Warning: the following blog is 100% self indulgent. Read at your own risk.
One of my idiosyncrasies, of which I am so frequently reminded I have many, is my overwhelming need to enter the new year with our home returned to its normal state, all Christmas decorations down.
But the twelve days of Christmas are not over until January 5th, you argue. I know! I know! Perhaps it is my desire to enter the new year with a blank slate. More likely, it is my feeling that with Boxing Day passed, the Christmas season for me is over. Christopher and Kristen have journeyed to London. Morgan and Zachary, Matt and Michelle are busy with Christmas break activities. Christmas music no longer plays on our air waves. We have no more entertaining planned. Why not move on?
Dismantling our Christmas decorations, though, has never once led to the blues. As I return everything to bins to be stored in our garage loft, I reminisce about the great memories created this year and warm myself with memories of years passed.
HGTV will never cover this Lockett family Christmas tree. Such a vision is actually too amusing for words. No fancy ribbons, no matching designer decorations, no colour scheme, our natural, needle-dropping spruce is bedecked in a mishmash of decorations from years past and my more recent Pier 1 acquisitions. Ironically, as I pack our ornaments away, it is not the flashy Pier 1 glass balls that garner my attention. Rather it is the "mishmash" that floods me with nostalgia. Children, grandchildren, decorations handed down from our parents, gifts from family and friends, all warm my thoughts.
Even the long-empty, beaten-up bottle of Henkell Trocken which Jim has used for over twenty years to water our tree makes me smile. This would have originally contained the bubbly, supplied by Richard and Meredith, for one of our annual Christmas tree cutting brunches.
Children and Christmas; it doesn't get better. From December 1st on, anticipation ran at a fever pitch. Christopher and Matthew would count down the days using an adorable advent calendar gifted to us by friends, Jane and Brian. With our grown children having flown the coop, I frankly admit that Jim and I now move the counter forward every morning. Such sentiment! Rolling up this Santa calendar for storage, the increased excitement as the counter moved closer to the 25th remains palpable.
No one loved Christmas more than my Mother. Holiday baking - over fifteen different varieties of cookies! House decorations - over the top! Christmas candles, in particular, remind me of my Mom. She made her own and our childhood home glittered and flickered with her artistic creations throughout the holiday season. Unlike Mom, I am terrified of hot wax. Another idiosyncrasy? Thus no reprise of her candle making expertise will be forthcoming. When my Mother passed away, in her honour, I purchased an array of electric candles for our mantle. I cannot open them when decorating or store them away until the following year without fondly remembering my Mom at Christmas. Her warm Christmas glow lives on. The same set of dining room candle holders have graced our table for so many years that I have lost count. How many boisterous, joyous Christmas dinners have they witnessed? I wonder.
Christmas boughs decorated the banisters in our Thornhill home. I clearly remember purchasing them at Cullen Country Barns in Markham in 1987. ( Remember Cullen Country Barns now torn down and replaced by the gigantic Pacific Mall? Ugh! ) To this day, I have found no boughs as thick and realistic as these. Denim poinsettias reflecting our country kitchen have now replaced the more formal velvet bows of Shady Lane, but these boughs, although now somewhat ragged and showing their age, are part of the fabric of our Christmases. Memories are made of this.
A half day will be required to dismantle our miniature Dicken's Village. What began as a gift ( The Counting House ) from my sister and her husband, and ...
... from my brother ( The Horse and Carriage ), has ...
... grown over the years, thanks to the largess of Matthew and Michelle, to this:
I am sure that friends question our sanity when thinking about the time spent erecting and then dismantling our little village. The wonder on Morgan and Zachary's faces makes it well worth the effort. To say that Jim and I enjoy our mini megalopolis all aglow in the evening and reflecting Jim's favourite novel, A Christmas Carol, is to make an understatement.
Today I dismantled our tree. I have to wonder if, after Durham has finished with it, it will be somewhere in the over fifteen bags of mulch I will disperse on our gardens this spring. I like to think so. Tomorrow, Jim and I will lovingly store away our Dicken's village in boxes indicating the date on which we were gifted with each piece. By the time we head out for New Year's Eve dinner, all traces of Christmas 2014 will be carefully stored away. I sincerely hope that your Christmas season, like ours, was full of memories that will last a long time.