Saturday, November 26, 2011

Holiday Traditions: Proof that I'm Sentimental

As if anyone needed proof that I'm sentimental.

I'm a firm believer in giving Thanksgiving it's due, and waiting until afterward to begin the Christmas season. However, I also don't waste any time.

The Day After Thanksgiving is Christmas Decorating Day.

I sometimes get up early to shop, though this year I didn't. Then I make a yummy breakfast, and the fun begins. First we undecorate from fall, dust and vacuum, and then out come the Christmas goodies. Daddy hauls the boxes up from the basement while the girls and I open them and the fond memories start coming back to us.

For the girls, the memories are from last Christmas, or a couple of years ago. For me, some of these decorations spark memories from my own childhood. Christmas has always been such a happy season, and my memory bank is filled with wonderful rememberings from sweet times we shared at Christmas when I was young.

I remember when my mom would finally get sick of a decoration and would let me have it for my own room. There were these little cardboard houses, a cardboard glittery sleigh and some plastic reindeer that I would proudly display on my dresser each year. Oh man, were they ugly. But I didn't realize that at the time.

I remember one year my dad brought me home a teeny little wooden nativity. I'm not sure what happened to most of the pieces, though a few are still floating around here somewhere. As a kid though, I treasured that little set. It made me feel so darn grown up to have my own decorations in my room, and it meant even more because it was my dad that had given it to me.

And I remember the really ugly decoration, the elf sitting in a little holly-covered ball that was to be hung dangling from somewhere or another. I loved him. And I remember pulling him out, hanging him up, and my mother wrinkling her nose and shaking her head. He certainly wasn't her favorite, but I thought he was adorable and I remember insisting that we still display him even after he'd outgrown her fondness.

A lot of the decorations in my house are the same ones my mom would pull out year after year when I was a girl. She finally got so tired of them (and I was no longer there to insist that she use them) so she handed them over to me. Some aren't real pretty, but I don't care, and my girls don't care. Each one is special, each one sparks a different memory. And now it's all back in style, anyway: it's called "Vintage Christmas Decor." :o)

Here's a train (I think) my aunt made. I'm not sure how old it is. Each year a wheel or a little piece of candy has to be hot-glued back on. When I was little, it went up on the mantel over the brick fireplace every year.

And these embroidery hoops. Seeing them takes me back to the living room where I grew up, and that's a happy place to remember.

I remember being five? or six years old, amazed at how heavy this Santa was. Cora did the same thing this year, picked him up and said, "Whoa, he's a really heavy Santa."

And the stockings - one with reindeer, one with santas, one with ornaments, and two checkered ones, all lined up on hooks along the mantel of the brick fireplace from that wonderful living room. I picked the ornament one each year. This year, Cora claimed it.

To my girls: don't give away the decorations that have fallen out of style. Some day, you'll latch on to the memories they bring back to you, and you'll be glad you still have them. And I promise, they'll be 'cool' again some day, anyway.

And to my mom: thanks for all the wonderful Christmas memories you've given me. I don't think you even know how many sweet things I remember, but they are all centered around the amazing job you did making the whole Christmas season a special one for us.

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