After 32 years, we moved and it re-energized our Christmas decorating efforts.
By year 30, we were certainly familiar with where all of the holiday memorabilia went in our old digs. As a matter of fact. the last couple of years were sort of a burden. “Oh, yeah, got to move the furniture, haul up those boxes, set things around, only to take it all down a month later.” Not this year, though.
The boxes came upstairs with an air of anticipation. Where should we put things? Treasured items were unearthed one by one and Joe and I literally sprang around from place to place making brand new decisions. Everything looked pretty darned good in new locations. We did discover that some of the hanging items were no longer feasible. Our previous house had all sorts of hidden hooks and nails just waiting for their yearly decorations, but this is a new house and who wants to defile it with a bunch of holes in the wall? My beloved Christmas moose, who actually sings, was packed away and hopefully by next year we will be ready to smack those nails into place.
Joe’s annoying Christmas bell that played off-key Christmas tunes had taken the plunge last year when it fell off its hook and shattered. It was almost as if it anticipated the move and went into self-destruct mode. So at least we are spared that hideous sound this year. Joe, however, is very sad.
Another item that went back into the box was a candle holder. I had proudly displayed it every year, loving that one of our daughters, though I couldn’t remember which one, had made it at school. Last year during our time together, Becca picked it up and said, “What’s this anyway? You always have it out.” “Why, you made it in school,” I replied. “No I didn’t,” was her response as she turned her nose up, repudiating the fact that I had assigned it to her. “Neither did I,” Mary Ana piped up. I had been putting it out for about 20 years but only then did I turn it over to see the signature and it was neither of theirs. Into the box it went. I can’t bear to throw out something made by one of our nieces back in Pennsylvania, but I no longer feel the need to put it on display.
One constant, however, is the beautiful handmade card given to me by a very special student. It always went on the top right hand corner of our mantle and there it sits in our new house as well, a treasured memory of what it really means to be a teacher.
For most of our married life we had been a real tree household. The girls and I invariably chose the biggest, fattest tree, usually shaped like a huge Hersey’s Kiss. That typically led to us not being able to get it through the door without lots of tries and lots of trimming of branches alongside lots of “language.”
Finally, two years ago we gave in and bought an artificial tree. It’s huge. It’s also heavy. Now, one of the advantages of moving to a house that is mainly on one floor is not having to haul a lot of stuff up and down stairs. We do have a basement, part of which has a beautifully finished room, so we decided to put the tree there. That, of course, meant that we had no tree upstairs, so we had to go buy another one. It’s only four feet tall, so not the usual behemoth and I think it can be tucked away in one of the bedroom closets. Nonetheless, we now own two trees.
We have many, many special ornaments as we, along with good friends dating back to college days, have a Christmas tradition of trading ornaments. One huge advantage of our second tree is that we can now find suitable branches for all of our collection.
Joe had to modify his outdoor decorations as our porch is smaller and so is our deck. To our great relief, we did not have to consult with the architecture committee here at Morningside prior to decorating, though, so we happily adapted to that change.
Anyway, things are up. The house looks festive. We are happy and hope you are as well, whether your decorations are in familiar places or new places I hope that they carry happy memories from across the years. (Even that annoying bell memory brings a smile to my face!)
Pat Gorske Price graduated from Oberlin High School and taught English and drama there for 12 years. In retirement she continues to enjoy writing and theater. Comments can be made to email@example.com.
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