Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Beaded Ornaments and Bubble Lights

Traditions. Everyone has a few.  And during the holiday season, perhaps more than any other time of year, we relive our childhood by sharing traditions with our families, as well as making our own.

Some of my favorite holiday memories growing up included baking, decorating and lots and lots of Christmas music. Decorating the Christmas tree has got to be one of my single most cherished memories. We always got a real tree- and not from a tree lot either. Oh no- my parents packed the family up, packed a lunch and drove to the mountains and cut down a tree.

I remember literally vibrating with anticipation- waiting for the tree to be put up. Giggling quietly with my mom listening to my dad untangle the lights.  My sister and I helping to get the boxes and boxes of handmade ornaments out, dimly hearing her voice giving instructions on placement of said ornaments. I had my favorites that I insisted on putting on the tree- and the fact that it irritated the hell out of my older sister was just a bonus.

Not enough!
The hot chocolate would be made for us kids, the hot toddy's for the adults, Christmas music cranked up-  it was a wonderful time. Until it got to the tinsel part- and that was always a battle between my mom and I - I loved to just THROW the stuff everywhere... my mom was a "draper" each strand had to be just right. (I have since abandoned the tinsel tradition- when I realized what a damn mess it was to clean!)

Like this- but more ornate

Many years have passed. My mom passed away 10 years ago. I have developed many traditions with my own family, as well as incorporating from mine and my husband's. The tree is still quite possibly my favorite. I have a ton of ornaments, but the ones I really miss are the beautiful handmade ones that always adorned the Christmas trees of my childhood. Some of you may remember- giant Styrofoam balls- with long, decorative stick pins and a ton of beads?  The heavy salt dough reindeer, some painted, some au natural.  The stained glass ornaments. Each one with a story, each one precious.

Remember the bubbling Christmas lights? They are making a comeback now- but when I was growing up- they were so unique and cool... I remember my dad making sure they were all upright so they would bubble right!

Well- I don't have One. Single. Ornament. NOT ONE. When we lost mom- my freeloading sister and her family swooped in and moved into my childhood home. My dad eventually met someone and moved on, and out. But my sister got the house for NOTHING and everything in it. I have never seen one of my mom's ornaments, never been offered any of them- I mean- with only 2 of us we could have split them up, right? Not to sound all vulture-like- because, honestly, I didn't even think about this until mom had been gone for 5 years- and only then because my grandma asked me if I ever got any of them.

I have precious few tangible objects that belonged to my mom. I wish I did. The family fell apart after she died- and  an already strained relationship with my sister turned hostile, and is now non-existent.

At Christmas time- I miss those things...A LOT.  The ornaments, the lights, the  hand made ceramic Christmas  decorations all through the house. Silly, I mean, they are only things. I DO  have the exquisite hand made counted cross stitch stockings that she and my Grandma made. And believe me- they are one of a kind and something I am insanely proud of. But I would really, Really, REALLY  like to have just a few of the ornaments and decorations. She can have the bulk of them- I would just like a few of my favorites- and my school made ornaments. If they are even still around.

So I will bake the cookies, and share stories with my kids about their Nana.  I am certain that she is all around me all the time and is proud of me and my little family. Maybe someday I will get the ornaments- probably in time for Teenzilla to be grown and starting her own Christmas traditions.