This is the first year since leaving Wisconsin that we have a Christmas tree inside the house. Our Colorado years sported a dressed tree on the deck outside our dining area. Sturdy ornaments able to withstand the elements donned the tree. Many of the years, dustings of snow graced the branches and sometimes birds would land in the tree. All those years our fragile ornaments hid in boxes wrapped in tissue. It was a treat to open those boxes and see treasures stored away.
The decorating process unleashed memories from years back, memories of family events, memories of friends. The nativity set I grew up seeing at my grandparent’s house now lives at mine. Unwrapping each piece stirs memories from my childhood, when its home was a corner table in their living room. I treasure the story of how the set was acquired. First the stable with the holy family, then, as finances allowed, they added to the collection. The pieces don’t match, but they warm my heart as it’s part of my history. Several years back, my husband purchased a new stable for the set. It was our way of putting our own touch on this set.
The other set comes from hubby’s family and was purchased by his parents many years ago on a trip to Italy. The pieces all have exquisite facial features, all are in the same style. It is a simplistic piece that finds its home on an end-table each Christmas. I love both sets, and unwrapping them is our introduction to the holiday season.
Unpacked ornaments lay on the table, ready for the tree. Hubby picked up a piece and said, “Is there a history here? I see so many snowmen.”
I chuckle. “Yes. I have a friend who knew I liked snowmen and for many years, she gave me an ornament or two for my tree.”
I’m grateful he asked. It brought back so many pleasant holiday memories after my children were adults and I lived alone. Friends are so important in life.
He asked about other ornaments or decorations. Some were from my mom; some made by children; some purchased on travels; some, I don’t remember. Then we talked about some ornaments he brought.
I have many things my mother gave to me over the years. So much has changed since last year when we were absorbed with cleaning, unpacking and getting settled in our new home. There were no Christmas decorations. In retrospect, I recognize that may have been healthier for me. This year, I’m able to pick up a piece and enjoy the thought of my mom giving the ornament or decoration to me. Many of the items reflected her personality. The simple styles, or elegant lines, reflected who she was and how much care she gave in selecting gifts for others. Last year, I wasn’t ready to appreciate the memories associated with those items.
Time is a healer.