Friday, January 9, 2009


I took down my Christmas tree and all the decorations the other day. It is always a little melancholy to put it all away. My decorations all have meaning to me. I don't buy or save them just to have decorations. Some I inherited from my maternal grandmother, some my mom made, some I made, some were gifts from friends. A lot are part of my Sylvester and Tweety collection or other pieces I have just seen in stores and craft sales and thought would compliment my decor. I've even kept ones that are broken or damaged in hopes that someday, I'll find a way to get them repaired.

Several years ago, I did give away a lot of my larger ornaments and pieces that I just didn't feel a connection to, It wasn't easy. Actually, I had put those decorations in a separate box a few years earlier with the intention of giving them away but I just wasn't ready to part with them. When I did finally go through the box again, I'd forgotten about a lot of them. Some I didn't even remember owning! I took out a few and saved them, but I was ready to part with the others. It felt good to give them to others that would appreciate them.

The whole process of undecorating can be a challenge in itself. You usually end up missing at least one or two things and only find them after you've put all the boxes back in the cupboard!

When I was growing up, we would decorate several rooms. The living room had the most, as that was where the tree was, but there were decorations in the dining room, kitchen, hallway, doorways and even a little something on the bathroom mirror! It wasn't overdone, it was just a big house and we did a lot of entertaining. The decorating process took mom a day or so as she wanted to find just the right place for everything. Dad would help with the tree (especially when we used a real one) and some of the other stuff, but it was usually mom and whichever of us kids were around to help. It was fun opening all the boxes and seeing all the treasures and figuring out where to put them each year. Some things always went in the same places, but some also got moved around to different places and rooms. If the tree was full, we'd hang stuff on lamps, curtain rods, door knobs - where ever there was somewhere unique to put it!

It didn't get any better after we remodeled the house in the late 1960's. The living room/dining room was one large open area (20'x26') and the kitchen was later expanded to include a large sun room (combined about 30'x13'). That is a lot of common space to decorate, so it was only natural that at least one or two items didn't make it back into the boxes every January!

We'd inspect every branch of the tree, then walk around the rooms, looking at all the lights, shelves, knobs, rods and still manage to miss something. It was a treasure hunt version of "I spy with my little eye..."! It was always a running joke in our home that as we walked around looking, mom would say things like: "Is that everything? Did we miss anything?" "Okay if there are any more decorations still out - speak up - NOW!" Silence. "Nobody?" "Last chance!" "These boxes are going in the cupboard and they aren't coming out till next Christmas!"

When a decoration would inevitably be found a few days later, mom would chide it for not speaking up when it had the chance! Then she'd pull out the stool and open a top cupboard and stick the ornament in a box or in a bag on the shelf.

Well, I guess the apple didn't fall far from the tree, as I usually miss at least one decoration as I put things away for the next Christmas. My whole apartment is just under 500 sq.ft. so I blame my lack of sight for missing anything.

I think I got everything this year, but time will tell. If I did miss anything, then they should have spoken up when I asked if everything was in the box.


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