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Christmas House on Harvard Court

  • This Nativity was Marion Carty's parents. It is about 75 years old.
    This Nativity was Marion Carty's parents. It is about 75 years old.
Published December 31. 2009 01:02PM

The home of Mike and Marion Carty could be called "Christmas House" and it was one of the homes featured in the Palmerton Concourse Club's Christmas House Tour.

It is all about tradition at the Carty home. Themed trees and a collection of Santas give the home a warm and welcome appearance

Many antique, modern and children's Nativities are seen throughout the home. One child-friendly Nativity is located on a low shelf next to the living room fireplace and it is at a level for children to play with.

"We wanted our grandchildren to be able to come to our house and have their own Nativity to touch and play with too," says Marion.

"I love the glitz and the Santas, but the soul of Christmas is the Nativity," she says.

From the moment visitors enter the beautiful foyer of antiques, hanging chandelier and a handmade corner niche made from birds-eye maple, they are greeted with "Welcome" and for Christmas, greens and lights wound around the stair rail and the first of at least 30 trees, which vary in size and theme.

"When we moved in, I knew I wanted the foyer to look like a room," says Marion.

The first tree, in the foyer, sits atop a table, trimmed in antique toys that the Cartys collected.

"I like to decorate our trees with things we have around the house. I like quirky things," she says. "You'd be surprise at how good they look in a tree."

Another thing she likes to incorporate in her decorating is the grandchildren. In almost every aspect, she features at least six of something, to represent their six grandchildren.

The family room is a comfortable place to gather before dinner or just to sit quietly by a two-sided fireplace. It is dedicated to a theme of "An Old Fashioned Christmas" with antique balls and candle-like lights. The tree is decorated in an "outdoor" theme. In place of it is a bit unique because it has bronze patina.

In the dining room, the tree reflects the Cartys' love to entertain. The Party Tree is adorned with wine glasses, grapes and waiter ornaments. Topping the tree is a reindeer wine topper and for New Year's Eve, party hats and noise makers are added.

In the breakfast room is an S'mores Tree with mugs and hot chocolate containers. Marion and her grandchildren gathered twigs from the yard and stuck marshmallows on the branches and added them to the tree. "Grandma and Grandpa" figures to sit atop the tree among all the warmth and love.

Also in the breakfast room is the Nativity set that had belonged to Marion's parents. The Baby Jesus is made of wax. It is still as it was when Marion was growing up.

A Santa and Me Tree is the focal point in the gathering room/porch. It is decorated with framed pictures of the Cartys' children and grandchildren sitting on Santa's lap amid whimsical red and white ornaments. A handmade (one-of-a-kind) doll sits atop the tree.

The Cartys converted their garage into a family and party room with the ability to remain a garage, with the original doors still in place. The large open space calls for a large tree.

"Many a meal and many a "toast" is shared in this space," says Marion. They love it when their four children with spouses and their six grandchildren all come home for family get-togethers.

In another room is a Candy Tree, adorned with edible ornaments and topped with Randolph, Rudolph's cousin.

Marion started decorating this year in October.

"I knew I'd have to get a head start because of the tour. But once we brought the larger trees up, I thought it was a waste to have them just sitting there. So I decorated them for Halloween. I enjoyed them so much and thought they were just so wonderful, that I think I may start a new tradition ."

Tradition is very important in the Carty family.

"We have Christmas Eve traditions that we still do today that has been passed down from generation to generations," says Marion.

Some of these include saying special prayers before the Christmas Eve meal and opening presents on Christmas Eve.

"Growing up, our Christmas mornings were about going to church, not opening presents," said Marion.

Now the Cartys begin Christmas Eve together. They lead the procession through the house, youngest first, ringing a bell and the oldest sprinkles each room with holy water, using a pine branch, saying prayers until they stand together in front of the manger and sing

"Silent Night" welcoming the new baby Jesus.

"Only then does Santa get recognized when we open our gifts," she says.

Traditions are important to the Cartys, but at the heart of everything is "the feel of family. That's what our home is."

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