Tuesday, January 4, 2011

And Down it Came

A good winter day here.  A good winter day with snow showers that only lasted a half hour at best, but still were pretty with fat flakes that floated lazily down.  It didn't last long enough to do more than be a pretty scene looking across the yard, but it made it a cozy day to tackle the Christmas tree.
Taking down the Christmas tree is something I always approach with some very mixed feelings.  Some years I am just tired of Christmas and as soon as New Year's is finished I just want it down.  Many is the year I have watched the Rose Parade while starting to box up ornaments.  The taking down continues with the miriad of Bowl games that occur on this day.  The kid's grandma  started them off in life with a Hallmark Christmas ornament.  After she passed I continued the tradition along with my own obsession with Hallmark ornament collections I can't seem to bypass, year to year.  Every ornament has a box and every year they have to be unboxed and at the end reboxed.  At one time, I enjoyed the unboxing much more than the reboxing, but as the kids have grown up and for the most part left home and left their ornaments with me, I appreciate the taking down much more than I once did.  I take a large cup of coffee, well whitened with a combination of milk and Italian sweet cream and take a few minutes that lengthen into almost an hour to just look at the tree, lit and waiting for daylight to come.  It is still somehow magical as it was to me as a child, when I believed fairies lived in the branches and if I lay underneath long enough I could spot them.  Now the magic, is the ghosts of all those Christmases which somehow flew by and went from a decade to now over three.  Sometimes I just shake my head and wonder where they all went. I marvel at each ornament as I take it down and remember why I bought each one.  The angels I started for Annie and every year could find new and different.  The classic cars and trucks for Korey, and the sporting figures and airplanes for Ryan.  The country animal ornaments I couldn't resist, now added onto with Santas and snowmen.  The garden ornaments and the glitzy mitten of Michigan that has nothing to do with any of my other ornaments but just appeals to me as some part of my personality that is hidden from most of the world.
I wonder as I take them down, if my kids even looked at the tree while they were here.  Did they pick out the ornaments that were theirs?  Did they look for the hidden pickle, a German tradition and my newest pickle picked up on a visit to Annie in Nashville a few years ago.  I think that they probably didn't and wonder if I should have a tree trimming party next year to not only share the job of the tree, but to allow them the chance to remember and talk about themselves in Christmases past.  But I know that the logistics of doing such a thing would be daunting, as most arrive so very close to Christmas.  Then I think that maybe it should be a tearing down party, but also know that will likely never happen as no one wants to take down, and they all have that job in their own homes.  So, I go about the job of boxing up ornaments and remembering, but it is a good remembering and I also get to remember the Christmas trees of my childhood.  Not the ornaments so much though certain things come to mind.  The big Scotch pines we always had, the lighted strings with lightbulbs so large and multi colored, and the silver icicles we always applied last.  I remember the "bubbling lights" on my one grandma's tree and the blue light set my other grandparent's always used.  The ornaments don't stand out, but then we didn't have Hallmark ornaments then and many were just balls and glass ornaments that all too often broke in unpacking.  I do remember the trees though.....
The tree is now bare except for the light strings which I will take down tomorrow.  It still looks pretty but somehow sad as if it knows its time to shine is just about at an end.  Time to put away the ornaments for another year and start the New Year....

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