Friday, November 18, 2011

Vintage Christmas

One of the boxes of stuff mom had us go through when I visited contained these boxes of ornaments and a garland. It was like my childhood Christmases flashed instantly before my eyes. My sister and niece did not want this stuff so I had to take it. Now, I need more ornaments like I need 2 more noses, but this is history, my history, our history.

We went to a tree farm the first or second week in December. I remember bitterly cold Saturdays where we'd pile onto the back of a wagon and get pulled through a foot of snow to the acreage where people would cut their own tree. Dad brought the saw and we would spend a good hour examining every single tree, even those out of our price range or too small or too large. Eventually, a consensus was reached. Dad would cut the tree down and we'd drag it to the wagon to be hauled back to the farm. Once paid for, Dad and Mom would wrap it in old blankets and tie it to the top of the van to haul home. It would sit on the porch for a day, getting used to being inside. On Sunday evening, with Ed Sullivan in the background, it would be moved to the living room and we would all decorate it. The ornaments and garland you see above spent many, many Christmases on our family tree.

What am I, realistically, going to do with these? On Wednesday, I received a small box in the mail. Upon opening it, I discovered my 2011 Campbell Soup commemorative ornament. I don't need this either but I have a complete set dating back to 1980. I figure I need a tree about 9 feet tall at this point, to handle everything.

Yet, that's not really the point. The ornaments are treasures to me. I don't really actively collect anything anymore other than the Campbell Soup ornaments. When I pull them out of the boxes and hang them on the tree, each one contains a memory of the year stamped on the front. Some years weren't as pleasant as others, but they are treasures nonetheless.

And the vintage ornaments, well, I remember sitting in the glow of the lighted tree. I remember coming home on Christmas Eve from church when it was -30, clear as a bell with feet of snow piled all around, looking up at star speckled sky and wondering if I could see Santa from this little spot of Iowa. We used to leave the Christmas lights on from Christmas Eve through New Year's Eve when Carole was little. Waking up at 2 am and seeing the reflected glow of the tree brought peace and comfort, even if the Christmas wasn't very happy.

There is no way I can bring the tree up from the basement this year. First of all, the container it's in is too heavy for me to lug, this year. Secondly, if I decide just to carry all the pieces up, that means I'm going up and down the stairs way more than I should, with my bad knees. What I'd really like is a small tree, oh maybe 3 feet tall, that I could plop on the table in the living room and decorate. Cat proof? HA! With a small tree, ornaments wouldn't have far to fall and the year I actually set up the tree, they left it alone. Pilchard thought it was way cool to hide behind the tree and then jump out at Mija. I honestly don't see them playing pool with my ornaments. I see them lying beneath it. A small fake tree of that size would be perfect for me, right now, but there's no way I can afford one.

I'm thinking I might get the garlands out and drape them over the curtain rods this year, just a little something extra for Christmas. Otherwise, these will go with the rest of my ornaments, in a Rubbermaid container, carefully labeled.There might be some good or decent money to be made in selling these. There is quite the market for vintage now. I couldn't do that, however. It would be like selling pieces of myself.

Beverage:  Earl Grey tea


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