Christmas lingers, or rather the memory of Christmases past. And tomorrow I celebrate (?) my last birthday in my 40s.
On Sunday I started to pack away the Christmas decorations. If I have anything I could call a collection, it would be my decorations. Never mind that most were made in China (I always wonder what Chinese people think of these odd red and green things they make to sell to westerners). The decorations, particularly for the tree, have been collected since my early 20s. I have a hot air balloon (something I wanted to go up in at one point in my life) that was attached to a long-ago present. A china bell. Various angels. And Santas. Betty Boop on a motorcycle. A pink bicycle. A red train. A blue tractor. Wooden houses bought in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I had a thing for houses when I lived in apartments. An old-fashioned telephone. A lute. A wagon. A picture of me in my 20s that was an ornament on a staff Christmas tree one year. That one gets moved around the tree every year by my children. A crystal Christmas tree. A bird. Many salt dough and felt decorations made for a PTA fund raiser. A sheep's head made by one of my children in nursery. Fragile baubles from the '50s given to me by my mother-in-law. King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I. A lighthouse with a wreath on it. Peter Pan and Tinker Bell, courtesy of Disney World. Winnie the Pooh and Goofy as well.
All of these decorations have a story about where they come from. No matter their provenance, each is treated with the same care and concern. This is why I didn't moan too much when no one offered to help me put things away.
They all were there when the tree came down and the decorations came out. I always play Christmas music as we decorate the tree. Hubby and I usually argue about the Christmas lights (is there anyone out there who doesn't argue with their spouse over the Christmas lights?). This year, though, we broke with tradition and allowed the kids to put up the lights and let them have the argument. Daughter lost all interest in the tree and Christmas after a couple of hours. She barely went in the room with the tree again after we decorated it. This is a far cry from when she was little. One Christmas Eve I shook carpet freshener on the carpet from the fireplace to the tree and had my husband step in it to leave "Santa's footprints." I feigned displeasure the next morning at having to clean up after Santa. Every year we leave a carrot for the reindeer and a mince pie and glass of wine for Santa. Every year Santa thanks us for these gifts, using his best left-handed writing.
This year I felt a bit melancholy packing away Christmas. How many more years before the kids don't come home at Christmas time, before my daughter demands "her" decorations for her tree, before hubby and I decide it's too much trouble to decorate the house for Christmas? I am on the precipice of 50; my life as I know it will probably change greatly this year as we move forward in our plan to buy a business. We have to really because hubby isn't going to get a job in financial services again anytime soon.
How many more years will those decorations last before they break and crumble?