My nephew and his family, the usual hosts for our family Christmas, will be winging their way to Europe this year and my niece who is always there with us is also going out of town. Since the death of my husband I have done very little decorating since all the festivities happen in the kids’ homes but this year an early Christmas dinner and gifts for the children will be in my home. So I pulled out some of the boxes containing Christmas past.
The crèche (navitity) my grandmother gave me over the course of several years was always the first thing to go up and this year is no exception. As I gently unwrap each piece the memories of how she gave me the lovelytableau flood my mind. I received Mary, Joseph and the baby the Christmas I was six and for every ‘giftable’ holiday after (birthdays, Christmas even tucked in my Easter basket), I received another figurine until the set was complete and consisted of the three original pieces, three wise men, three shepherds, three sheep, a ram, a cow, a donkey and an angel and I made a stable. Amo (my grandmother) died twenty-five years ago but every Christmas her memory fills my heart every time I look at the display.
The Swedish angel chimes my mother gave me for my first Christmas in my first apartment sit on the antique gate leg table. The gentle chimes as the angels turn from the heat of the four candles below remind me that my mother’s supportive love allowed me to venture out into the world with the strength and confidence she instilled in me.
|Sally Smith O'Rourke|
My tree (I particularly like Noble and Fraser Fir) will have ornaments that have special meaning for me as well. Several were handmade by my sister. Leslyn loved to do petit point, needlepoint and counted cross stitch so I will cherish the memories each lovely ornament inspires. One was to commemorate my graduation from nursing school; my marriage; one the birth of my grandson; so many memories hanging from the evergreen branches.
The animatronic Tiny Tim that stands on my hearth and the Christmas train that circles the base of the tree were all decorations Mike and I collected together, we’d sit and watch them in the light of the fire and the lights on the tree reflected in the glass balls and icicles. We had an open house every year to ring in the season; people used to say that our house looked like the Macy’s window in New York. Sometimes I miss those parties but entertaining just isn’t as much fun now that Mike is gone.
Christmas just hasn’t been the same since losing most of my family but I persevere and celebrate with the new generation, creating new memories. I still bake a lot and make cherry cordials because they were Mike and daddy’s favorites and everyone else seems to like them and my sister’s children help fill the void left by Mike, mom, dad and Leslyn. Someday I will join them but in the meantime I have the traditions we had and the memories we created.
As a special Christmas gift Maria and I are giving away eEditions of my Christmas book, Christmas at Sea Pines Cottage. (see rafflecopter form below)