At home for the holidays

Martha’s family, like many others, spends Christmas Eve gathered around the Christmas tree with its glittering presents meant for anxious grandchildren. With this loving tradition in mind, Martha highlights her fondest memories in the holiday embellishment of her home.

The “Family Tree,” located upstairs, is where Christmas Eve is spent. The Charlie Brown themed tree contains framed pictures of family members during their proudest moments of the year, including achievements in sports and academics, family events, prom pictures, catching the biggest fish, and taking the grandchildren to a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game.

Throughout the year as photographs are snapped, family members forecast that year’s family tree photo collection with the common saying, “That will make the Christmas tree!”

Christmas Eve night begins with Lonnie reading the “Christmas Story” to family gathered around the highly anticipated family tree. Afterward, Martha describes a setting of eagerness as each family member takes turns opening gifts and enjoying each other’s company.

When all the gifts have been opened, the Williams family enjoys a barbecue dinner and celebrates the birth of Jesus with a birthday cake and song.

There is another “Charlie Brown Tree” in Lonnie’s downstairs office, and this particular tree is known as the “Memory Tree.”  It is filled with ornaments from the past, handmade ornaments from some of Martha’s former students, childhood handprints of her now 34- and 36-year-old daughters, antique ornaments she grew up with and special ceramic ornaments made by the couple’s mothers.

“Many of the ornaments are 40-years-old,” said Martha. An ornament made by her maid of honor, with lace used to make Martha’s wedding gown (sewn by her mother) has hung on the family’s tree for all 42 years of the couple’s married life. It is one of Martha’s favorites.

In the kitchen, red is the color of the season as Martha uses greenery, red berries and ornaments all along the mantle and staircase. In addition to the greenery, the mantle receives an extra bit of decoration with stockings for the grandchildren. The staircase isn’t left out, as it is lined with beautiful red poinsettias.

The remainder of the downstairs is decorated in exquisite hues of gold, white and black.  “One day I saw a tree decorated in gold and black, and that’s where I got the idea for my home,” said Martha.

The “Dress Up Tree” in the living room is decorated in oversized gold and black ornaments with white poinsettias around the bottom, and the foyer entryway is swaged to match.

“My favorite part of the Christmas decorations is the nativity scene in the foyer,” explains Martha, “It’s what Christmas is. We use the nativity scene to recount the Christmas story to the grandchildren.”

The home of Lonnie and Martha Williams is filled with more than beautiful decorations and freshly baked treats. It is a home filled with wonderful Christmas memories, rich family traditions and the excitement of what the next Christmas Eve will bring.