Holiday Nostalgia

3 Dec

I’ll admit it: every year when I open and unpack the boxes of Christmas decorations, I get a little sappy and nostalgic.  I love looking at and setting out my “heirloom” decorations and ornaments and remembering back to my childhood.  Yes, I love my newly-acquired decorations and baubles, but if there was a fire and I could only save a few holidays lovelies, I would opt for these:

 

 

My mom gave me this book when I was two, back  in 1979 (!)  It’s a precious pop-up version of “The Night Before Christmas” and I’ve adored it every since I I first held it in my hands.  Some of the pieces are missing, but most are still intact and in good condition.  I love setting this out and creating a “scene” around it that involves vintage santas and gold-glitter reindeer.

 

 

The little yellow angel playing the mandolin in the front is a Goebel Hummel bell ornament from my birth year (1977).  My parents lived in Germany for several years in the 1950s and have a small collection of original Hummels.  I don’t know where my mom purchased the above Hummel, but I adore it.  At 76, she’s not able to put up a large tree anymore, and so dispersed the valuable ornaments to her children.  I love this one and set it out every Christmas — I’m afraid to put it on the tree in fear of it falling and breaking.

 

The red lady playing the guitar behind her pre-dates me and I think it’s precious in its vintage holiday charm.  There is a sticker from the long-closed Hefner’s gift shop in the town where I grew up on the bottom, which makes me love it even more.  It’s a symbol of small-town life long ago when mom and pop shops were the backbone of the community.

 

 

 

This house also pre-dates me and it is one of my favorite holidays decorations, hands down.  There were once little plastic color “lights” that fit into the holes on the Christmas tree, but they have been lost to time (or my parents’ attic).  When this ceramic house wound up in my hands, it was filled with candle wax — it was even coming out of the windows!  My husband was so kind to carefully and painstakingly clean it out of all of the wax and soot and random wicks.  I now put a tealight inside instead of a votive and love to watch it glow.  I wish I had the little plastic “lights” and if anyone knows where I can get some, I’d be very appreciative.

 

 

I think this is so cute!  This was actually part of a set that included “peace” and something else.  It’s just a simple plastic decoration, but I always “played” with it when I was a little child.  Before my parents tore the wall down between their formal living room and dining room, they had this little space with rails about a foot or so from the ceiling to the top of the wall that they used to sit these on.  I would stand on the back of the couch in the living room (when no one was looking) to reach them.

 

 

Starting when I was about 5, my mom and sisters would take me to the Nutcracker ballet most years.  I loved the Nutcracker!  My mom enrolled me in ballet classes and bought me the Tchaikovsky soundtrack.  My favorite part of the Nutcracker (besides the mice) was the actual Nutcracker itself.  When I was about 10 and had a little allowance money, my sister Lynne took me down to the now-closed Foley’s department store where I purchased a Nutcracker for my mom for Christmas.  For a few years, it became a tradition for me to buy her a Nutcracker.  A few years back when my mom started to consolidate her Christmas decoration collection, she gave me a few of them for my house.  The above Nutcracker is the original one I bought in 1987.  Its hair is a little yellowed and its fur beard is thinning, but it generally works and is good condition for being 24 years old.  This year, I made a Nutcracker “scene” on my mantle with all of the Nutcrackers, our wreath stocking holders, the “Nutcracker” candle from Yankee Candle, and these votive cups from Crate & Barrel.

 

 

My husband Jeff and I first met in August 2001 (and married in August 2002).  The above ornament is from our first Christmas together.  I bought it at Hallmark and just love it.  It’s so sweet and makes me smile each year.  The man   is holding mistletoe over the woman and below them dangles a star that reads ‘2001.’

 

 

This ceramic Christmas tree is from 1982 when I was 5.  I made it in the kindergarten at Vor-Lin Preschool (which I still think was once of the best preschools around as we learned to read, do basic addition and subtraction, learn colors, the alphabet, etc. all by the time were were 5 or 6.  In fact, a lot of the kids in my class that went to Vor-Lin went on to become honor students, valedictorians or salutatorians, doctors, teachers, activists, and all-around good people).

 

I begin decorating after Thanksgiving because I love looking at these memories as long as I can.  It’s such a joy to unwrap each one and find the perfect place for it.  Each year, it’s a little moment of love.

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