Tuesday, December 2, 2014

So This Is Christmas...

No, I'm not going to post that insipid John Lennon song. That and the '80s Live Aid dreck "Do They Know It's Christmas", I mean, really, could they *get* more patronizing?

No, this past weekend we decorated the new house for Christmas. Last year, we moved at Christmas - we signed on the 23rd of December, and all of our worldly possessions arrived the next day. Yes, we were unpacking boxes on Christmas Eve. We had a tree - I went to Target and bought a pre-lit, 4' tall Christmas tree so the kids would have something - and presents (we're not savages), but the house wasn't really decorated for Christmas.

That's the front. I had extra lights and another timer, so I hit the back as well:

Yeah, it's not much, but it's something. And I wanted to point out that on the last day of November, I was out in the backyard cooking on the grill. I kinda dig this Virginia thing a little...

TheBoy is 13. He'd rather play Madden '15 or watch "Family Guy" than trim the Christmas tree, but we did manage to enlist his help for a period of time. I remember being a 13 year old boy at Christmas. I would help my mom with the tree every year (Dad never put up the tree. Ever.), and every year I'd roll my eyes and try to get through it as quickly as I could, eager to get back to *my* video games or whatever was on TV.

Putting up the ornaments this year, I finally got it.

Christmas ornaments are a time capsule. They're a snapshot of life the year you received the ornament, and they bring with them a flood of memories. The "Quebec '96" ornament we bought on our honeymoon. The "New Home '99" ornament for the first Casa del G. The "Baby's First Christmas" in 2000 that we never got to use. The "Baby's First Christmas" in 2001 that we did. Everything comes rushing back in a flood of memories and bubble wrap, all Christmases past and the ones you hope are still to come.

And yes, I *am* a geek:

It's not Christmas without Kirk!

Of *course* I have a phaser. Does it surprise you that there's also a 1911? (Big thanks to the guys at Shotlock for those, BTW).

There are also Harleys, muscle cars, vintage Cadillacs, Buicks, and Lincolns, and pickup trucks of all makes and models on the tree. There are Hallmark ornaments, Boston Red Sox ornaments, numerous engraved "Make A Wish" ornaments, a couple Hubble Space Telescope ornaments from a friend who worked on the project; and countless others too numerous to catalog.

The most important ones, though - and any parent will tell you this - are the homemade ornaments. The Santa Clauses and snowmen and candy cane reindeer and the pictures... We made a few ornaments with pictures when TheBoy was a baby, and our MA house was featured. Unsurprisingly, the new house has many similar features, with an open concept from kitchen to family room, with the tree in the same approximate spot. La plus ca change, and all that.

I understand, mom, why you dragged the boxes out every year. I understand it now. Every Christmas is a gift; every ornament has its own story; and for a short while, once a year, you get a trip back in time courtesy of a plastic-and-wood creation. I hope we can cajole the kids into helping with the tree and decorating for a few more years, at least. If not, well, the tree will still go up, there will just be fewer to share the memories.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

That is all.


Maureen Williams said...

Putting up the Christmas ornaments is my favorite part of the whole holiday season. Most of my ornaments are family heirlooms that date to the 40's and possibly even earlier. Some glass, some early molded plastic, many faded, dinged, etc. Any time one breaks I cry a little. Some still stored in the original boxes from Woolworth's!!

Also there's the series of hand-made embroidered "hug" ornaments that my Dad got every year from the cancer center he was treated at. I think we have five of those denoting each year he was still with us.

There are still a few homemade ones too, from when I was a kid. Dogs, trips, life events, all displayed on the tree each year. Good stuff.

Michael Bane said...

Cool tree, brother! Here at the Secret Hidden Bunker II we have ornaments from every place my Sweetie and I have visited over the years, and an odd assortment of cars, guns, a Titanic Memorial Ornament and, yes, our very own phaser...

Merry Christmas!

Michael B

MrGarabaldi said...

Hey Jay,

Very good article, reading that makes sense about the ornaments, I never thought of it in that manner, thank you. And yes I still have my Capt Kirk Hallmark ornaments.

Michael Bane said...

PS: Did I ever tell you that when I was in high school I was BLESSED enough to have one of the legendary Ford factory racers — a 1968 Cougar built from the ground up by Ford as a dead-stealth street dancer...390 ci, 2 4-barrels with progressive linkage, special suspension, transmission, rear end...all the bells and whistles...and not one single marking on the car. Even the super-deluxe exhaust system routed up through the wheel wells and exited through the stock position on the rear panel...

...made me some walking around money with that baby...the heartbreaker is that a friend of mine who does muscle cars at the Scottsdale auctions told me that "the Cougar" was known to collectors of the Ford racers, and if it could be located and restored might well be worth upwards of a cool million...

I KBNEW I shold have ignored my parents and their stupid "go to college" advice!

Michael B