Wow. Why does Christmas sneak up on me every year? I have plenty of warning. This year they were getting ready before Halloween. I think that’s part of the problem in my case – I just tune it out.
A few things help me get back on track. My friend, Sandy, and I went to a wonderful musical play at the Popejoy Hall theater on the UNM campus. The story…called The Christmas Story…has been around for a while but I never saw it presented as a musical. It was truly enjoyable. That helped me stay on track but there were a number of distractions that sent me off on tangents.
Thanksgiving got me back in the spirit. My daughter, Jill, had been walking the Camino Santiago in Spain and I was pretty much focused on her progress toward Santiago de Compostela. She got there on November 13th and was there during the terrorist attacks in Paris. That was scary but she made it home on November 19th safe and sound…but a little sore of foot and back. She announced that she would probably never eat ham or pork (Jamon, in Spain) agsain. OOOPS… Guess what I was thinking about cooking for Thanksgiving. Yep…ham. As a backup plan I had a pork roast in the freezer and I was going to give her a choice.
We had turkey. There was just the two of us so we got a small (3 pound) turkey roast. I’m still eating it and I’m not that fond of Turkey but I’m finding ways to make it better.
After Thanksgiving we Americans always celebrate Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday, all followed by Buyer’s Remorse Wednesday. Jill went out looking for a new artificial Christmas tree and I tagged along. We eventually found one at Walmart – of course. She lives in a top-floor apartment with a high vaulted ceiling so she wanted a tree that would not be lost in the space. She settled for a 6.5 foot tree and, based on the picture she sent, it looks fine. She has a cat that prefers not to walk on the floor and leaps from place to place. I expect the tree to go down a few times. A new Christmas tradition!!!
When Jill was small we had a fairly large tree each year…usually a live tree. Now, living by myself, I have a small artificial tree. Many folks my age just forego the tree all together but I like to get mine out. It takes about a half hour to do the whole thing. I try to get a live wreath or swag to bring some sort of live (actually dead) evergreen into the house.
Because we had a large tree, I have a bunch of ornaments that have come down through the decades. Depending on how I pack things away each year I often come across these old ornaments. I have some from when I was a kid and a couple relics from when my dad was young. My brother and I would get to pick out a new ornament at the department store each year and, with appropriate pomp and ceremony, we would hang the shiny new ornaments on the family tree. We would pick the most elaborate and most fragile ornaments we could find…some with tinkling bells and some with various sparkles and appendages. These hardly ever made it past a couple years because they would break so easily. Sadly, I don’t actually remember what they looked like…the Christmas blur seems to run all of it together. Anyway, I found a bunch this year that were quite old. I’m posting some pictures of what I found. Some of these went out of style and then came back.
The glass Santa is old but they have them in stores today. He brings back memories of other Santas that we had. One in particular was decorated with rabbit fur (I guess) and after a few years he had to be thrown out because the fur got very strange and my mom couldn’t deal with it anymore.
The old colored glass balls faded over the years to a translucent or clear tinted glass. I have no idea how old some of these are but they have a bunch of years on them.
Some were hand painted or had sparkle stuff painted on as decoration. Some of the sparkle is gone but the rough paint is still there like a fossil of what it once was.
One of my favorite things is the relic Christmas lights from my dad’s family tree when he was young. Again, I have no idea how old these are but they probably date to the 1930s or before. I can remember seeing them light up as a kid. We would screw them into our big and bulky Christmas lights on our tree and watch them light up for about a minute or two and then hang them on the tree like ornaments. They are heavy, hand-painted milk-glass.
I am cutting back this year and not putting as much stuff out. I will be gone for a week in December and it seems like a few less decorations might be warranted. I have the decorations out in the backyard shed and have to haul things back and forth. For some reason I seem to be missing a few things so there must be another box out there.
I am putting s few of my wife’s Santas out. She collected Santas and had around 300 when she passed away. I kept a couple dozen but parted with most of them. Some are very fragile and I’ve opted not to put them out this year. The big fabric ones are out. A couple ceramic Santas are out.
My mom took a ceramic class one year and was making a nativity set. She didn’t get very far…but that’s what I use. I consider it an abstract, post-modern, minimalist version.
It wouldn’t be Christmas if I didn’t have Nigel, the Santa pig out. He goes into a special place of honor. I bought him for Joanne to add to her collection but she was not thrilled. She eventually warmed up to Nigel and he became one of our family favorites. (Looks like I need to get the cob webs out of the place of honor???)
So I’m back on track. I played some Christmas music and even started doing some Christmas shopping. Full speed ahead!!
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