27 Oct 2010 Grumbles home decked out in holiday decor
Because Tom and Rita’s house is the center of the Grumbles family holiday celebration, Rita works diligently with her daughter Rebecca to give the beautiful home a tinseled makeover. Every room in the two-story home is decorated, according to Rita, with lots of details and finishing touches. Throughout the house the walls are a rich neutral paint, purposed to highlight the stunning molding work.
“This color allows me to interchange my interior furniture and accents with just about any color, including my favorites – red and green,” Rita explained.
The living room features a large, handsome painting of Mr. Claus, along with a gorgeously adorned fireplace and Christmas tree. The dining room has its own splendor with large centerpieces and graceful reindeer, but the master bedroom holds a Christmas favorite.
“I collect snow villages and my family has given me some in the past,” Rita shared. “I have the London Bridge, Big Ben and several other London landmarks.”
The Grumbles home is a timeless picture of family merriment and holiday enthusiasm during the Christmas season. “I collect Santas, so you will find them in various places throughout the house,” Rita said.
“We have a Santa tree in the sitting room connected to the kitchen, and the fireplace holds our stockings.”
The whimsical tree, stuffed with red, white and every type of Santa, is topped with a classic red Santa hat. The stockings on the fireplace were handmade by Tom’s mother for her children and their spouses.
The kitchen is the heart of Christmas holidays for Rita and her family. She fills her kitchen cabinet displays with Santa dishware and her countertops with Santa cookie jars. Over the stove is the holiday kitchen motto – “Christmas calories don’t count.”
“My family calls me the matriarch because my mother and aunts have passed, so this is where everyone gathers,” Rita explained. Each year, her large family comes together for a Christmas Eve planned with a full day of festivities.
“I always helped my mother make the candies for Christmas, so I decided it was important to start teaching our younger generations to cook the recipes,” she said. “Now, every Christmas Eve afternoon all the ladies in the family bring their favorite sweets recipe. Each one of us has to make a recipe drawn out of a hat, as well as a batch of my mother’s famous boiled custard.”
Days before the cooking party, Rita gathers all the recipes for grocery shopping. The happy bunch of Grumbles relatives can be found making all kinds of sweets, including divinity, fudge, cookies and Grandmother’s homemade chocolate angel food cake. “You can almost skate across the kitchen floor with the sugar that covers it,” Rita laughed.
The ladies bustle through the kitchen mess in their own fun aprons, with Rita’s featuring a Santa, while some of the grandsons and nephews get their hands a bit messy.
“The boys usually aren’t interested in helping with the cooking, but sometimes they come through to do a little something,” Rita said. “My nephew likes to help cut the apples, and the oldest grandson enjoys unwrapping the candies.”
With her large family surrounding her, Rita and her husband enjoy Christmas Eve eating freshly made goodies, opening presents, playing board games and participating in the traditional gift wrapping paper fight. “Our youngest grandchild threw the same ball of paper over and over,” Rita said. “A couple of days later when he came back over to the house, much to his excitement he found it underneath a chair.”
Rita and Tom created a home that allows them to enjoy what matters most to them – their family. Although multiple fireplaces and large scenic windows make for a magnificent home, the real beauty is found in the memories made throughout the rooms of the Grumbles’ home.