12/11/2013 In Holiday Blog Event
Dec 11, 2013

Holiday Blog Event: Lily Velden – Christmas Decorations

For much of my children’s childhoods money was an issue. I was a single parent and though I earned a decent living, that income had to pay a mortgage for a home big enough to house us all. It had to feed, clothe, and educate three little people – oh, and me too! Can’t have a naked bookkeeper balancing your ledgers! We weren’t on the poverty line, by any means, but I had to be careful and plan for Christmas months in advance. That planning usually started in the post-Christmas sales!

Despite thinking about the next Christmas as soon as the current one was over, my gifts were rarely extravagant. I decided very early on in my parenting life that my children would benefit more from my spending time with them than spending money on them. Most of my gifts for each child centered around things we could do together or as a family. I made a lot of their gifts. Anything from writing and illustrating a story with them as the main character, to wooden toys, puzzles, and dress-up costumes complete with tiaras and capes!

My belief in time rather than money carried over into our Christmas decorations.

Pine Cone decorated 01When the kids were young (before they turned into cynical teens LOL) I’d take them on bush walks where we’d collect pine cones and beautiful dried leaves. We’d take them home and paint them in reds, golds, greens, blues, and silver. Oh, and purple for my daughter! Sprinkle them with glitter and attach extravagant ribbon bow concoctions to them so we could hang them on the tree. I am now a champion at tying bows! If they gave out Olympic medals for bow tying I’d be a shoe-in for the gold!

Jokes aside, it always made me smile when I’d look out of my kitchen window and see them all dangling from the clothesline, sparkling in the sunlight, and swaying in the breeze while we waited for them to dry.

The kids too. They’d be so excited during the whole process; from the bush walks to the time we decorated the tree.

That is one of my fondest memories of Christmas, and when my children tell me it is also one of theirs, my heart smiles.

I miss those days. Now my children are grown and spread all over the world. They have boyfriends and girlfriends, and I need to co-ordinate with and share them with their partners and partners’ families. And none of them are in a hurry to have a family of their own!


Does anyone have a child they’d like to share with me so I can take them on a bush walk this Christmas?

About The Author:

Lily Velden lives on the east coast of Australia, her family having emigrated from Holland when she was a child.

She’s both a left and right brain person, holding qualifications in both Finance and Fine Arts. She tells her friends that her way with numbers will make her a profitable artist… one day.

Lily has always had a love of language and a beautifully crafted sentence, often incorporating text into her artworks. When a shoulder injury slowed down her art practice, she decided to explore her love of the written word more fully. “I’ll paint my pictures with words.” All artworks described in her stories are her own.

Lily is a single mum to three little treasures who aren’t so little anymore and when money was scarce she wrote and illustrated short stories for them, casting them as the central characters. The children enjoyed them so much that her daughter still calls her Meha instead of Mum, after one of the characters she created for them.

There are many things Lily loves; here are just a few: the smell of freshly baked goods and mown grass, a smile from a stranger, rainbows after the rain, and witnessing a promise kept.

Author Links:

Website:               http://www.lilyvelden.wordpress.com

Email:                    lilyvelden@live.com.au

Facebook:            https://www.facebook.com/lily.velden

Twitter:                 @LilyVelden

Tumblr:                 http://www.lilyvelden.tumblr.com/


  1. lilyvelden says:

    Thanks for hosting these Christmas posts, Andy – it was lovely to take a walk down memory lane and read some other people’s Christmas stories.

  2. skylar1776 says:

    Andy, This idea of author’s sharing their Christmas stories was a great idea. Love reading them all. Lily, as a single parent, you got it right! Spending time with your kids and creating memories was worth so much more than anything you could have bought them at the time. Thanks for sharing. Happy Holidays to you both and your families!

    • lilyvelden says:

      Sorry for late reply – blondeness making its appearance yet again **sigh**

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment and I agree – this was a wonderful idea of Andy’s!

  3. I want to be one of your kids Lily, and especially having had the pleasure of meeting you and your daughter, know I would have been in very good hands!! Some people are just blessed with brains and being artistic….Well, my brain MAY be OK, but artistic and clever with my hands I’m definitely not, never have been and I admit it, although my knitting wasn’t bad when son was coming along, snort. I think you were given MY left or right side, brain-wise, as well as your own, hehe !! Thanks for the post my lovely and Merry Xmas to you and yours!! x

    • lilyvelden says:

      Thanks, Bev!

      You’ve made me think of drawing and painting with my children – I owned 3 x easels and it was always the kids who had the easels and I was on the floor! And they wouldn’t draw on just any paper…. no, it had to be BIG paper like Mummy’s!!!

      Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  4. Andy, agree with everything Sky said….this was a great idea!!

  5. Jo Ann says:

    That sounds like so much fun Lily. I had to laugh when I read about the bows. This year, I decided to make my own bows for my hearth. Google instructed me how to make a bow, and not very successfully. lol. Thanks for sharing such a great holiday tradition!

    • lilyvelden says:

      Hey JoAnn! Send your ribbon to me and I’ll concoct a bow to end all bows!

      Maybe at the next GRL I should hold bow tying workshops LOL though how we can tie that into writing remains to be seen!

      Merry Christmas!

Add a Comment