My mom retired and moved to a lake community about 10 years ago. And since retiring, she has given up a lot of her “grown up” burdens: high heels, suits, daily make-up, hairdye. She traded them in for the good life, a pick-up truck, fluffy dogs, big windows, water and yard work. She also stopped accumulating “stuff,” you know, knickknacks and jewelry and furniture. She loves the simplicity of her “less is more” lifestyle.
She even stopped doing some of those things we all feel like we “have to” do, including putting a Christmas tree up. Since she usually comes to my house for the holidays, I don’t think she misses the hassle – my house generally looks like Christmas threw up on it, anyway. And since I am always tired by the end of the season, she gets to “help” put it all away. I am an awesome daughter, right?
Over the Hills and Through the Woods
This year, Little Son said he was tired of her bah humbugging. On our annual trip to her house for Thanksgiving, he suggested that we pick up some Christmas spirit. We fought past the crowd at Wal-Mart and picked up a tree, a bucket of shatter-proof ornaments, some bright green deco mesh and hit the road.We spent Thanksgiving Day putting the tree up and covering it with those generic plastic ornaments. Mom remembered that she still had ornaments packed in a closet, so I pulled them down and cracked open the lids. Lo and behold, they were the ornaments from my childhood! In her dainty, ladylike script, she had labeled each box with the year they were purchased, where she purchased them and where they were manufactured.
She used shurfresh Styrofoam egg cartons to cradle the shiny glass bells and balls she got at the Richland Springs variety store in 1972. The glass is so thin, I am afraid to hang them with the kids. There were two cartons of solid red ornaments, one carton of stripes. Next, I found the red and white carriage ornament we got in 1977 in Brownwood. It is glittered and has sequins on the wheels. In my memory, it is Cinderella’s sparkling coach all ready for the ball, but the matching mice coachmen have been lost over the years.
I also found a big box of plush teddy bear ornaments, some big, some small. Bears are not my thing so I put them aside for the kids to dig through. Next I opened a box containing the
Hallmark ornaments my sweet Aunt Margie gave me in the early ’80’s. They were the beginning of my own collection, and there is a Mrs. Clause mouse, a drum and a Victorian lady holding a wooden tree. I also found the beautiful wooden folk art sparrows with their wings of red, blue and green. The boxes also held birdhouses and white glass orbs trimmed with lace and glitter that we found on a shopping trip when I was in college.
She still had the precious clothespin reindeers we got at the Fannin Elementary Halloween Carnival in 1984, and we mailed those to my brother along with a collection of the red glass balls and the homemade dough ornaments.
I asked Mom if I could keep the birds, white glittered balls, birdhouses and an egg carton of glass ornaments. I think they will be beautiful with my pretty pink and white sugar skull ornaments and candy-colored ribbon. Some old and some new.
Eye of the Beholder
The kids were, of course, instrumental in hanging all the goodies. They made an assembly line – one kid pulling ornaments out, the other putting hangers on. As my mom told them stories about Christmases past, they shoved, hung and tied ornaments on that tree in a sugar-fueled frenzy.
I was using my Miss Cayce’s formula for tree decorating but when you add in some kids and some dogs, that kind of goes out the window. The tree looks like all kid-decorated trees. There are only ornaments on the bottom half of the tree and all the balls and bears are piled on top of each other. The deco mesh keeps falling down and looks very uneven.
But my mom doesn’t seem to see all the clumps and holes. When we finished, she clapped her hands together and pronounced it the most beautiful tree she ever had.
See? I am an awesome daughter!
What ornaments do you have that give you the warm fuzzies? You can see the tree and some of my ornaments here and see my Pinterest album of vintage Christmas finds, too!