Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Crackin’ Open a Can of Christmas

december 001 The sun hadn’t even set on Thanksgiving Day and my “so-called friends” were posting pictures of their Christmas trees on Facebook, making me feel like a slacker.

Then, I went and hurt myself, somehow, and was incapacitated for a day and a half, in a house freshly cleaned from top to bottom in preparation for decorations.

Then, BigGirl woke up with a raging 104.4 fever, and another day was sidetracked.

Gosh darn it, I became hell-bent on putting out some flippin’ red and green already!!! In a typical neurotic fit, I began unloading the Rubbermaid tubs in the garage patiently awaiting my attention. One by one, we smiled at the pillows and cutsies and greeted them like old friends who’d come to visit. “Awww, I remember that…” BigGirl would say.

“Mommy, it’s not Christmas yet. I don’t want you to make dat,” BabyGirl chimed in.

As I, once again, found homes, some new and some the same, for all these familiar faces, I realized how many stories I pull out of the attic every year. (Well, more accurately, FireDaddy pulls them out of the attic…I pull them out of the tubs.)

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Like the “crystal” candy dish my little old next door neighbor gave to us the year we were married, Mrs. Russell. I can see her face and remember the worry we had for her when she was hospitalized for a month or so. I remember her purple God awful reflecting ball she kept in her little courtyard by her front door, and her excitement as she called us over to look at her century plant in bloom. I never would have chosen this for myself, but it reminds me of friendship.

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I have this crazy, random blue metal basket with Santa on it. Every year I pull it out and wonder exactly what I will do with it and where I will put it. But I don’t have the heart to give it away. It was given to me by a sweet, sweet friend I taught with in a past life. She was as country as country gets. And she would give you the shirt off her back, and the diesel dually she rode in on. The basket was filled with sausage (from their own pigs, I believe), corn bread, and bean soup mix. I miss her.

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There’s the toy soldier my mother made, in her toll painting days. He’s so handsome. I have a thing for toy soldiers, I think. You know, being a man in uniform and all. I remember sitting in our kitchen watching her paint these december 007projects. I was impressed with how easy she made it look, and how cool it was that water worked like an eraser when used correctly. I was thrilled when she said I could have it – for the girls, of course.

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I love my green table runner with little red birds appliquéd on it. It’s cheery and looks semi-homemade. (Sometimes illusions are a good thing.) I love all the fabrics that come out of my tubs. Pillows, dolls, animals, stockings, napkins, runners, and more. Fabric has such a warming, inviting effect on a room. And what house doesn’t need a little more warmth in it for the holidays?

I love my basket of Christmas books, a second generation tradition. Since my decembergirlies were so small when I started collecting, we have board books and everything beyond. As they mature and grow, so will this special collection. And, I’ll save the board books for friends’ babies and cousins and nieces and nephews and, one day, grandbabies. I love that it was the first item I pulled out of the garage. I presented it to BigGirl like her first gift of the season – and she received it as such. Both girlies immediately plunged into the basket of treasures, promptly browsing one after another after another. Quietly. Enjoying.

All of these stories and memories and thoughts fumble and bumble around my head like blind little mice. And we haven’t even touched the five (or more) tubs of ornaments yet. That’s another post entirely…

I love Christmas. I love that, like many things, no two are exactly alike. I love that with every little tchotchke I put out every year, I am surrounding myself with memories and faces. I love that decorating your home for Christmas each year is an act of creating. Creating memories. Creating a mood. Creating a backdrop for time spent with people you love.

Christmas is coming. Just you wait.


Psst! Did you hear? Barking Mad is having a Crazy Christmas Giveaway! A $300 TARGET GIFT CARD!!! You know how I feel about Target, y'all...Anyhow, here's her link and all that jazz - go check it out!


  1. Your table runner is the bomb. Love red cardinals at Christmas...they just fit the bill. This year, we went for a live tree again after 4 years of a fake piece of doo doo that sheds as many needles as the real thing but smells like petroleum products. Enjoy the decorating!

  2. You know, it's funny. I really haven't bought very many of my own Christmas decorations. So, lots of them aren't really my first choice. But, with the memories behind them, I can't really get rid of them. (Why FireDaddy says I'm a pack rat, I guess. I call it sentimental.) The table runner is one of the few purchases I've made for myself as Christmas deco goes. :) Good luck with your tree!

  3. I love this post. There are so many stories behind the things we cherish, and it's rare that we tell them. I'm going to make a point to do that during my December Dailies. Thanks for the inspiration!
    PS. I LOVE the basket of holiday books and how your daughters delight in them.

  4. You totally had to google tchotchke for spelling. SAY IT!

    I love you!

  5. Love the Christmas book basket. Very neat idea I might need to copy!

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