“Christmas is the day that holds all time together.”
My husband plunked down the container and, with a flourish of his hands, said, “Here you go.” He had made the brave journey into our crawlspace to retrieve the Christmas ornaments, and now it was up to me to do something with them. I stared at the box trying to muster a tingle of decorating mojo. But …nada. At best I was neutral, at worst, resigned. I let the box sit for a couple of days to gather the proper coating of fresh winter dust, and then began ye annual Christmas adorning. At first, the cover of the red plastic bin resisted opening… a perfect metaphor for my feelings. Resistance. Why? Because the contents within are more than glass, plastic, paper, and string. The ornaments are remembrances, some good, some bad, some fragile and sweet.
My least favorite is the pewter ornament Mom gave each of her children shortly after her cancer diagnosis. It essentially says not to grieve her death because she is watching from heaven. The oddly funny part is that Mom gave it to us believing she would be gone quickly. She lived two more years, so she requested that we ignore the ornament’s message for a while longer. Classic Mom humor. My second least favorite is the metal pink ribbon ornament that reminds me why she is watching from heaven. The pink ribbon cause is good; the memories are not.
Then there are the old and delicate ornaments that came from my husband’s mother. I love them, but fear I will do something that will break, crack, or otherwise destroy this link to his childhood. A couple of years back we lost a few prime vintage glass specimens when our cat decided the Christmas tree needed conquering. Who knew an eight-pound cat could topple a ten-foot tree? As I swept up the shards of the past, I felt horrible. The cat, however, remained unapologetic.
There are the sweet ornaments too. Homemade, or school-made, art projects from my kids and my husband’s grandchildren. Time is not making the glue and macaroni any stronger. Even though I carefully wrap each ornament in tissue paper, time marches on. One day there will only be crumbles of happiness, no less precious in my heart.
Ornaments gifted to us by friends round out the box, so to speak. Thoughtful tokens comprised of sly winks at a time, place, or recent art trend make me smile. The glue that holds those ornaments together does not say “Elmer’s,” it says enduring relationships.
By now I’ve gazed upon each and every bauble. My fingers have a glitter sheen, a few wire hangers are laying on the floor, and the cats are thinking thoughts they shouldn’t be thinking about the dangling thing above. Maybe revisiting all those complex shiny moments—I mean ornaments—isn’t so bad after all.
How about you? Do you have a favorite ornament or one that creates a sense of sadness? Would you be willing to share?