So now it is time to take down the Christmas decorations, if, that is, you're like me and don't subscribe to the theory that they should stay up until at least New Year's Day. I know there's a strong school of thought to support that approach, but that's not coming from me.
I figure that once the holiday is over, it's done, and the decorations should be gone, too. They've done their job for another year and deserve some rest. So just who am I not to go with that? Besides, I always appreciate neat and orderly, more easily achieved without Christmas decorations.
It's interesting, because as much as I like to have the decorations in place, I always appreciate having things put away in the storeroom. That includes the Christmas tree. It stays assembled and decorated year round; it's just that for a month it's in the living room instead of the storeroom.
As unsentimental as that sounds, I do love my special ornaments. Perhaps the most special are the tatted snowflakes that hang on my tree. My late grandma, who was a champion tatter, made them for us. I think of her so often at all seasons of the year, especially as I appreciate again the dozen lovely, intricate works of art that always grace our tree. "My great grandma made these while she watched TV," I heard my son explain to his new wife as he pointed them out to her on Christmas Eve.
A decoration that always comes out for Christmas is the ceramic 18" Christmas tree my mom made for my grandma at least forty years ago. Lots of people have them, I know, but this one is special to me. Even though there's always a regular Christmas tree in my house, this one is always part of our holiday, too. Miraculously, it has remained undamaged throughout numerous moves the past few decades. My daughter just told me it's hers when I am done with it. "Just so you know," she said.
There's another decoration you'll always see somewhere at my house for the holidays. It's a foot-tall, Santa in his sleigh with three wooden reindeer out front. All are flat wooden cut-outs that stand up. Friends of my parents made it for them probably almost sixty years ago, so it has that rather funky, kitsch-y look that brings to mind that era. And home.
I have other decorations and ornaments special to me that I have collected through the years, as well, and I know just about everyone does. Often when I visit other homes during Advent and see what looks to me to be their beautiful decorations and ornaments, I wonder why I ever thought my decorations were adequate.
And then I get home, look around my simple house, and I am reminded again that it's the memories and connections to the past and future that makes things special.