Monday, January 7, 2013

Twelfth Night

Yesterday was Twelfth Night, the finale to the Twelve Days of Christmas and the day to take down Christmas decorations.  

We didn't need more than an hour or so. We never made a big deal out of decorating and nowadays we do even less. Phil set aside about seven minutes before the start of the Redskins' playoff to take down the two strings of lights on the porch. I removed the artificial garland from the mantle,  the cards from the louvered doors, and the ornaments from the chandelier and the table-top tree. The tree went into the closet with the lights and tinsel still on it. I packed away the ceramic Victorian  house and the figures from the manger set.  I am LAZY. 

The tree holds fewer than two dozen ornaments, but each has a story. We have tiny photos of the two grandsons in their Baby's-First-Christmas ornaments. Other ornaments recall trips to the Outer Banks and Chincoteague, our grandson's passion for fishing, a Sunday School project, lifelong interests (old houses, Japanese culture) and pets we used to have. We have ornaments given to us by friends who've gone on. One of our neighbors was a man born in Japan in 1926. In heavily-accented English, he once confided that, as a teen-ager, he was "preparing to die for Emperor." You hardly know how to reply to something like that. He and his wife had a shaggy mutt named "Whiskers." When he heard that a friend's pet had died, he said to his dog, "Whiska, I'm glad you're still a little boy." So he loved his dog, but he also got a tremendous kick out of Cruella Deville, the fur-loving villain of One Hundred and One Dalmatians.  Years ago, we somehow acquired a tiny plastic statue of Cruella. Every Christmas I remember Tatsuo when I place her beside our snow-covered ceramic house.

The few fragile Christmas tree ornaments that manage to survive Christmas with Kids get passed down from generation to generation. I was surprised to hear our older daughter say, "I'm glad I have at least one of Grandma's ornaments." I know that Phil's mother had two treasured antique ornaments, a teapot and a coffeepot painted with flowers. She gave them to his sister.  The ornament our daughter was talking about is a cheap, shiny red reindeer with a missing hoof.  I don't know where it came from, but I'm pretty sure it didn't come from my mother-in-law. Who really knows? Many a trinket probably owes its origin as a treasured keepsake to faulty memories. 

3 comments:

Golden To Silver Val said...

About 10 years ago I decided to give all of our family ornaments and decorations to my daughter (passing the torch) because she could display them and add to them where her children could enjoy them every day. I decided to only do a small ceramic table-top tree instead of a real tree. She had a break-in and the monsters, upon tearing her storage closet apart looking for valuables, came across the treasured ornaments....from 3 generations. They took particular delight in smashing every single one of them....crushing and grinding them into the carpet. This act hurt more than the jewelry they stole along with the rifle that belonged to great-grandpa because it was so cruel and senseless. I hope Karma has done her job on those poor excuses for humans. In the meantime, our Christmas decoration memories are just that....only memories.

forsythia said...

Val, I am so sorry to read about the thieves who destroyed your family's ornaments. What kind of people do things like that? Why are some people the salt of the earth while others seem to enjoy being mean, nasty, cruel.

Golden To Silver Val said...

I wish I had an answer for why some people get so much enjoyment out of hurting others. I really and truly pity them and can only pray that they will all get paid back for their atrocious actions. They are tortured souls.