Thursday, December 11, 2014

My Best Christmas Gift this Year, a Bedroom Reveal, and a 1980s, Growling, Fiber-Optic Tree

This year, Christmas will be very special. Combined with celebrating the birth of our Savior, my beautiful niece Breanna (shown above) will be coming home. It will be the first Christmas in nearly six years that I have been able to celebrate with her, or with anyone from my own, very small, immediate family. David and I have our “Christmas” with my parents each fall before they migrate to Florida for the winter, and we normally spend the actual holidays with only David’s family. Not this Christmas. My Breanna Banana, which I have called her since she was a baby, will arrive next week and will not leave until mid-January when she returns to Northern Michigan University. If you think it’s cold where you are, visit Breanna in Marquette, Michigan. The administration has canceled classes several times already, a fact I’m sure brings total sadness to her as well as her friends. Right. Breanna and Breanne? (Her best gal pal—they are known as Bre#1 and Bre#2) Get back to studying.

Today, I am sprucing up Breanna’s bedroom in preparation of her homecoming. I began by adding some Christmas decorations, which in prior years were purchased from places such as Pier 1 Imports, Target, and HomeGoods, among others. (Budget-savvy side note here: nearly ALL of our Christmas decorations, cards, and wrapping materials have been purchased AFTER Christmas, when the items are 75%–90% off.) You could make a YouTube video of David and me at Target between December 26th and 29th that would gain thousands of views, that is, if you could hold the camera still while laughing uncontrollably.

As I was placing a few extra items in Breanna’s room, I sat down on her bed and truly thought about what I was doing. I was getting ready for Breanna to come HOME. Suddenly, the decorations seemed rather pointless, even to my extreme “love to make things extra special for others” personality. I prayed for a few moments, asking God for a safe driving trip (this will be Breanna’s first on her own) and thanking Him for the gift of bringing her home to David and me this Christmas. I then removed the few things I had placed and left just one item. An item that is so sentimental to me that I will never willingly part with. It is a . . . brace yourselves . . . fiber-optic, silver-tinsel, 1980s, plastic-star-now-TAPED-to-the-top, emits-some-scary-noises-when-plugged-in (after all these years) . . . Christmas tree.


Why is this tree so sentimental? It belonged to my maternal grandmother, who my brother, Brian, and I lovingly called “Gram.”

Gram was a wonderful, near-storybook grandmother to Brian and me, as well as our cousins, Brenda and Scott (Brenda, grab the tissues). Our grandparents lived across the street from where Brian and I grew up, and I spent hours upon hours at their small home. I know without a doubt that I will write more about them in future posts, but for now I will get back to the subject at hand: Gram’s fiber-optic tree. Brian and I saw this tree on Gram’s little end table each Christmas for a few years before she went home to her Jesus (that is exactly what she called Him, “her Jesus”). Gram and Pa had gotten to a point where they decided not to put up a “normal” tree, and on one of Gram’s shopping trips to Boscov’s, she bought this silver gal.

Breanna had eight short years with Gram before her death, but she does remember her. Even Rachel (my sweet “Cupcake” and Breanna’s younger sister by seven years), who was just a baby, miraculously has a slight recollection of Gram. I think it is hard to forget true love, in any fashion. Breanna and Rachel know that I, along with their beloved father (my only sibling, who, as some of you know, is no longer with us on this earth), looked at this tree together for Gram’s last few years. I’m positive Brian made jokes about it. To those of you who had the privilege of knowing Brian, you’re aware that he could come up with some really great one-liners. Our mother was often the main subject of his good-humored torment and jokes (nearly every day, in fact), and I know I can speak for both she and my father when I say that we would give anything to hear just one more of his award-worthy zingers.

Once again, I’ll get back to the 1980s tinsel tree. Breanna’s room has been “decorated” for Christmas with only this one item. I haven’t decided whether the noises that come out of it when plugged in (for the amazing fiber optic display) will be frightening to her or soothing. It’s a good thing that when we’re together, Breanna and I still love to lie in bed together at night, each reading (something we have done from the time she had her first book), because Breanna scares quite easily and the growling that emits from the tree could be terrifying.

Finally, we are on to the bedroom reveal (“reveal” just sounds snazzy to me). Below are photos of Breanna’s room in three different stages, ending with what it looks like today.

First stage: Breanna’s room upon moving in...

Second stage: A few months after moving in. The room was somewhat better but was reflective of Breanna and Rachel being little girls (at the time, Breanna and Rachel shared this room when visiting). Rachel now has a room of her own for her extremely cherished summer visits. That reveal (still sounds snazzy) coming in the future. If Rachel was able to be here for Christmas this year as well, I would simply be melting. Someday I know she will be.

Third stage: Breannas room today, which is reflective of her heart and the beautiful, compassionate, and (very) fun young woman she has become. When I performed the makeover on her room this past spring, I asked Breanna which colors she preferred, and she chose light blue, along with yellow or gold (approving some sprinkles of pink). Each piece in the collage above her bed is sentimental to her for different reasons. Id have it no other way for my beautiful Banana. She is, after all, a piece of my heart.

This mirror is a loving nod to my mother’s own special name for Breanna, her “Sunshine.”

I hope you have enjoyed what I planned on being a “heartwarming with dashes of decor” post, and I’d love to hear what you are most thankful for this Christmas in the comments below. Also, please share if you have any Christmas items like my Grams fiber-optic, taped-star, growling tree hanging around. As far as worldly things go, I think it is the items like these that have the most value.



  1. I am thankful for the most amazing, loving, selfless, woman in the entire world!

    1. I am thankful for a husband who manages to make me laugh even when I don't want to, as well as cares enough about his wife's blog to post a comment. :) Especially when you're in the next room.

  2. You guys are epic-ly too much!! I am thankful for the opportunities to be "together" with family and friends. I am in awe of Christ's love for me and for the world!

    1. JR, if you spent a few hours around my husband, you'd know how correct you were in your "epic" description :) I am thrilled you are enjoying reading along, and even more so that you know Christ's love. What a blessing that we will each be able to celebrate with family and friends! XO, Kara

  3. I am thankful that for those who know Jesus (who's birth we celebrate at this time of year) as Savior, there is the hope of spending eternity with loved ones who have gone on before us who also called Him Savior. And, of course, I'm thankful for those in my little family, none of whom I would trade for anything.