Thursday, December 18, 2014

On Holiday Decorations

Make you house fair as you are able,
Trim the hearth and set the table!
People look East, and sing today.
Love, the Lord, is on the way!
-- Traditional English Carol

For me, few things reflect the joy of the Christmas Season like the decorations and the traditions behind them. Each year, I am reminded that, if such a thing is possible, we have far too many ornaments for our house and modest tree. I am also reminded that we no longer have children at home to help put them up or take them down, or to play with delight under the tree on Christmas morning. 

Several years ago, we went from a floor-standing to a table tree. There have even been times like last year that we didn't drag them out and put them up. Last year was one such year.

This year is different. This year the decorations are out and in their appointed places. Opening the crates and boxes, taking out and placing the various objects was like greeting an old friend.

The creche, lovingly molded and painted by my mother in law, has been lovingly unpacked and set in a position of honor in the living room. She gave it to us so our children would have a nativity set.

Santa Claus in his dirigible has assumed his place of honor on the tree, as he has every year since my Dad was a boy. In his jaunty red hat and robe, carrying a fresh Christmas tree, this particular Santa has amused more than three generations. Over time, his robe has lost some of its luster and the dirigible has faded from white to tattle-tale grey, but he shows up every year to grace us with his unique Christmas presence. Hopefully, he will continue to do so for at least a hundred years more.

And so it is with other decorations -- the glass peach, complete with fuzz, from my mother's tree, balls from my wife's girlhood trees, objects from our children' childhood. Each carries its own treasured memories of good times with family. 

How do you decorate for Christmas?

Which decorations trigger pleasant memories for you?

What are your Christmas traditions?