Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas is over, Jack!

It's that time of year....between Christmas and New Year's.  Life is a frenzy for us until the 25th, and then there's that big letdown when it's all over.  We're not "party people" so we're looking forward to a quiet New Year's Eve in front of the television watching the ball drop.  On New Year's Day, we'll watch the parades on television while we pack up our decorations and put them away until next year.

I am still struggling with my quest to declutter.   So this year, I will also consider letting go of some of our decorations.  Although, I doubt that will happen.

A few years ago, we bought a smaller tree.  We gave away our big artificial tree and replaced it with a more reasonable size.  The one thing I failed to consider when we bought the small tree was that all of my beloved ornaments would not fit on that little tree.  I underestimated how much I loved decorating that large tree.  So that change didn't last.  We have returned to a large tree again,  and I think it was most beautiful tree we have ever had this year.

As I decorate my tree each year, I relive memories of the past represented by each ornament.  Some were given to me by friends or students I taught.  Sometime in years past, I started writing names on ornaments that were gifts.  As I hang each of them on the tree, I visualize the gift givers.  Many of them are still close friends

"An apple for my teacher" ornaments, a sand dollar inscribed "for a special teacher," and "Merry Christmas, teacher"..... I remember the faces of my students as they handed me their gifts.  There is nothing more precious than those little ones who bring their love to their teacher.  Many of these students are now my friends on Facebook all these years later.

Some ornaments were gifts from friends.  Some were handmade like the smocked ornaments made by my sister-in-law.  Some are store bought.  Some are from faraway places.  My friend, Laurie, who knew my love for Key West gave me an ornament from  paradise.  My daughter, Betsey, gave me an ornament years ago from my church, First Baptist Church in Charleston, S. C.

I have ornaments my children made, a baked and painted pink angel Chris made when he was only 3 years old.  I can't believe that one has survived so long....and the felt star Betsey made in kindergarten with a photo glued on... Betsey in the snow.  Then there's the Medieval sword Chris made when he was in Boy Scouts.

But then there are the really special ornaments.  The ones that embody our family history,  the dwarfs that are falling apart now because they are from our very first Christmas together in 1967,

the Christmas mice with Chris' and Betsey's names cross-stitched across the front (Betsey never misses an opportunity to tell me that her name was misspelled).  Roger's mother bought these for them when Chris was 6 and Betsey was 3.

Then there's the ornament my thoughtful neighbor gave me when Jack and Emma were born.... two peas in a pod.... so cute....

the ornament from my childhood, a tin Santa with the paint chipped away,

and the one from Roger's childhood, one of the three wise men....also painted tin.

And sadly, this is the year we lost our sweet Kitty Boy.  We will always keep the ornament that poked fun at his generous girth.....

So, it's over until next year.  Time to pack up and put things away.  Very little decluttering will take place this year where decorations are concerned.  

Jack is only 3, but he feels that let down feeling and said to Betsey, "Mommy, Why did you take the balls off the tree?"  Emma, his twin, is quite practical in her response.  "Because, Jack, Christmas is over."

R. I. P. Kitty Boy, 2000-2014.

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