Debbie Futhey - Floral designer at Memories of Home

Make plans to bring yourself and your Thanksgiving guests to our Thanksgiving open house.
We’d love to meet them. November 26 – 30. Closed Thanksgiving Day.

I wanted to share a story with you that happened to me at the last show we were at. The booth was all ready to go and 3 of my regular customers were gazing at a rather large elf I had in my booth. Honestly, these elves are probably my most favorite. Sitting next to the elves was an adorable pillow that had these words written on it, “An old elf and a cute little reindeer live here.”

You could tell that the elves had caught the women’s attention and they all started giggling. Then one said to me, with my husband standing beside me, “is the reason you like elves is because they look like your husband?”

I said, “What did you say?”

Giggling even harder, they repeated the question. And then we all started giggling even harder.

“Well,” I told them, ” I had never noticed that. But maybe that is the reason I love them so much.”

So over the weekend, I decided to analyze what made me fall in love with so many different kinds of Christmas characters.

I am being totally transparent with you guys. Please, no judgment. Or if you want to call me a jerk, so be it. I truthfully am so many times.

When I was young, probably in the 1950’s, society tried to separate people who didn’t fit the “norm” by placing them in institutions where people would not have to engage with these people. I remember my parents taking me to a family’s house and before we got there, my father sat in the car with all of us and prepared us for this child that would be in a room and made lots of noises. We were not to say anything about him or do anything that might upset the family we were visiting.

I remember the room was like a cage. I felt like we were at the zoo. He did make funny noises. But what I remember most of all was that he would come to the gate and look at us as we gazed at him. He wanted so much to engage with the visitors that had come. I remember leaving the house very depressed because it was almost as though everyone was ashamed of this little guy. I didn’t know how to feel. Little did I know, I would never forget that experience.

Later in life, when I became pregnant with our fifth child, I remember people would say to me since we didn’t have any boys yet, I”ll bet you’d like a boy, wouldn’t you? Well duh.vBut, I would say, it really doesn’t matter to me, and that was the truth.

But as the months went on during my pregnancy, I began to be prepared by God, that something wasn’t right with this pregnancy. I kept having this recurring dream about having a baby with Down Syndrome.

I remember seeing several people with Down’s Syndrome and thinking, how do I communicate with these individuals. What if I can’t understand them. Would they be like the boy that I saw as a young child? What would this be like?

And as many of you know, God had prepared me for my son Joel, with Down Syndrome. And you know what? God gave me the most wonderful blessing of my life.

So how does this relate to all the interesting snowmen, elves and Santa’s that I buy at Christmas for the shop? I see them as lessons in life to me. Sometimes the more unusual they are, the more I love them.

Joel and the community that he hangs out with are some of the most beautiful people on this earth! Do they look different? Yes, some of them do.

Can I understand them all the time? Not at all.

But one thing they do understand, is a universal language. And that is love.

And that is one thing we all understand.

So when I see these unusual snowmen, elves and Santas, I think of my special friends that I’ve made in my life. And it never would have happened if I had not been given this special gift of Joel in my life.

And by the way, if my husband looks like my elves, you can bet I’ll love then forever!

Love someone different than you today! You’ll be blessed.



Debbie Futhey - Floral designer at Memories of Home