Everything But Books
Fun and more fun, but none of it relating to books (because I have another page for that)

December 18, 2012

Decorate with memories

I’ve always loved Christmas. The very first one I remember was spent on Okinawa, where we lived for the first three years of my life. I’m an only child and usually had my own Jennifer-sized Christmas tree, which was hung with ornaments I could play with and handle.

There was the manger scene, or Creche, as we call it, my parents bought in Japan, the inflatable Santa, the little white tree that belonged to my grandmama, the pink rocking horse that I once tried to eat because it looked like candy. And the angel, also found on Okinawa, that has topped our tree since my first Christmas.

Over the years, some things have gotten lost, but I still have a good many. Each one has a story. I think of them as tangible childhood memories. Holding them brings flashes of this holiday or that one, a jumble of years and places and people, but always of love and family and home.

Here are some of the most beloved:

The pink rocking horse, which is bald in places because I sat under the Christmas tree one year and tried to eat it.

Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, an ornament my mother gave me years ago because long after I stopped believing in Santa (I told my mother I’d always found the idea of a single man delivering toys on a single night improbable), I still believed in a giant rabbit who delivers candy.

The stained glass angel (as I always thought of her), who lived in the window of my bedroom until each December.

The little mouse in the rocking chair who, once upon a time, held a book in his lap. The book is gone, but the mouse is still with us, and each Christmas I find just the right corner of tree house for him.

Raggedy Ann and Andy, who, year after year, have gotten more and more X-rated. You never know what position they’ll be in when you pull them out of the ornament box. One year, my mother found a half dozen tiny Raggedy Anns and Andys and put them in a similar plastic globe– the result of the original Ann and Andy’s torrid love affair.

My dad’s childhood Santa ornament, which always hangs on the highest branches of the tree.

And, just above him, the Okinawan angel, who is, and always has been (for my entire life) our tree topper.

The members of the Creche, which have also been with me for each Christmas of my life. This year, I set them in the living room bar instead of the manger. (Which, when I write it out like that, sounds almost alarmingly unholy!)

My grandmama Eleanor’s white Christmas tree, which she kept in her room, the lights glowing at night so she could look at them. My grandmother was a strong, brilliant, feisty woman. She was highly educated and she spoke her mind. But she also possessed the most magical sense of wonder and fun. She marveled at that tree. I have it in my bedroom now where I can marvel at it too.

Do you all have any holiday favorites to share?

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