A Little Sparkle Holiday Home Tour
We’re sharing a little sparkle holiday home tour as we team up for the Christmas Home Tour Blog Hop hosted by Cindy of Cloches and Lavender.
If you’re coming over from Cindy’s blog, welcome we’re excited to have you here!
About 15 years ago, my Mom was standing in the kitchen stirring a pot of field peas. It was Christmas Eve, and she was putting the finishing touches on a meal she had planned for weeks.
As per her usual, half the menu was filled with comforting farm food, and the other half filled with recipes she’d clipped out of her favorite magazines.
My sisters and I were putting ice in stemmed glasses carefully making sure each place setting had silverware when the phone rang.
“Are you sure?… I understand… Yes, I’m still here…We’re on our way,” was all we heard my Mom say as tears were streaming down her face.
We immediately rushed into the kitchen where she was sobbing as she hung up the phone.
“My Dad had a stroke. The doctors say he’s also been temporarily blinded. They’re all headed to the hospital. I’m so sorry girls but I feel like I should be there too,” she said.
My parents quickly packed an overnight bag. Moments later, my sisters and I huddled together as my Dad helped my Mom into the car to make the 2-hour drive.
She was still crying convinced she’d ruined our Christmas. We assured my Mom we were fine, that we’d lock up and meet her at the hospital.
An unexpected blessing of that moment as we watched my parents pull out of the driveway was that my Mom never smelled the pot of peas she’d left burning on the stove.
Yet thanks to the quick action of my brother-in-law, our house was saved from what could have been a devastating fire.
About an hour later, my Dad called to advise us to take the backroads so we would avoid Christmas Eve traffic.
Then in a very calm voice, he said, “I’m not giving you permission to speed. I just want to let you know the winds are picking up and you need to carefully get here as fast as you can.”
The not so ironic thing was that we were already on the backroads, our path to the hospital lit with a million tiny sparkling stars and the brightest full moon I’d ever seen.
We got into town just before 10 pm where thankfully my Dad had secured the last available beds in a hotel close to the hospital.
Naturally, we were all starving because we’d missed dinner. So, my brothers-in-law road up and down the streets trying to find a place still open on Christmas Eve.
They finally spotted a convenience store attached to a sandwich shop. It was so shady on the outside my sisters and I were hesitant to even get out of the car.
But it was our only option.
As we walked up to the door, a young girl in a red Santa hat met us with a tense look on her face. “I’m sorry y’all we’re about to close for the night. It’s Christmas Eve and I have a family to get home to too.”
My brother-in-law quickly explained the situation and we watched her face soften ever so slightly. “I’ve got 2 foot-longs left. You can run next door for chips and a drink. It’s not much but it’s the best I can do.”
We thanked her for her kindness, and as she locked the door behind us she said, “I know firsthand how tough situations like these can be. I hope your grandpa is going to be ok.”
By that point, the winds were really starting to pick up and we knew a Christmas storm was coming.
We ate on the way to the hospital, and we as pulled into the ER entrance, we could see my Dad waiting for us behind the sliding glass doors.
“The nurses said you can go up, but you can’t stay long. He won’t be able to see you, but he’ll know you’re there. Your Mom will be up there too,” he said.
The room was mostly dark save for a small lamp in the corner. My Mom, her sisters, brothers, and their families quietly walked over to hug us as we opened the door.
I don’t know how to explain it, but that night as we entered the hospital room, my entire family must have walked through a supernatural veil of grace because we saw my grandfather in a completely different light.
Gone were the decades of hurts he’d caused for making poor choices, for the wrongs he’d committed and never found time to make right, for the things he’d said and never sought forgiveness, and for failing to show up as a husband, father, and grandfather in the way he’d been commissioned time and time again.
Instead, we felt a compassion I didn’t know existed, a mercy I didn’t think was possible and a peace I could have never imagined.
While my grandfather was still temporarily blind from the stroke, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt he could still feel the love and light in the hospital room that Christmas Eve night because it was a turning point for our family.
Around midnight, one of the nurses came to the door to tell us they were getting ready to shut the unit down.
We hugged each other tight and said our goodbyes as we headed to the hotel. The rest of my family headed back to our hometown.
By this time, the streetlights were already swaying in the wind and we knew the Christmas storm was imminent.
My Dad checked us into the hotel, and we settled in for the night.
30 minutes later we lost power.
5 minutes after that, a rare Christmas tornado cut a path between the hotel and the hospital.
At first light, we opened the curtains to survey the damage. The parking lot was littered with debris, downed trees, and powerlines.
But the hotel was still intact and so was most of the cars in the parking lot.
My Dad stepped outside to retrieve something from the car when he noticed a tiny ball of folded white towels placed at each door.
Tucked inside was a small candy cane with a note that read, “We are running on a generator with limited power. There is no hot water. The lobby will still be open and available to you though.”
A few minutes later, my parents knocked on our door to check on us. We were shocked to see three gifts in my Mom’s hands.
“It’s not much but I wanted you to feel like you had a Christmas this year,” she cried as she handed us the packages. “They were the only 3 presents I was able to grab before we left. Thank you for being here. I promise we’ll make it up to you.”
Inside was a pair of Christmas pajamas.
The same set of threadbare Christmas pajamas, I’m wearing as I write this post.
As we prepared to leave the hotel, we walked out through the lobby one last time. A mostly sterile gray room had magically given way to swaths of reds and golds.
An unlit tree sat in the corner with bands of sparkling gold garlands and ornaments made from air fresheners hung from the branches.
The ceiling was dotted with red fans donning gold tassels, and red balls that looked like paper lanterns.
Big boxes of honey buns, peanuts, cheese crackers, and candy bars had been torn opened and bottles of water set out.
The family that ran the hotel didn’t look like us. They didn’t sound like us and from the looks of their makeshift holiday decorations, I’m pretty sure they didn’t celebrate Christmas either.
But they excitedly brought us over to the snacks and said, “For you. Merry Christmas.”
It was incredibly kind and generous.
In the days, weeks, and months that followed my grandfather went on to make a complete recovery. He died a few years later, fully reconciled with almost our entire family.
To this day, I can’t remember a single present we opened that Christmas save for the matching pajamas.
I remember those seemingly small acts of kindness like it was yesterday though…
…the quick action of my brother-in-law saving our home from a potentially devastating fire…a million stars to light our way…the gift of compassion from the young girl who sold us her last two sandwiches…the nurses who let us stay past visiting hours…a safe place to fall asleep…protection from the tornado…a family who didn’t look like us gathering everything they could find to make our Christmas bright…and a veil of grace that changed everything.
Tiny bits of sparkle, gifts of hope, we never even knew we needed, yet there at the exact moment, we needed them most.
I know we’ve all been through a lot these past few years.
There are some of you who are weary, exhausted, and need a break. There are others who are summoning supernatural strength to create a magical Christmas experience for those you love.
No matter where this holiday season finds you, I pray your road to Christmas is lit with a million sparkling stars and unexpected gifts bring you true joy, love, forgiveness, grace, and peace when you need it most.
Up next on the Christmas Home Tour Blog Hop, is Corine from Junk to Gems. Can you even with this gorgeous porch!
Once you’re finished there be sure to stop by and see what Cindy is sharing from Cloches and Lavender. I’ve seen a preview of her French Country holiday home and it’s so pretty!Until next time, I’ll see you on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.
I can’t thank you enough for sharing this story with everyone. It reminds me of a past Christmas and brought tears to my eyes, what a wonderful end to such an awful night.
Your home looks so beautiful, may your Christmas be filled with love and joy.xxx
You are so welcome, Janette! While the holidays are supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year” we know all too well how complicated family relationships can make for stressful moments. I just wanted to share our story of redemption in case someone out there was experiencing a similar kind of tenderness. I never thought in a million years things would work out that way but looking back I’m thankful they did. We’re closer now than we’ve ever been and I hope other families will be able to experience that same feeling one day too. Sending you lots of hugs for a joy-filled Christmas season!
What an amazing story and what a Christmas you had. But what wonderful grace you received. Your home is lovely Coco and I love that you still have the same pajamas. Thank you for sharing something so intimate to you. Merry Christmas!
It was definitely one of the wildest but also the most blessed Christmas seasons we’ve ever had, Corine. Any time I start to feel the pressure to “do all the things” I think back to that time and it immediately puts everything in perspective. Even though our family has grown since that time, my Mom insists on buying us all matching Christmas pajamas every year and it’s always so much fun. I hope you and your family have a merry and bright holiday season. It goes by too fast so I hope you’re able to soak up every ounce possible! Hugs, CoCo
Thank you so much for this story of your family. It really puts into perspective what Christmas is really about.Blessings to you and your family
You are so welcome, Mary. The holiday season can definitely be a whirlwind. We’re constantly trying to slow down and take in all the moments that make the season a special one. Even when they don’t look like what we expect. Hugs for a happy day, CoCo
Oh, what a beautiful post. Merry Christmas.
Thank you, Ellen! I hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas as well. I can’t believe it’s just 17 days away! Hugs, CoCo
Your Christmas story touched my heart and soul. You write beautifully and with great sentiment. I am grateful to you for such a spirit lifting story at a time when it is most needed. It’s always a blessing to be reminded of the goodness and love that exists in us. May your Christmas be filled with love and light.
I appreciate your sweet and kind words so much, Judy, thank you! Every time I start to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season I think back to that year and it helps me refocus on what really matters again. Sending you lots of hugs for a joy-filled holiday season, CoCo
Beautiful story! (and home) This is what Christmas is all about!
Thank you so much, Karen, I really appreciate it! I hope your holiday season is off to a great start, CoCo
This was such an amazing story. I had chills reading it and can’t believe the pot o peas. Your brother-in-law was smart and acted quickly.
So many acts of kindness shared. Powerful story and message.
Your home is truly stunning always but during this magical time amazing. Love your tree toppers too.
I’m going to use even more greens next year in our Christmas home.
The picture of little Piper is priceless. Loved every minute of your home!
Thank you so much for your sweet and kind words, Cindy! I’m SO thankful my brother-in-law was there and quick thinking too, it totally saved us and our house that night. I really appreciate you putting this hop together and for inviting me to be a part of it. Being able to get together with fellow creatives is one of my favorite parts of blogging! Big hugs, CoCo
CoCo, As I type this my eyes are watering! I love your story and how your family shared so much love that Christmas Eve. Thanks for sharing your memories.
Your home is lovely and beautiful, thank you for letting us tour your home this Christmas season! Happy Holidays!!
You are so welcome, Terrie! I know family relationships can be complicated at times especially for the holidays but I also know hope and redemption can be found in the most unlikely places too. I never thought we’d find it in the hospital on Christmas Eve but looking back I’m beyond thankful we did. Wishing you and your family a happy and blessed Christmas season, CoCo
That was a beautiful story and such encouraging words at the end. Thank you I feel more blessed today!
That makes my heart so happy, Kathy! I hope your holiday season is filled with all good things. It goes by so fast! Hugs, CoCo
Dear Coco, Thank you for sharing your story, it brought tears to my eyes. What a night! God is so good for all those little acts of kindness that blessed you all that night. The family seeing your grandpa in a different light touched my heart too! I believe real life stories are the best! Have a Merry Christmas and thank you for sharing your beautiful home tour! Absolutely beautiful!
Thank you so much for your sweet and thoughtful words, Elizabeth! We’ve definitely had our fair share of wild Christmases but that one totally tops the list. It really changed everything for our family! While it was painful to go through we’re all so much better now and are constantly looking for small ways to pass on the acts of kindness extended to us that day. I hope you and your family have a merry and bright holiday season as well. I can’t believe we’re just 17 days away now! Hugs, CoCo
CoCo, I enjoyed seeing the beautiful pictures of your holiday decor, every space looks amazing! Your story made me tear up, that was a lot for one family to endure on any night, let alone Christmas Eve! You are so fortunate to have such a loving and wonderful family! Blessings to you and yours! Donna
Thank you, Donna! It was definitely an experience I hope no other family has to go through. Especially, on Christmas Eve! That said, I hope by sharing others will know it’s possible to find hope and redemption even in circumstances that look impossible to face. Wishing you and your family a richly blessed holiday season, CoCo
Oh my goodness, what a family story Coco! The true spirit of Christmas was right there with you all that Christmas Eve! I loved your tour and that peek at your little cutie, watching for intruders no doubt! After seeing your gorgeous photos, I think I need to get more little green trees, they look beautifull dotted around your home! Merry Christmas!
Thank you so much, Jayne, I really appreciate it! It definitely started out as a painful Christmas but I’m beyond grateful it all worked out. Our family was changed for the better in the best possible way. Almost every year we head to the cabin to celebrate the holiday season and before I add a stitch of pink to our home, I’m always asked to put up lots of little trees – “make it look like we’re in a forest at the cabin” – I hear 😂 Not an easy task when you love lots of glitter and pinks but sometimes you just gotta roll with it 🤣 Sending you hugs for a happy week, CoCo
Hello CoCo! As tears stream down my face, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this most personal and touching family story. It was beautiful. Your posts always have so much thought and meaning, but this one truly touched me in ways I can’t even explain. I very recently lost my husband, and am trying to find the smallest bit of joy each day. Most days it is very difficult. Christmas was our favorite time of year. My husband loved it, so I am doing my best for him to find the smallest bit of joy. You brought that to me today with this lovely post. Thank you again, and may you and your family have a very blessed Christmas!
Thank you so much for sharing this kind and considerate comment, Joanne, I really appreciate it. I know the holidays are not easy when you’ve lost a loved one. Especially, when things still feel so tender. I’m really proud of you for looking for ways to celebrate your husband during the season and for finding the joy of Christmas in each day. Some days it might be the twinkling Christmas lights, other days it might be a cardinal crossing your path, the smell of cedar, pine, or cookies baking in the oven, an unexpected gift, or the extra-long hugs from family and friends – big or small every gift of gratitude is a blessing. Please know you’re not alone in dealing with grief this holiday season. We’ll be lifting you up in the days, weeks, and months to come. Remember to give yourself lots of grace along the way and let the tears fall when they come. It sounds like your husband was an extra special treasure and I’m glad to have you here as part of our community. Sending you lots of hugs and hoping your Christmas will be surrounded by love and light and all the things you hold dear, Coco
so many of us have had these sort of difficult family experiences through the holidays. We’ve had 3 close family members pass over Thanksgiving or Christmas and it seems to hit harder and be remembered with more poignancy. Thankyou for sharing your family story, CoCo. I’m so glad your grandfather had that second chance to mend relationships. God works in strange and precious ways. Your home is so lovely, no matter the season or holiday. Praying your family has a special blessing this Christmas. xo Deb
I appreciate your sweet words so much, Debra, thank you! That was such a hard Christmas and life season for us but I know God’s hand was right there guiding us every step of the way even when we couldn’t see the heart work being done. I know the past couple of years have been especially hard from Covid so I hope anyone who reads our family story will feel a sense of hope. I know sometimes restoration doesn’t always happen this side of heaven but I’m beyond thankful we were all able to experience healing before he passed away. It still feels like the biggest gift! Keeping you and your family in our prayers too and sending you lots of hugs this season, CoCo
Loved every word of your story CoCo! You are a gifted writer. What a blessing that your grandfather had time for reconciliation. There is nothing better than healing. I’m sorry you have been through some rough times the last few years. Big hugs to you. Know that those experiences will strengthen you. 😊BTW, your decorations are out of this world!!
Thank you, Cindy! I’m so thankful my Mom helped me decorate for the holidays and allowed me to share her family’s story of redemption. While it was really difficult at times to get through, we’re all super close now and love each other fiercely. Having a front-row seat to my grandfather’s healing was an amazing gift we’ll never forget. Sending you lots of hugs for a merry and bright holiday season, CoCo
Merry Christmas Coco,
I loved all your beautiful elegant decorations but your story about your Grandfather was spectacular. Loved it so much. God is so good, it is always amazing what HE does in crisis situations, and daily situations too, but this was a really great Christmas time read. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. It was lovely.
Blessings for a Wonderful Christmas,
Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful words, Nellie, I really appreciate them. We just celebrated an early Christmas at the farm with my Mom’s family over the weekend and I know my grandparents were looking down on us so excited to see us all together laughing and having fun. That time in our lives was not easy but He was always faithful even when we couldn’t see the spirit-filled work being done. Grace is such an amazing gift no matter what the season holds. Sending you hugs for a joyous season and celebration, CoCo
WOW!! everything looks amazing!! Very pretty and serene!!! Love it!! Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind comment on my Kitchen!! I have been collecting gingerbread and candy Christmas items for a very LONG time….Stay safe, healthy and happy!! Hope you are having a great weekend!!!
Thanks so much, Deb! It takes me forever to decorate so I can only imagine how long it must take you. I swear every detail of your house is magical. Hope you and your family had a fabulous weekend. Hugs, CoCo
Thank you CoCo for sharing your amazing family story, and your beautiful sparkly home tour. I’m delighted to feature your post this week at our Tuesday Turn About Link Party! (Still crying by the way!) Big hugs!
You are so sweet and so welcome too, Michelle! I tell you it was such a crazy time for our family. Just this past weekend we were all at the farm celebrating an early Christmas together and I know my grandparents were looking down on us tickled pink we’ve all stayed so close. It took a lot of work but the effort was 100% worth it. Sending you big hugs for a joy-filled holiday season. It goes by so fast, I hope you’re able to soak in every minute – CoCo
You are such a delight and light in my little world. I love your posts and how you see things. You remember details no one else would, see the good in them all and know exactly where that needed grace comes from. Glad to hear your grandfather had mended most of his relationships by the time he was gone. Choices make such a big impact on other people and those making the decision rarely consider others. Not that I have to tell you. Your Christmas tour was one of the prettiest I’ve ever seen. Wishing you the happiest of Christmases this year. Big hugs sweet friend.
You always leave the sweetest comments, Cindy, thank you so much! You are so right about the choices we make and how they help or hurt others. I don’t think my Mom’s Dad had any idea he was going to get a second chance at life or with our family but I’m so glad he did. Grace is awesome like that, you know? He definitely taught us a lot of life lessons we’ll never forget and even though they were super painful at the time, I can honestly say it brought us closer together than ever. Sending you tons of hugs for a peace-filled holiday season. We continue to lift you guys up and pray that Will gets better each day, CoCo
The first time I read your post I was so caught up in your amazing and truly inspiring story that I didn’t even pay attention to any of the photos. After I blew my nose and wiped my eyes I did go back and check out your gorgeous home. You are such an amazing woman, my friend! And I feel blessed every time I come by that I found you! Have a blessed week!
Aww man you’re making me all teary-eyed now too, Christine! Thank you so much for your words of encouragement and support. I really appreciate it. I hope it never comes across that we are perfect in any way. We go through all sorts of struggles both big and small in every season. The thing we hold tight to is our faith because it’s the only thing that lets us love each other through the crazy and extend copious amounts of grace. It’s not easy but the effort is worth it. Sending you tons of hugs, love, and light sweet friend! May you and your family be richly blessed and receive more gifts in 2022 than you could ever imagine, CoCo
CoCo, thank you so much for sharing your beautiful family story. I’ve been through a lot health-wise this year and wasn’t able to do anything for Christmas, but your story reminded me that Christmas isn’t about the food, decorations or presents – it’s about the love shared between family, friends and even strangers as your story so eloquently stated. Thank you so much for sharing this with us at Farmhouse Friday – we’re featuring you at tomorrow’s party!
You guys are so sweet, Michelle, thank you so much! While it was a very difficult season for our family to have to go through we’re closer now than we’ve ever been. I know this year has been a tough one for you. Especially, given all the health concerns you’ve faced and what feels like a difficult road ahead. Hang in there – little by little things get better – and you’ll be amazed at how your message will help others on a similar journey in ways you can’t imagine yet. Wishing you and your family lots of love, light, joy, and peace this holiday season. May you be richly blessed and find the most unexpected gifts along the way, CoCo
I love the subtle touches of pink in your Christmas decorating CoCo and your very special Christmas family memory.
Thank you for sharing your beautiful holiday home tour at Create, Bake, Grow & Gather this week. I’m delighted to be featuring it at the party tonight and pinning too.
Such a sweet way to kick off our family holiday, Kerryanne, thank you so much! It’s been a blessing to be a part of your parties this year. Thank you for supporting so many bloggers and fellow creatives. It means the world! Wishing you and your family a richly blessed holiday season and a happy new year too, CoCo
CoCo, you should have warned me I would need a box of tissue for this post. I could just feel the love of God in each sentence you wrote. Your experience really expresses to me how much more I need to see people from God’s view, and how he tenderly watches over us as our rock and savior.
Thanks for sharing your story!
P.S, your home tour is beautiful 🙂
Joyful Christmas wishes to you!
Coco – I felt like I was reading a book and read faster and faster because I was so interested in what was next. Thank you for sharing the story, I have experience with the feelings you felt for your grandfather as he lay in the hospital. And I absolutely love you were wearing the jammies as you wrote the post. Enjoy your upcoming rest and Merry Merry Christmas to you. Your home and style are gorgeous.