Unpacking Christmas decorations is always a trip into the nostaglia of holidays past. We have way too many decorations Paul points out annually, as we remove the heavy bins from the rafters above the garage. Hard to maintain the Christmas spirit when balancing precariously on a too short ladder. This year it was my turn to make the ascent up the ladder because Paul and his cane weren't well-suited for the job. There were a few scary handoffs and coughing fits as a year's worth of dust drifted down but eventually everything landed safely on the ground.
I love opening the boxes and unwrapping the contents. Wreaths,stockings, ornaments and my eclectic collections of Santas, snowmen and angels fill the living room floor admist piles of crinkled tissue paper. I didn't consciously plan to acquire all this holiday cheer, but over time my collections expanded. Some of them were gifts like the small porcelain angel with the poinsettia on her dress that I received as a present on my eighth birthday. She started my collection of angels, and the ancient Santa mug with my name on it (now a victim of careless handling and an unskilled application of super glue) was the start of my Santa collection. And okay, I've added a few pieces on my own. Shoot me, I love Christmas.
Last weekend when I slit the tape sealing one cardboard box, a musical bell tucked inside began playing Edelweiss. I remember Mom bringing this bell back from a trip to Austria but I don't remember winding it up in recent years. It was strange that I had moved the box on to the table without hearing any music but when I removed the tape the chimes were unleashed. Was Mom was sending me a Christmas message? I'd like to think so.
Mom loved Christmas, too, and some of my most cherished ornaments are ones that came from her collection. After she died, my sisters and I sorted through her ornaments and now we each have a small selection of our favorites to remind of us of home. I always give them places of honor on my tree.
Paul and I went off to Pasadena this weekend to do a little Christmas shopping. We visited some of our favorite restaurants and shops including Vroman's, a bookstore on Colorado Blvd. It's a fabulous place filled with book lovers, and a massive selection of wonderful books. On the second floor there is a great children's book section. The Young Adult aisle was impassable as teenagers lounged on the floor leaning against giant pillows, reading. There are certainly worse ways for kids to spend a Saturday night. I couldn't find a way to browse in that section without disturbing the readers, but did spot a stack of Val Hobb's latest book, Anything But Ordinary on the top of one of the bookcases. It is thrilling to see books written by someone I know. If the ghost of Christmas Future is reading this, please take note–I'd love to see one of my own books on those shelves in a few years...