Every year, I get into our attic and pull down box after box of Christmas decorations. I am a pretty firm no decorating until after Thanksgiving kinda girl, but I am finding that only really applies when we are actually hosting Turkey Day. Otherwise, my kids, who are bursting with excitement about Christmas once Halloween is over, twist my arm enough that I drag those boxes down a few days before Thanksgiving.
Every box is a walk down memory lane. Sometimes to just the year before. Others to when the kids were making Christmas crafts for us as little kindergartners. Or pictures of them in photo ornaments as babies. Sometimes opening those boxes leaves a catch in your throat, just like it has done every year you’ve opened it. Some boxes make ya laugh. Others make ya tear up. But you open them all, every year. You reminisce about Christmas’s past. About those people you’ve lost. The babies that have grown into bigger kids. Opening those boxes is a gift. One of my favorite gifts of the holiday season.
I wanted to share with all of you what is inside some of those plastic tubs that we haul down our stairs. The things that make our house a little magical during the Christmas season
There’s my little pink mouse. I think it was from a school fundraiser in elementary school, but I could be wrong. I was probably five or six when my mom bought the mouse ornaments. All I know for sure, is that of all of them, I latched on to the little pink mouse. As a little girl she was always the first ornament I put on the tree and the last ornament I took off. And now, as a grown woman with three kiddos who decorate the tree for me, I ask, who put up my little pink mouse? This year it was Abby. She grinned and said “I did”. I don’t know why I have always loved this little ornament so much, but I do. She makes me smile.
I had a contentious relationship with my step-dad. When he and my mom divorced, there were a few things left behind. This Mr. and Mrs. Claus were on that list. Maybe he forgot them. Maybe he didn’t want them. Maybe he knew how much I loved them. They get put up every year and I like to think they represent the sliver of good he brought to my life. If it hadn’t been for him I would have never taken horse back riding lessons as a little girl. I’m grateful for those lessons. For the confidence I gained from them. I sure didn’t like him, but I do appreciate these two little figures that grace our house every Christmas season.
My aunt use to buy me a sweatshirt every Christmas. Always name brand and I always looked forward to it. The first Christmas I was married, in 2002, I opened her gift and it was not a sweatshirt. I don’t have a poker face so you can imagine the disappointment I showed when my sweatshirt was not in the box, but instead a piece of Christmas decor. It was a jarring reminder to me that I was a grown a*% woman whether I wanted to be or not. No more sweatshirts, but all these years later, I absolutely ADORE my Fitz and Floyd Christmas collection my aunt started for me all those years ago. The kids love it too. And, it is timeless. The sweatshirts are long gone by now but I look forward to and get to admire those fun and whimsical decorations every year now. And, how about that vintage Avon calendar that was my mama’s?!?
My mom collected the Willow Tree Nativity scene. She was so proud of it. I was so envious. The simplicity of it is my most favorite thing. The last Christmas Brad was alive, just two weeks before he passed away, he was so, so sick. He knew I wanted a set just like my mom’s, so he had his mom go to the Hallmark store and buy it for me. He didn’t have years left to help me collect it, so I got it all at once. It took me probably five years after he died to actually get it out of the attic and put it on display . But, it’s a fixture now and one of my most beloved Christmas decorations.
Our Christmas village. This was another one that took awhile for me to drag out of the attic because it was not my thing at all. It was Brad’s. He loved Christmas villages. Added pieces to it and set it up every year. I always thought it was a big pain and messy if ya added all that fake snow. A few years ago I told the kids about it being in the attic. They were old enough to set it up on their own if they wanted to. They jumped at the chance and were like kids in a candy store as they went through each box. All the people, buildings, fences and trees. It has become their little tradition now. I still don’t do any of the set up and I still think it looks like a pain, but, I love that they love it. I kinda like it too.
The Advent Wreath. This is a new one for our family, but I grew up with this tradition. Every Sunday of Advent we lit a candle. I don’t know why it took so long for our family to start, but it has quickly become my favorite thing. With so much noise and sparkle and glitter and busy, it is a blessing to spend a few minutes in the candlelit quiet and stillness on a Sunday evening, with my husband and our three kiddos, around the Advent Wreath. I hope they are loving this new tradition as much as I am.
Hallmark ornaments. Our beloved Christmas train, the tradition Scott started years ago and our kids love so much. Our stockings hung by the fire. “Our First Christmas” ornament from the year Scott and I were married. The fragile little glass bulb ornaments of my great grandmas. The Swarovski Crystal ornaments my mom got me every year and the tradition Scott continued. There is so much goodness this time of year. Our house feels so incredibly magical. I love the memories, even when they bring a tinge of pain. I love the excitement. The anticipation. I love the month long celebration leading up to the most important birthday in the history of ever, even if it does feel like the most exhausting labor of love at times.
I hope you all feel a little magic this year. I hope the things in your house that only get set out during the Christmas season bring you sweet memories and fill your hearts like those things in our house do mine. I hope you all find a moment of quiet, during this crazy time of year, to give thanks for the greatest gift we have been given. Merry Christmas, friends.
As always, thanks for reading!