Friday, December 24, 2010

They Have a Story to Tell....If We Only Take the Time to Hear It!

Well if you look in at Chez Sluggy, it sure doesn't look much like Christmas is almost here.
The Holidays are only evident in about a 5 square foot area of the house, right around the Christmas tree in the living room.
I visit blog after blog and I see pictures of other people's abodes.
Their abodes are all gussied up for the Holidays, with wreaths, garlands twisting down bannisters, stockings hanging by chimneys, mantels decked out with candles and big, oversized glass ball ornaments or angels, and Christmas Village displays or Train displays or Carolers displays or Nativity displays, and on and on.
I also see multiple trees.....some people have a Christmas tree in every room of the public areas of their homes!
My home?

Not so much.

First, for years now I have sold on eBay around the Holidays.  Selling on eBay, a large inventory of things, sure flavors what your home looks like at the Holidays.  Furniture and decor are replaced by boxes of inventory stacked in every spare corner you can find.  My living room is more warehouse or stockroom than Holiday gathering place.
That dining room table?  It becomes shipping central for 2 months of the year!  There is a festive Holiday tablecloth underneath the bubble wrap, packing tape, yardsticks and scissors and cardboard.  Don't mind the stack of paperwork, bag of wrapping trash and extras on the hutch....

Add in that my kids are pretty much grown now so they are past wanting to help decorate the Christmas tree, much less anything else in the house except the inside of their wallets with Andrew Jackson's faces. lol

Since no one is interested in playing Martha La-De-Freakin'-Da Stewart around here and helping me with transforming Chez Sluggy into Santa's Wonderland, I have stopped trying to do it all and I have stopped beating myself up about the decorating not getting done.

I chose to just have one thing to do in terms of the decorating--the Christmas Tree.
Instead of stressing out over getting it up and finished as quickly as possible, we took a whole long weekend to get the basic tree up and situated.
Then we assigned the branch arranging, the garland stringing and the Star(well, it's an Angel this year)Tree Topper application.  Each person had to complete their part over the course of a weekend...not much pressure there.

Once those things were in place we hauled the 2 large plastic bins of ornaments down and left them for 2 weeks in the living room.  As someone caught the spirit, they could add an ornament whenever they felt the urge.
First thing in the morning before leaving for school......after feeding the between trips down for a nighttime snack or bathroom breaks or World of Warcraft s.
Little by little, day by day, the tree got decorated.
I didn't have to nag.
I didn't have to yell.
I didn't have to push.
I just put the ornies out there and let them choose the time to hang them and how many they felt like hanging.
This method seemed to work well for us this year.
And day by day I watched as the tree filled up.....well, not really filled, since everyone seemed to have a minimalist vision for the tree this

I envy all those Christmas trees I see in the magazines....all color co-ordinated and/or themed.
So pretty.

But I like my tree because it's a Chronicle of our family.

The ornaments tell a story.

They might not be expensive and matchy but they are a visual history of our lives.
Let me show you around this year's tree......

Hubs and I have collected Ornaments since we became a family back in 1982.  Back them we had very little money so I handmade many of our ornaments or they were gifts from family.

I made and sold at Craft Fairs ornaments like this doll.  It's just a wooden bead painted to look like a head w/a face, a white chenille stem(cut into 3 sections), a yard of pink netting cut into sections and a yard of lace trim.  This is like the ones my mom use to make and sell at my grade school Christmas fundraiser.

Then there are the gifted ornaments like this one....
Yes, I married a die-hard Mets fan.  ;-)

Even before the kids came along, we would buy a Christmas tree ornament every year, usually on our vacation.
Here is a vacation remembrance we  bought this past August in Maine....
A moose in lobsterman waders holding a lobster.  I thought it was cute and pretty much covers the essence of that state.....except there is no snow on

Once the babies started coming, we continued to buy ornaments, usually to commemorate some interest or milestone in their lives.  I won't bore you with the bazillion Baby's 1st XXX ornaments here.

Instead, here are 2 ornaments 2 of my children received during their younger days.  Here is a rare ornament from my father to my daughter back in the days when she was 'into' Dolls and Dollhouses.....

 And here is a handmade ornament from my mother to #1 son, who was the penultimate Thomas the Tank Engine fan from the age of 14 months until 3 yrs....

My mom had very little money but still found ways to lavish her grandkids with stuff(and love).  One year she found empty Christmas balls and made a themed ornie for each child. #1 son's ornie had a tiny wooden train and cut-outs of Thomas the Tank characters in it.  Even though he is fairly non-sentimental, #1 son will never willingly get rid of this ornament.

Once they started school, the kids started churning out handmade crafty ornaments as art projects that were gifted to us parents at the Holidays.  That's when the number of ornaments here exploded at the hands of my not always talented but very crafty kids. ;-)
 The example above was one of the 1st kid-made ornies we added to the collection.  #1 son made it in Nursery school.  Ok, so his efforts here were to squirt glue onto the ornie and sprinke a glob of glitter onto it and then thread the red yarn through the hole and the teachers cut-out, colored and tied the yarn hanger for him, but we treasure it anyway.

This example was created by #2 son in Kindergarten, the year I was the Homeroom mom.  This is the activity for their Christmas party at school the year he had the old, evil, "W"itch teacher who hated little boys.  (Another very long story for another time.)

Here is one I bought for them about 11 years ago....
Nothing says the Holidays like Pokemon...or at least back then for the kids it did!lol

And here is one of our family traditions....
How else do you explain a pickle hanging on your Christmas tree? lol

There are even some ornaments that are mine on the tree.....
This handpainted blue crab shell was a present I received in a Christmas Swap held with an online group of friends.  The sender was from Maryland.  I thought it was very cool....thanks Nancy!

Here is one of my favorite ornaments....
It's a teeny tiny nativity scene I received as an incentive for selling gift wrap and "stuff" for my school's fundraiser back when I was in 1st grade.  That ornament is 45 years old now.....*groan*.
I just remember how much I wanted it and how much junk I had to sell to get it.  I'm sure my grandparents bought a ton of crap from me so I could get this little 'reward' that probably cost a nickel if you bought it at the dime store.lolol

And this is one of the ultra-rare ornaments from my Hubs childhood.
It's a ceramic angel bell from Germany.  His mother was not a big fan of collecting stuff.  I believe she threw things away unlike my mom who saved everything.  Add in that his parents were dirt poor most of their married lives so what Christmas fippery they had was either glass ornaments that have long since broken or cheap plastic ones that just disappeared over the years as they wore out.

I could go on for pages and pages but I'll stop here.  I so enjoy digging the ornies out each year and reminiscing and retelling the stories of our lives.

How about you?  Do you have any special ornaments that take you back to a time in your life or people in your life you wish were still around?  Leave a comment and share your stories.


1 comment:

  1. Those are wonderful!!! I have a big Snoopy dated ball ornament that a sorority sister gave me in college, and DH has a couple of those pretty hand-spun glass ornaments from his youth. We still also have some kid-made school ornaments from our son in various grades :) Oh yeah, and a good friend gave me a Hallmark Gene Kelly ornament where he's Singin' In the Rain - that's one of my faves
    (as is the movie). And do you know what I don't have on any of my ornaments?? Amazingly, I have never bought or received or made a Beatles ornament, which is pretty dang phenomenal when I think about it. I may have to find/make one for next year :)

    Great post!!!!!


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