Posts Tagged ‘Christmas 2013’

A Christmas House

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

A Christmas House

Written by Tony Mussari
Edited by Kitch Loftus-Mussari
Digital Photographs by Tony Mussari
Copyright 2013
The Face of America Project
Mussari-Loftus Associates, LTD

The past, I think, has helped me appreciate the present – and I don’t want to spoil any of it by fretting about the future. Audrey Hepburn

Last week, Kitch and I walked into our past to connect with our future, and we made some remarkable discoveries. It happened during aIMG_2370_250 Christmas visit with a dear friend. For us, it’s a tradition, a celebration, a reunion. We return to our old neighborhood to visit with a woman who has been a friend for more than forty years.

She lives in a home that reflects the spirit of Christmas every day of the year. She personifies the Christmas message in everything she does. For us, she defines many of the qualities we associate with America at its best.

She is not powerful or prominent. She has lived her married life in this house, raising her children, loving her God and being a wonderful neighbor.

When we are with her we feel the warm and welcoming spirit of belonging. The mementos in her home speak to family, faith, discipline, service, honor, humility, respect, industry and kindness.

During this visit, I was drawn to several messages that appear on artifacts that are displayed in the living room, dining room and kitchen. They speak to the family she raised, the service her husband gave to his country, the faith they chose, the values they taught their four children, and the things they hold dear.

Please accept these words of wisdom and this blueprint for happiness and contentment as a Christmas gift.


Prominently displayed in the kitchen are the house rules:

If you turn it on, turn it off.
If you open it, close it.
If you move it, put it back.
If you borrow it, return it.
If you break it, repair it.
If you make a mess, clean it up.
If it’s none of your concern, keep it that way.

In almost every room there is a tribute to “Mom.” Kitch IMG_2281_250and I were taken by the words in this poetic tribute:

I am grateful to God for the blessings He sent.
For peace and good friends.
For Success and content.
I’m grateful for health.
And for skies bright and blue.
But most grateful of all for a mother like you.

This Irish toast is prominently displayed in the dining room:

May you be in heaven a half hour before the Devil knows you’re dead.


A colorful plaque defines the qualities of a loving father:

A father is a very big man who remembers what it was like to be very little.

Love and service to country are celebrated in several places. TheIMG_2258_250 trivet on the refrigerator surrounded by pictures of the grandchildren is very colorful and cannot be ignored:

God bless America.


The man of this house was a World War II veteran. His service to America is recorded in a special way. There are no words, just a flag that once draped a cofffin and pictures of a teenager who went to war to defend freedom. They speak volumes about honor, valor and patriotism.

In my opinion, two of the smallest trivets were the most compellingIMG_2246_250 and powerful. They spoke to the faith that fills this home with kindness and hospitality:

Christ is the head of this house.
The unseen host at every meal.
The silent Listener to every conversation.


May this be a home where peace abides, hospitality prevails and love grows now and forever.

After our three hour Christmas visit with our friend Gert, we felt renewed.

For us, Christmas is about light. The Child who was born in Bethlehem all those years ago came to bring light to our world, the light of peace, understanding, forgiveness, kindness, love and redemption.

In this house, the light of Christmas shines brightly every day of the year, because here Christmas is a state of mind, heart and soul. It is love in action, and it is a year-long, not a seasonal event.

In this house, the words of Charles Dickens have real meaning;

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.

Thank you, Gert for the magic moments and memories we shared with you in this house. You are a genuine and radiant Face of America on its best day, and we are honored to know you.

Merry Christmas, dear friend.

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