklin

It is wise not to seek a Secret and Honest not to reveal it.

Santa Claus

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Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11

Here is the 12th and final part of my series on how I celebrated a Tabletop Christmas this holiday season. I timed it so it would run concurrent with the traditional 12 days of Christmas, which begins on December 25. As I kept on writing new posts each day, I noticed that the 12th day falls on January 5 despite the fact that the traditional end of Christmas falls on January 6. In the past I would hear January 6 being referred to as “Twelfth Night.” I did some research and, thanks to this webpage, I now know that I didn’t make any mistakes when I began these posts on December 25 and reached the 12th post on January 5. That’s because January 5 have long been observed as the Twelfth Night, not January 6. The Twelfth Night is traditionally observed as “Epiphany Eve,” and it used to be a grand occasion for feasting since it was the final night of Christmas before the Feast of the Epiphany on the following day and it marks the official end of Christmas.

Besides, January 6 is also the anniversary of the day I wrote my first post in this blog so I’m not too upset or worried about ending this series on January 5.

This final post in this series focuses on other Christmas decorations besides tree ornaments.

These two cute decorations were originally Avon cologne bottles. I used to frequently get Avon products for birthday and Christmas presents because my mother had a co-worker at her job who sold Avon products on the side and this co-worker made plenty of extra money whenever she brought those Avon catalogues to her day job. Avon used to sell their colognes in various containers shaped like animals and people. I tried looking online to see if Avon still sells their colognes in special containers only to find that nowadays Avon uses the typical cologne bottles that other cologne and perfume manufacturers use. The newer bottles may be pretty but they lack the distinction and novelty of the older Avon cologne bottles.

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Both containers once held Sweet Honesty cologne. This brought back memories of when I used to frequently dab Sweet Honesty on myself. I found that Avon still sells Sweet Honesty cologne even if it no longer sells them in the novelty containers.

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This next item is a vintage angel doll that I’ve owned since I was a child. I used to call her “Bernie Angel” because she reminded me of my cousin Bernie. This angel has long black hair, just like my cousin used to wear her hair. (These days she wears her hair very short.) Bernie Angel has survived all kinds of things over the years, especially the time when my parents’ dog, Napoleon, swiped her and attempted to use her as a chew toy but we managed to get her away from the dog before he did any major damage. I brought her with me to college when I attended the University of Maryland as my one token Christmas decoration. Naturally she came with me when I got married and she’s still with me.

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Bernie Angel is a doll with no joints and she’s in a permanent kneeling position with her hands folded together in prayer.

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I pulled back her hair to show her sweet face. Her eyes are permanently closed. She has rouge on her cheeks, blue eye shadow, and pink lips.

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Here’s another side of Bernie Angel.

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Here’s the back.

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She has a tag attached but it’s stuck together in a permanent folded position and I have a hard time trying to separate the sides, which is why I have two photographs of this tag. The tag actually reads: “© 1996 KAMAR ® MADE IN JAPAN.” I tried doing a Google search only to turn up nothing. I have a feeling that Kamar went out of business a long time ago. This doll was made at a time when “Made in Japan” meant cheap imported goods that tended to fall apart. The fact that this cheaply made doll has survived all those years is pretty miraculous.

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The next photo shows three Ginger Cottages that I currently own. I first got into them when I purchased the incense burner that’s shown on the far right of the next photograph a few years ago. I’ve since added the other two buildings. I generally prefer Ginger Cottages over the more popular Department 56 villages because they are about half the size of the Department 56 and they fit both my small home and my budget much better. On top of it, Ginger Cottages are made in the U.S. (in fact they are made in central Virginia), which is a definite plus in my book since most consumer items seem to be made overseas in China and other Third World countries.

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The one thing I love most about Ginger Cottages is that if you shine a light through a hole in the bottom of each cottage, it’ll reveal a surprise, such as the giant nutcracker peering out the second story window.

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Yesterday I wrote about how my support group for people who are separated or divorce throws a post-Christmas party each year where people bring a wrapped present for the White Elephant Gift Exchange. In previous years I received two items that I now keep among my Christmas ornaments. The next photo shows a small candy jar that’s decorated with peppermint treats.

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Here’s another White Elephant gift I received. This one is a set of snowmen salt and pepper shakers, which I’ve only used as decorations. (I’ve never actually filled them with salt and pepper.)

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The next few photographs show various noise-producing Christmas decorations, all of which were given to me as presents. The first picture shows a jack in a box Santa Claus that my parents gave me when I was around seven years old. This toy was made in Japan and I still have him after all these years. It’s among the few toys I have from my childhood and he’s still in pretty good condition. The white paint is slightly faded in spots but that’s noticeable only if you take a very close look at his face. There is silver duct tape holding the box top to the rest of the box because the red cloth-like tape that held the two together had frayed with age. Otherwise, he still works just as well as he did the day I got him. Basically Santa squeaks when he pops out of the box.

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The next photograph features a small plastic Santa Claus puppet that I also have from my childhood. Whenever you press a button at the bottom of his yellow base, Santa moves around and his little bell makes a ringing sound. This puppet is still in very good condition and it still works after all these years.

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The next photographs show a ceramic music box featuring a pair of doves wearing Santa hats. When the music box is wound up it rotates as it plays “Deck the Halls.” This music box was among the last Christmas presents I ever received from my Aunt Linda before she died of breast cancer when she was only 48 years old.

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The next few photos feature a Hallmark music box ornament that my late mother-in-law gave to me as a birthday present. (My birthday and Christmas are only 10 days apart.) While there is a loop at the top to hang it from a tree, I have always chosen to put it flat on the table instead. When this ornament winds up, Mickey rocks right and left as the music box plays “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

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I made a short video demonstrating the four noise making decorations that you can see and hear for yourself.

I’m going to end this series with a decoration that is actually the first Christmas decoration I put up each year. It’s an Advent calendar and I usually put it up soon after Thanksgiving so I can be ready to start the countdown to Christmas on December 1. I originally purchased this calendar many years ago at the now-defunct Frank’s Nursery and Crafts.

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The entire calendar is mostly made from felt. The ornaments for this calendar are kept in this attached plaid bag marked “SMALL ACCESSORIES” when the calendar is in storage the rest of the year.

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When it’s time to take out the calendar, I remove the ornaments from the SMALL ACCESSORIES bag and place them in numbered slots.

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Starting on December 1 I remove one ornament from a numbered slot and place it on the tree. (The ornament attaches to the tree with velcro.) I keep it up until December 24 when the entire tree is filled and the numbered slots are empty. I leave this Advent tree up until January 6 when I take it down and put it in storage with the rest of the Christmas decorations.

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So that’s it for my 12-part Tabletop Christmas series. I’ll leave everything up through tomorrow (January 6) then I’ll start dismantling everything on January 7 until everything is packed away in boxes and stored in the attic.

Santa Claus

This year New Year’s Day fell on a Sunday so my Unitarian Universalist church decided to schedule its usual Sunday morning service. Since New Year’s Day is also the last day of Kwanzaa, the theme of this service was on Kwanzaa and how this congregation’s observance of it is more important now than ever before (especially since my congregation is among the houses of worship that has put up a Black Lives Matter banner on its property).

There was a special Kwanzaa feast following the Sunday service. The special Kwanzaa altar remained up after the service ended so I took a few photographs.

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I even got pretty silly and took this last photo using the Hatsune Miku photo app on my smartphone.

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Santa Claus

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10

This latest installment in my 12-part Tabletop Christmas series focuses on other tree ornaments that I haven’t featured in this series so far.

The ornament in the next photo was one that was released in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the New World in 1992. That commemoration was controversial mainly because Christopher Columbus’ role in history has become extremely controversial in recent years. I remember when replicas of the Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria docked at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, which drew some protests. I saw those ships myself and I was disappointed to learn that only the top deck was opened to the general public while the rest of the decks were roped off. I purchased the ornament because I thought it was very cute, which was the same reason why it survived my purge of excessive ornaments.

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This next photo shows a very stylized reindeer that I purchased from the Christmas shop at Valley View Farms years before I started this blog. I’ve always loved the design of this reindeer, which was why that one also survived my ornaments purge.

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Here’s a cute Hallmark ornament in the form of a bull-shaped piñata that has “Feliz Navidad” written on the sides.

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Here’s a glittery gold snowflake ornament that was given to me by one of my relatives years ago. I especially love the way it reflects when the lights are on.

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Here’s a gold heart that I purchased years ago because my then-husband said that he loves hearts. I kept it after he left and I made my ornaments purge because it looks lovely in the Christmas tree, especially when viewed from afar.

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The two ornaments in the next photo feature a gold leaf and a dolphin. I know the gold leaf was given to me and my then-husband by a family member but I don’t remember if it came from my parents, my mother-in-law, or my sister-in-law. The dolphin ornament was a Hallmark ornament that I purchased for my then-husband not long after we were married because my husband really loved dolphins. Naturally he left that one behind when he left me but I kept it because the dolphin looks really cute in the tree, especially with it looking like it’s in the middle of a mid-air jump through a Christmas wreath.

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This stylized wood star came from a relative from my then-husband’s side of the family but I don’t remember if his mother, sister, or his late Aunt Sue gave it to us. I usually hang this one towards the bottom of the tree.

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The next photo features two small ornaments. The pink elephant is made from glass and I purchased it from the Christmas shop at Behnke’s Nurseries years ago because it reminded me of the famous “Pink Elephants on Parade” sequence from the Disney movie Dumbo. This ornament even came with a tiny plastic champaign glass but, unfortunately, the champaign glass snapped off a long time ago and I couldn’t find it. The pink elephant still looks nice without the champaign glass so I kept it. The cat is a Hallmark ornament that was given to me by my parents when I was a teenager.

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The next photograph shows a Hallmark Mistletoe Fairy that I purchased mainly because when I was married my husband and I had a tradition where we hung mistletoe above the kitchen door and we used to time our meetings at the kitchen door so we would kiss. (LOL!) We didn’t get mistletoe in 2011 mainly because I was recovering from hip surgery and my husband was sick with bronchitis at the same time. I also didn’t know that he was planning to leave me three days after Christmas (and three months after my hip surgery) for a seriously mentally ill friend of ours. I thought about getting rid of that ornament when I was doing my ornaments purge but I ended up keeping it because this fairy looks really nice in the tree. I no longer keep mistletoe in my home so this ornament is about as close to having mistletoe as I get these days. (LOL!)

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This next ornament is a ceramic peppermint unicorn ornament that I purchased from a Hallmark store at a clearance price during a post-Christmas sale one year. That’s another ornament that I’ve always loved to hang in my tree.

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Remember the Beanie Babies craze of the 1990’s? At one point Ty came out with a line of Christmas ornaments that were smaller versions of the Beanie Babies. I selected Peace the Tye-Dyed Bear because I thought he was cute and I also remember the traditional “Peace on Earth” greeting at Christmas.

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The next few photos are small greeting cards that double as Christmas ornaments, which were given to me by my parents. Each of these greeting card ornaments have the same Victorian Era illustrations on both sides along with a tiny string to hang them on. Here is one of these card ornaments that I still have.

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The inside of this card says “A special gift from you to me to hang upon your Christmas tree. From: Mom & Dad To: Kim”.

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Here’s the other greeting card ornament that I still have. This one also has the same Victorian Era illustration on both sides.

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The inside of this card says “A special gift from you to me to hang upon your Christmas tree. From: Mom & Dad To: Kim.”

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Last, but not least, is this red bell that’s currently hanging on my tree as a Christmas ornament. Here’s some background. I’m currently involved in starting a new local chapter of the National Grange in my hometown and I’m serving as the Vice President mainly because this new chapter desperately needed officers and I stepped up to the plate. We decided to walk around town singing Christmas carols one evening before Christmas as a way of both publicizing the new group and spreading Christmas cheer in general. One person brought a bunch of bells that we could ring so that was how I ended up with this red bell. The high point came when we walked around the hallways of this apartment complex that’s designed for senior citizens and disabled adults singing Christmas carols and the residents there really loved it and they all smiled. At the end of the evening I attempted to give my bell back to the person who brought it but she told me that I could keep it. So I hung it on the Christmas tree.

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I especially like the snowflake cutout at the bottom.

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Part 12

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