Story by Megan Whitehead | Oct 30, 2017
Photography by Keith Borgmeyer

The Henderson family decorates their home with memories for Christmas.

 

Christmas is a time for tradition. No one knows better than the Henderson family. When December rolls around, they fill their home with family heirlooms and other pieces that hold special meanings or memories.

Joni Henderson is the third generation of her family to live in this home, which was originally built in 1927; Joni and her husband, Mike, moved in in 2006. Much of the décor, including the 1940s Polish ornaments on the German feather trees, were found in their attic — relics from previous generations.

 “Everything I take out fills me with joy and is so special,” Joni says. This statement is obvious as you walk through her home.

On her daughter Brette’s sled sits a 1920s original Montgomery Ward “Rudolph” book. Brette’s handprints oversee this vignette, adding another of many personal touches to the holiday décor.

On their mantel sits one Santa for each year Joni and Mike have been married. The stockings hanging from the mantel have a story too. “That fabric was in the attic,” Joni says. “When my grandma passed away, my neighbor, Annie Mullholland, bought the fabric in the auction we had. For Christmas that year, she made us those stockings from that fabric. I remember seeing my grandma in her suits of that fabric at church. It was probably one of the most special gifts I’ve ever received. Every year I get them out, and they just make me happy.” Adding more personal value, the embroidery on the stockings was done by Joni’s friend and former Moreau Heights teacher Patty Morrow in her own handwriting. Also on the mantel is Brette’s violin, restored by Joni’s grandfather.

The decorative windowpanes were originally upstairs. The toys under the living room tree came from the home’s original nursery (including a pair of old-fashioned ice skates from a former Moreau Heights student). The toys under the office tree came from Moreau Heights. The keys on the countdown tree are all from doors in the house. The sewing machine and accessories were Joni’s great grandmother’s. The list goes on and on.

Christmas is a time for tradition. It’s also a time for family and remembrance. Stockings from your childhood, your grandmother’s cookies, your child’s first ornament — they all come together to evoke warmth and delight. So take a walk down memory lane this holiday season. Let the joy of tradition make the season bright.