Christmas Angels and Ornaments
Thanksgiving is in the rearview mirror and boughs of holly and evergreen sprigs have replaced the pumpkins and autumn decor. For the moment, a quiet peaceful feeling has settled into the house as the shift to the next whirlwind of activities and merriment looms just around the bend.
The festive holiday season is filled with both religious and family traditions. Every person, no matter what age, has a story to tell and traditions and memories to share about how their own family celebrates the holidays.
One of my family traditions is illuminated by the process of hauling out several storage bins filled with a variety of decorations - instant reminders of a lifetime of holiday history. Childhood memories return with the simple gesture of unwrapping two ceramic angels that are placed gingerly on the mantel, bringing with it a flood of emotions and remembrances of those family members who are no longer physically present.
A knowing smile emerges upon finding my mother’s handwritten notes listing the exact locations for the placement of her boxes of holiday decorations around my childhood home. She was the type of person who wrote lists for everything and probably wrote this one to serve as her guide and jog her memory each year. In any case, her red cursive penmanship and choice of words illicit fond memories of the past when she took time to decorate our home.
Appreciating and relishing the memories and stories triggered by handling the hand-stitched ornaments that my grandmother proudly gave to her family years ago is the reward for tackling the task of decorating the Christmas tree.
Some ornaments mark significant and sentimental memories such as the addition of a child or dog to the family. These ornaments represent the characteristics and personalities of the recipient and are given each year to each member of the family. The collection has grown, reflecting the number of years that have flown swiftly by. The trees branches bend, happily burdened with the responsibility of holding up these treasures.
Like my mother and her mother before, I look forward to sharing the holidays with those that I care about. I will continue to tell stories of my past to my own grown children, savor all of the nostalgic decorations, and keep up the time-honored family traditions created years ago while creating some new ones for future generations.
Happy holidays from LastingMatters!