Over the past ten years or so, my parents have been slowly down-sizing their Christmas decorating. They've found a full-size tree is just too much in their condo, and have replaced it with a tabletop tree. While they still deck the halls, it's just become more . . . manageable.
With many boxes of unused and not-seen-in-years holiday decor lurking in their basement, my Mom and Dad decided to KonMari their Christmas decorations -- and I volunteered to assist.
On Saturday, we carefully went through each box of decorations and ornaments, dividing everything into the usual categories: Keep, Pitch, Goodwill. But this time, we also knew that some of the ornaments would be going to my sister and I -- and to our kids. (Those garland beads my Mom is dealing with? Goodwill.)
My Mom and Dad and I had such a great time . . . revisiting Christmases long, long ago as we worked through the boxes. It's hard to part with old holiday decorations and ornaments when they hold so many happy memories -- even when they haven't been unpacked or used for many years. I think it helped my Mom and Dad to know that their most meaningful decorations were going to be welcomed by me and my sister and our children.
Take this angel tree-topper, for example.
My Mom and Dad bought this little angel to top their very first Christmas tree (back in 1956). My Mom remembers that it was very cheap -- and was meant to just get them through until they could afford something nicer. Instead, it topped every full-size tree they ever had -- including all of my childhood Christmas trees - becoming more precious over time. (She's now safely packed away with my Christmas decorations, ready to make an appearance somewhere in my house next December.)
Or these rather ratty-looking ornaments.
The bell . . . was one of a set of (I think) eight. They were plastic and "touchable" -- and my Mom and Dad got them when their toddler (that would be me) noticed (ahem) the ornaments on the tree. As an older child, I remember that we always hung the bells near the bottom of the tree -- for tradition's sake. My sister and I loved to sit under the tree, and spin those bells . . . dreaming of Santa Claus and the wonders of Christmas morning. Now, only two of the original bells remain -- one for me, and one for my sister.
The foil ball . . . was one of a set of four - red, green, silver, and blue. I actually remember when my Mom bought them from Junior Achievement students selling them door-to-door. I was in early elementary school, and I thought they looked like satellites! So cool. Again, just two remain. One for me (red), and one for my sister (silver).
And, speaking of satellites . . .
My Mom and I made these "satellite" ornaments from kits when I was in about 4th or 5th grade. Based on the precision of these bead-and-sequin beauties, I'm betting my Mom had me load up the pins, and she handled the placement. (She was a very patient Mother.)
And more sequins . . .
We had several ornaments of this type on the Christmas trees of my childhood. My Mom made several beautiful - and personalized - ornaments of styrofoam with rick-rack, sequins and special beads. She let me help (I was probably in 2nd-3rd grade). This is one of my creations. Mine were much more . . . random . . . than my Mom's. Here's were perfectly precise. My sister was just young enough to not really be interested - or able - to join us in creating these ornaments. She would've been in kindergarten at the time. But she has fond memories of these special ornaments on our trees.
Speaking of sequins . . . this ornament is part of my family's Christmas Lore. . .
MC. (For Merry Christmas, of course.) Yep. I created this one. I hung it proudly on the tree -- right in front! -- the year I made it. But. After that, it was always shoved to the back. But only after a lot of laughing and good natured hilarity. MC. I'm so glad it survived!
We painted ornaments, too.
Sometimes (well . . . most times), my sister and I started strong. But lost our focus toward the end!
My parents and I had a great time, sorting through the ornament boxes and sharing our memories of those long-ago Christmases. And my own Christmas tree? Well, it will be bursting with some "new" ornaments next year!