It is 8:50 a.m. here in Alabama and it is a warm morning with clear blue skies. Up early, I went for a long walk and along the way began working over in my mind exactly what I want to share about growing up here in the southern United States when I get to Romania.
Pre-holiday activities get me all geared up for the season. And some of the things I love are irksome to others in the family!
For example, I usually put my Christmas tree up on Veteran’s Day.
When I was a single mom and shared the holidays with the ex, the time for preparing and celebrating was cut in half. The kids and I were out of school every November 11th so we started making the most of it and began a new tradition.
Even though the kids are grown, I am still putting the tree up before Thanksgiving. I LIKE making it one big, long holiday! Most of us begin the season with a dinner that celebrates family, health and happiness, then spend several weeks rejoicing in our beliefs and the festivities that surround them, and finally close with a party to welcome the New Year! See?! One big season of being hApPy!
Another reason I like starting early is because the season is so hectic. The extra time allows for more relaxing; I can acknowledge and enjoy the moment when that giddy, 0h-i-love-Christmas-feeling strikes –because honestly, sometimes the festive spirit can be short-lived. You know what I mean! At times I am absolutely covered up with it –like this year. 🙂 But, there have been holidays I’ve gone through the motions, thankful but not necessarily in a Christmassy mood.
So, Saturday morning I rolled up my sleeves and headed to the storage building. Yes, it was game day -college football/ALABAMA/Roll Tide day. I told myself I’d be finished before kickoff.
I wasn’t. With sounds of the game roaring from the other room, I dug out and went through six huge boxes of ornaments and decorations I’d not unpacked in eight years. I unwrapped them all and reveled at how many memories I found gently folded within the timeworn wrapping paper. Even the old wrapping paper brought back memories of my children’s early Christmas mornings. My earliest memories were there too.
Nostalgia in a box.
There were so many ornaments I was forced to choose from our favorites. A blue silk-threaded ball and a glass orb from my childhood (I remember my baby brother, Oba, taking a bite out of one); antique golden glass hearts my Uncle Tim gave me; gold paper stars my daughter, Anderson, and I made when she was little; a snowflake with Isaac’s kindergarten picture clipped inside; plastic snowflakes the kids and I purchased at Nelson’s on Broad St. and gussied up with tons of glitter; paper cardinals drawn, cut, and painted in watercolor from a Christmas spent alone…
And so many from vacations and road trips…
…A sunglass and Santa-hat clad starfish purchased in Orange Beach during the vacation it stormed all week. (It was awesome –we three feasted on seafood, camped out at the indoor pool & hot tub and watched movies all week.)…
…And three Santas purchased in Brighton Beach, the summer I ran off to NYC, alone.
The more eggnog I drank, the gaudier my tree became, covered in layer upon layer of ornaments!
I even pulled out the old ceramic tree Mother gave me years ago. It was always the first decoration Oba and I put out when we were little. I played with the wiring and got the inner light to work then washed the tree and its base. While ordering more plastic lights for it online, I discovered that the 24” vintage one like mine is now worth 250.-300. dollars. Ah, viNtaGe!
So, even though I was a weekend behind my official putting-up-the-tree-date, it was a wonderful day! I missed the kids, but revealed in every minute of the Christmas spirit that filled me.
Now, I can look forward to all the other activities that have become family traditions -the kids helping with Thanksgiving dinner, the making of Christmas candies (Martha Washington & Potato Candy!), shopping with the girls, piling up on the couch to watch It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story, Midnight Mass at the Vatican… and hours upon hours of Christmas music!
Happy Holidays, y’all !!
“Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow….”
@ElizabethMozley & @CentipedeYAread
And on Facebook – We Share the Same Sky, author Elizabeth Mozley
We Share the Same Sky, a memoir