I like Christmas. There is something about having permission to go completely overboard in filling your harm with sparkle and beauty and bits of nature that makes me smile. This time of the year, I surround myself with objects that have strong memories living in them, and my life feels richer for it. Everywhere I look, the house fills me with joy and thoughts of how far we’ve come, and excitement about what is yet to be.
We have an artificial tree, but you don’t really notice until you get close, since it is usually so completely covered in ribbons and ornaments and twinkling lights and tin tinsel and candy canes that you can hardly see the tree underneath.
I like ornaments.
(It’s been pointed out that I seem to like a lot of things. It’s true, I do. Life is so much happier when you choose to find joy in as many things as possible.)
I love the delicate porcelain ballerinas that B picked out for herself this year.
I love the little owl we found, and the papier-mâché polar bear, and the hand-turned birdhouses that were a wonderful gift one year.
Seeing the tree skirt sparkling away by the light of the tree fills my heart with joy and a profound sense of “Finally!” After three years of working on it every December and then this past spring when I decided I would finish it this year no matter what, it is nice to see it under the tree.
Santa and his reindeer travelling over the rooftops on the dining room buffet is another Mama-made object that makes this Mama smile. My embroidery style has changed this year, thanks to Sharon Boggon and her sumptuous embroidery and the crazy quilting class I took this fall, and Santa’s beard and the harnesses on the reindeer got an extra dose of stitches thanks to my newly changed eye for embellishment.
The newly acquired itty-bitty Christmas tree that now graces the mantel over the fireplace is another smile-worth object of joy. It was completely decorated by the kids and their cousin one evening (it took them about 6.2 microseconds. Seriously. I’ve never seen a tree decorated so rapidly. Ever.) They used the salt-dough ornaments we made last year with friends, plus tiny bells and miniature ornaments that are meant to be gift toppers, and then I finished it off with a pile of red glass balls.
The tree is small, about 3 feet tall, and looked rather naked sitting atop the fireplace, so now the Christmas village has been laid out around it’s base. Which means the kids spend an awful lot of time standing on chairs pulled up to the fireplace so they can arrange and rearrange and rearrange the village some more.
Did I mention they’ve added a miniature R2D2 to the Christmas village? They have. He is totally adorable. I now believe that all Christmas villages need a droid or two to bring their Victorian-styled inhabitants into the future.
Do I go overboard with the Christmas decorating? Oh, probably. But how can I not, when each thing I put out holds so many joyful memories?
We are so blessed, you see, and everywhere I look, I see a visible reminder of our blessings. These things I’ve surrounded myself with for Christmas are, in a small way, my memories.
The ballerinas? They make me think of B, dressed in a white satin dress perfect for twirling, dancing in her Grandpa’s arms at her uncle’s wedding. The owl? Why, the woods, of course, with all its mystery and majesty and memories of countless hours spent exploring, both quietly and with great shrieks of delight. The birdhouse? The quiet pleasures of birdwatching, and the noisier joys of watching our own little flock grow from tiny hatchling to fully feathered, right before our eyes. The salt dough ornaments bring memories not only of crafting with my own kids and their friends, but of sitting at my mother’s knee making exactly the same sorts of ornaments when I was a little girl. The embroidery projects I undertake never fail to make me remember long hours spent with my Grandma R, learning to stitch bit by bit. And the Christmas village? The Christmas village is all about the ceramic tree that holds so many memories of Grandma D.
Life is good. Everywhere I turn, I can find reason to give thanks for our many blessings, and I have so many, many blessings to be thankful for.
Like four little stockings hanging from the stairs, waiting for the big man in red to fill them up on Christmas morning. This is the last year for believing, I think, and I am finding it surprisingly bittersweet.
But at this very moment, the thing that is bringing me the most joy of all isn’t even in my house. You see, God decided to decorate the world today.
We’ve got snow!