Monday, November 17, 2008

Preparing for the Season

My sister, Bonnie, and I are both Christmas People. We love decorating our homes for Christmas and to be quite truthful... have been known to go a bit overboard at times. If Sasha and Storm would have stood for it, they would have been glued and glittered for the Season and had a cute little poinsettia attached right behind their ears but cats don't go in for such gilding as they know they are beautiful as is...

We both enjoyed collecting Christmas decorations over the years, mostly at garage sales and thrift stores. Sometimes paying full price for a special ornament... one or two each year. Always (when funds were available) checking out the After Christmas Clearance Sales. Bonnie was an antiques dealer so she had access to many more lovely vintage items than I did. I like her, anyway.

We share a challenge at this stage of our lives. We have downsized considerably in both homes and the availability of storage. Still, I'd say at least half of a walk-in closet at her place is stuffed with... Christmas. I have shelves in my garage... between the clothes dryer and the deep freeze... also filled with Christmas "stuff" (as well as other seasonal decorations).

Stephanie took her things with her when she married (as we had been collecting her Christmas items for well over twenty years, starting with Mamaw's annual gift of a Christmas ornament in the December of her birth).

I found it easy at first, sending on to Goodwill those decorations that were no longer being used or that I had absolutely no room for in my home. Departing with these items which held no heart strings was quite... liberating. The past couple of years were a little more difficult as I had to get rid of some items I really, really liked.

I knew I needed to finish the process and keep only that which I love. So... I spent this past weekend pulling all the Rubbermaid type boxes off the shelves and going through each item to decide what can still go. I filled only one box worth of "stuff" but that was pretty good, considering I've been doing the same thing now for about five or six years.

There remains plenty of Rubbermaid type boxes and more decorations than I'll probably use. I have a smaller house and less energy to put everything out and then repack it these days. But I'm now left with those things I hold dear. By taking the time this past weekend to rearrange, sort through, and get rid of some items, I know everything now owned has precious meanings.

I have moved the Christmas boxes to a corner of the garage where they await their moment of stardom. On the day after Thanksgiving, the box with the Christmas CDs will come out and the sounds of carols will fill the house. I will pack away all the autumnal and Thanksgiving decorations in their Rubbermaid style containers to be tucked away until next September.

First the snowmen and snowladies come out of the plastic boxes where they have been waiting patiently since last January. My collection started (as with so many who collect) with the gift of one snowman about eighteen years ago. The rest, as they say, is history.

Then I will assemble the artificial tree, a rather pathetic looking Charlie Brown type tree I purchased at Goodwill one year for a few dollars. However, just like the tree in Charlie Brown's Christmas, this one becomes a thing of beauty when hung with the ornaments... not that it can hold as many as I own mind you but it is still quite pretty.

As I place each item on the tree, I will remember the little person who made it... or where we lived when it was purchased... or the long passed loved one who gave it to me as a gift... or the Christmas we first hung it on our tree. For decorating the Christmas tree is a walk down Memory Lane which becomes more bittersweet as each year goes by.

I will place my beloved Christmas decorations on a few designated tables and shelves and gently wrap their usual occupants in paper, placing them away in the Christmas boxes until they are ready to be returned come January. On a day of shining sun and cold temperatures, I will "decorate" the front porch for Christmas.

I will begin my Christmas baking and crafting, not as much as I used to do since I'm giving gifts to far fewer people these days. I will watch beloved Christmas films and television shows and listen to the music of the Season. The only time of the year when the name of Christ is proclaimed over loud speakers in places like Wal Mart. I often wonder if customers ever listen to their message.

October begins my favorite time of the year with the crisp air and cinnamon and pumpkin and all those flavors and sights I love. Then Christopher's birthday (which sometimes falls on Thanksgiving), Thanksgiving, Stephanie's birthday, Mamaw's birthday (even though she is no longer with us in person), Hanukkah, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, into the beginning of the new year.

It is the time of great beauty, starting with the rustic colors of autumn and ending with glitter and lights and all things silver and gold. Very soon after this season, my heart begins its yearning for Spring and warmer weather and sunshine and flowers... but first the lights and the glitter... and the memory of the star above a stable and the most special night in all of history.

Picture: Feathered Friends, Mary Smith: allposters.com

7 comments:

Niki RuralWritings said...

just a lovely post, Brenda.
Blessings to you,
Niki

Anonymous said...

I look forward to your posts each day. I feel the need to celebrate the Christmas season more keenly this year because while so much is uncertain in these days, Christ remains the same, and celebrating his birth is celebrating hope and the certainty of a better day to come. I have already begun decorating by stringing lights on our whiteboard fence, candles in the windows, more lights on the porches (all white!) and greenery on wrought iron posts. We were so tempted to turn them on last evening with the snow swirling about, but we resisted. We look forward to each new "detail" that leads up to Christmas day. Blessings! Cathy

Anonymous said...

Your writing is just beautiful. Thanks for sharing your feelings about this 'most wonderful time of the year'. I too look forward to the spring by the time January comes around! I have a long wait for it here in western PA. May God bless you,
Suzanne

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Last year, I was so exhausted and frazzled that I didn't take out any of the Christmas decorations except for the tree and some artificial poinsettias. This year, praise God, I'm feeling and doing much better so I will love getting the ornaments out again. It will give me the opportunity to sort through the boxes to find my sister's ornaments and save them out for her. I really wish that she'd come help me with the task. Maybe if I invite her for a Christmas organizing tea???

Thanks for a sweet post that gets me thinking!

freddie said...

I DO LOVE CHRISTMAS TIME TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
God bless you
freddie

Mrs. Rabe said...

Christmas is my favorite too! I can't wait to pull everything out and decorate!

Not to make a show place but to bring cheer and beauty to our home during this most special season!

I will be posting soon about our traditions etc....

Deb said...

Hi Brenda ~ I love this post! Preparing for the Season is a highlight of our lives, too. When we focus on the Reason for it all instead of material gain and the frenzy of buying, then we can still have a peaceful and thankful celebration rather than saying "no more Christmas" and not celebrating at all as some families have decided to do. I'll take all the wonderfulness Christmas has to offer!

Please forgive my lack of comments. I'm trying to finally get back into blogging again after three months of caring for my aunt and experiencing her death. I've appreciated all my blog friends' prayers and comments through this season in our lives.