Yesterday finally inspired me to decorate, schlepping down to the basement for the tubs of stuff, hefting them up the stairs, then deciding which precious things would be displayed in our little home this year. With such a tiny place it starts feeling cramped and overdone so quickly… I found myself weighing out the memories and traditions associated with each item before placing it, trying to set an emotional value on each one so its fate could be decided.
The mini Abominable Snowman (from the Rudolph special of the 60’s) that has topped our tree each year since Jeff and I got married.
The nest. You can’t see it in the picture, but nestled into the branches down to the left is a tiny bird’s nest with a small red feathered creature. I don’t know where this comes from – my Italian heritage that always seems to have odd customs, or just something begun by a great grandma somewhere – but a Christmas tree simply has to have a nest hidden in it.
Stockings. All three of us have matching ones, made by my mom.
The walnut ornament, painted to look like a strawberry. I remember sitting with my mom, fitting the two halves of the nut back together and gluing them, then painting away. Momma must have made this one – mine were mostly muddles of glitter and mixed up paint.
A warped Santa cookie ornament hanging on frayed red yarn, made by my preschool self.
The ball ornaments from when I was born. One is a 1977 Peanuts delight, the other a red ball with BETH written out in silver glitter. Apparently my parents intended to call me Beth when they named me; as soon as I was able to speak I said, “My name’s not Beth, it’s Elizabeth.”
Icicles. There are a small few in my possession, but these shimmering plastic dainties (shaved off my mom’s collection) are dear to my heart.
Snowflake ornaments, which I hung from the garland over the windows. On September 11th 2001 I was on a flight from Baltimore to Detroit, en route to Los Angeles. We were stranded in Detroit for four days and two marvelous women befriended me – we stayed in hotels and airport terminals together, sans luggage, washing our underwear in sinks each night and using the small toiletry bags the airlines gave us to keep ourselves feeling somewhat normal. One of these gifts of a woman was from Buffalo, New York, and she sent me pressed pansies, for remembrance, each year in early September and these handmade snowflakes for Christmas since, as she said, I would never see the real thing in California.
I’m wishing I had some pansies, for all this remembrance.