I’m not quite ready to talk about Thanksgiving with the family yet, but today we decorated the living room for Christmas and that was definitely a bright spot.
Ever since my first Christmas, my mom and grandma have bought me yearly ornaments, each labeled with the year of purchase. I still have every single one, and one of my most coveted traditions involves taking them all out of the box with care, noting which year each came from, and spreading them out so that it’s easy to pick when it’s time to put them on the tree. Sadly, there is a ziploc full of very early ornaments – like the ice skater in blue, the girl with yarn hair perched on a swing, or the little toy soldier drumming – that need small repairs. One day I will give them the attention they deserve, so they can find a spot on the tree.
Some of the ornaments are handmade, like the nativity scene painted by my great-grandmother Grace or the crossstitch mittens with the names of each of my pets from my mom. Many of them are from the craft fairs that pop up all over southwest Missouri each fall. The fairs have names like “Apple Butter Makin’ Days,” and for a good portion of my childhood my mom, grandma and I would hit as many of them as we could. In those days I got to pick out my ornaments, which is why I have so many bears and clowns. (My grandfather was a clown with the Shriners, so while other children may fear them, I have a soft spot.) When I moved away from home, the ornaments were mailed in boxes, like the Raggedy Ann and Andy, both riding on gingham stars.
It meant a lot to me that this year I got to share each ornament and its origins with Claire. She was particularly taken with all the angels, and chose the very earliest ornament to place first. Next, she put up a jester on a stick, jingle bells on his hat. Together, we got the job done.