It’s time to haul the boxes of decorations out of the attic, which hold my pooping holiday toy collection and other treasures. As each box is opened, memories and traditions spill out. My sweetie and I are still blending our lifetimes of traditions together. Happily our shared offbeat sense of humor has allowed our different customs to play well together. Thank goodness we’re both more Christmas Vacation style than Martha Stewart style. A tradition I hold dear is that my mom, my daughter and I must repeat the stories behind each ornament as we hang them on the branches of our fresh tree…every single year. Steve having a bourbon during the telling of these stories has now become part of this tradition.
The ornaments are eclectic and cross four generations; there’s ornaments from travels, tiny wooden shoes from Holland, an Elvis ornament from Graceland, a starfish dressed up like Santa from a beach trip; a glitzy fleur de lis from New Orleans. There’s the Disney princess phase my daughter went through represented with Snow White and Pocahontas ornaments. We have lots of handmade things too; the Wizard of Oz collection my Mom made when I was young that’s only a little chewed up from the dog who thought Dorothy was a chew toy; an empty beer can that’s painted with the pop off lid hole designed to look like an angel singing; lots of God’s Eyes—popsicle sticks with yarn wrapped around them—that my Girl Scout troop made me on a long ago campout; and even a faded crayon-drawn ornament on cardboard held together with lots of staples that survived from my early childhood when I had just discovered the magical properties of a stapler. My sweetie’s White House collectible ornaments from his decade in Washington blend well with everything. The blingy silver beaded garland and colored lights tie it all together.
We have several little holiday collections, none real large and none that really match. Other than the pooping toys I have nutcrackers, reindeers, angels, Santas; there are lots of candles, a Yule log and a menorah. Steve added his Holy Land village that he collected over decades with his children. It fits in our idiosyncratic collections and I agree with him, that a turkey is a nice addition to the traditional manger animals.
While I appreciate well designed, simple and tasteful holiday decorations, it’s the shiny, whimsical, silly and tacky side of the holidays that I’m drawn to. The classic wreath on the front door with simple white lights is lovely—but it’s the house with an over abundance of mismatched lights, a Christmas giraffe standing next to a penguin manger that’ll make me slow down to take a picture.
When it comes to gifts, we believe in quantity over quality. A pair of socks equals two wrapped gifts. We’ll even wrap a package of Oreos and a six-pack of cokes. We have a large shabby bow that we call the family bow; it’s too ratty to give anyone outside of immediate family. It’s considered lucky to have your gift wrapped with the family bow.
This year we’ll be blending in a new tradition. My sweetie has little grandchildren so we will have Christmas dinner at their home where Santa will have just made a big stop. His adult children have requested a return of Steve’s Christmas spaghetti. As I understand it, you add green food coloring to the noodles so when the red meat sauce is added, everyone will have a plate of red and green deliciousness. I’m looking forward to this new tradition and love that it’s a revival of a treasured family memory for a new generation.
Baking Christmas cookies and making ornaments
I’m going to make wine cork ornaments to go along with my Christmas cookies. I need to get started so it must be time open a bottle now that I’m collecting corks! Cheers to happy holidays and your own treasured traditions!
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