Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas -- something old, something new....

It has been a bah-humbug kind of year. Where normally we're decorating as soon as the lethargy from Thanksgiving turkey lifts, I'm just today getting the tree put together and standing it in front of the window. No decorations on it, yet, but the lights work.

One of man's best inventions -- the artificial tree with lights already on it. We could have bypassed all of those years of Derrol struggling with lights and then lamenting "when one goes out they all go out." Of course my favorite bubble lights are no longer part of our tradition. Too many years of trying to get those little suckers to stand upright and bubble...we gave up. Can you even buy them any more?

Now it is artificial all the way. We even invested in one of those fiber optic trees -- almost as good as bubble lights. And that is where my something old, something new comes together. This year I'm feeling adventurous. My husband, the clutz when it comes to breakables, makes it necessary to put all breakable decorations in safe places. Long before children I was 'Derrol' proofing the house. But this year on a table in the same room with my husband's favorite chair situated strategically across from the television, I am placing breakables.

The lovely white and gold gilt ceramic set of carolers and Christmas trees that my mother-in-law gave us is sitting beneath the fiber optic tree (a short three footer). The whole arrangement is resting on the antique crazy quilt my great-grandmother made. The carolers in their Victorian coats and hats, stand beneath a Victorian style street light. The quilt, a pattern from the Victorian era fits perfectly with the setting and even seems to embrace the new fiber optic technology. Wouldn't great grandma be surprised at that. When she was decorating trees, they still used candles -- real candles.

It just occurred to me that my great-grandmother would have been making this quilt, sewing the stitches, planning the squares, collecting the fabric, embroidering the designs during that pre-1900 era. That's goosebump worthy. Just think, a quilt has been around to see history made from pre-Civil War times. It is older than the automobile....what stories it could tell. I wish great-grandma was here to tell me why she chose the motifs she did and who the initials stand for and what those people mean to her. So much history in a quilt.

Maybe it was a Christmas gift? Maybe it is decorated with memories from her own Christmases. But for this year, the quilt, the carolers, even the little fiber optic tree come together to make a Christmas memory for us. The room is full of memories and family, even though we're miles from those we love.

By the same token I'll drag out the Christmas stockings -- made when our children were little and full of Christmas awe and hope.

Maybe with all of these old things, something new will develop and I can find my way past bah-humbug and embrace that Christmas spirit once again.

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