Christmas with Clay and Brandee Kelley is all about traditions, and their home, shown here, is where many of their customs began and culminated – especially during the holidays.
Speaking of holidays, there’s one that serves as the genesis for Christmas at “Kelley Manor.” “On Labor Day,” Brandee says, “we begin shopping for Christmas presents with the goal of having presents wrapped, cards prepared and the house decorated by December first so that we can enjoy all the Christmas celebrations, from Bikes For Mission Arlington (Dec. 12 this year) and the annual Michael W. Smith Christmas concert to gatherings with friends and family.”
On the weekend before Christmas, the Kelleys celebrate with longtime friends. These unions have changed over the years – the now-grown children are no longer in tow – but Brandee says it is always a great way to begin the week of Christmas.
Clay and Brandee traditionally attend the Christmas Eve candlelight service at their church, after which they take in a feast of Mexican food with family. Before opening presents on Christmas morning, their children read the Christmas Story from Luke, Chapter 2, in the Bible. Following the present-opening ritual they eat “Clay’s wonderful tenderloin” for lunch and, when weather permits, take an afternoon stroll to counter all the feasting. Then they revel in the wonder of the day in their beautiful home.
“The lights and music are two of our favorite parts of Christmas,” Brandee says. “I especially love the picture of the angel (above, by the mirror) and the lights as I wonder what it was like when the heavenly host of angels sang in Bethlehem when Christ humbly stepped down from heaven to take on human flesh, knowing that His purpose was to die and rise again to give us hope and a future with Him where our sins are forgiven and we can go to heaven with Him.”
Like the traditions, many of the decorations are near and dear to the Kelleys. Brandee made the boys’ stockings – “a labor of love, as these are the only needlepoint projects I have ever done. There is a poem about stockings being hung with care; these were also created with care.”
This year, Clay and Brandee traded in their traditional red and green for a soft, calming blue theme in parts of the house. Teamed with the outdoor vistas available from virtually every room, the new hues bring an easy peace to the Kelley home.
This year, that serenity will be yet another Christmas inspiration. Moving forward, it will be a tradition. A good one.