Monday, December 13, 2010
A Vintage Christmas Again
Do we all get lost in the fast pace of life? Do we loose all traditions as we get older?
As I opened the box with the self-lit three foot tall pink Christmas tree last night, I realized this just isn't right. Somewhere through the years, this Holiday-crazy lady lost her spirit. Was it when the last child went off to college? Was it the middle child convincing me a pink tree was "cool" last year? Or did I just get lazy. It was always fun decorating the yard and the house. The packing it all up after Christmas is the chore.
I would go all out every holiday, but Christmas the most. Every room had its own decorations, theme and a Christmas tree. The kitchen tree was decorated with vintage miniature cookie cutters, rolling pins, aprons and tiny pot holders. The dining room featured my vintage nutcrackers everywhere as well as nutcracker ornaments on the treein that room. Not even the bathroom escaped me, a tiny tree on a shelf was trimmed with woodland critters in Santa hats, as well as towels, rug and even door knob covers. The children each did their own rooms, complete with lights and a tree.
The living room was my favorite. We'd pick the tallest, fattest pine, put the top down on the car to get it home and the festivities began. Tradition was sipping hot chocolate and listening to Christmas music by Striesand, Elvis and Aaron Neville among our favorites as we decorated the tree.
Stories would flow from each of us as we hung every ornament. When the kids were young, we had started a tradition of making ornaments for everyone in the family. As the kids grew, the ornaments got more intricate with their skills. There were years of hand painted plaster and wood. Macaroni angels, cellophane candy canes, pipe cleaner reindeer, and even sugar egg dioramas. Everyone had one they made for themselves as well as gifts to other family members each year.
As we gifted these ornaments, friends and relatives followed our tradition and each of us always got dated ornaments back, special to each person's interest or hobby. A vacation to Hawaii? we didn't buy tacky souvenirs, but each came home with an ornament. A trip, a visit to a museum, or a tourist sight? Yes, another ornament for our collection. I even have several that were gifts from my customers through the years, also very special to me.
When each child grew up, left home and went on their own, so did their totes of their personal ornaments. At Christmas, I can expect a phone call from each as they decorate their own tree, with memories of each ornament, and sentimental reminiscing of the events or stories behind the ornaments and the laughs at some of the more "primitive" ones, knowing how precious they are now. We're not decorating the tree together anymore, but its just as nice to hear them and knowing they are still enjoying their precious ornaments and the sentiments.
Ironically, most of the ornaments now are classified "vintage" since they are at least 20 years old; 30 years old for my son's collection. So many memories through all the years.
Today was the day they called. We reminisced, laughed and shared happy memories of the relatives now deceased they have these little treasures from that are extra special now as they decorated their tree. My son now has a son, and he not only shares the stories of each ornament with is child, they too have started a tradition of crafting ornaments for everyone. The tradition continues with yet another generation.
As I hung up the phone, and turned to look at the pink tree, still in its box, I realized its time to go back to our traditions. The entire house doesn't have to be decorated, but at least I can get my great aunt's now thirty year old quilted tree skirt and the ornaments out the children made for me, put the top down on my little car and go get a real tree again. I'll put on the Christmas cd's, make some hot chocolate and enjoy decorating the tree with vintage family memories.
The pink tree? I'll drop it off at a chairty tomorrow and maybe a little girl who loves pink will appreciate it..