Posted tagged ‘garlands’

“Christmas is a season for kindling the fire for hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.”

December 14, 2012

This morning the lawns were white with frost and the cars windows would have needed scrapping. I walked across the lawn to get my papers so I could hear the crunch, that wonderful sound a freezing night brings to the morning. I could see my breath.

This room is such a mess my sensibilities are distressed. Every spare space is filled with wrapping paper, boxes, tags and presents. They are my next week’s projects. Today is sending packages and making goodies for sister as I’ll see her tomorrow. I’ll bring her favorite fudge, a recipe from a long ago friend of my mother’s, and date-nut bread, my grandmother’s recipe. The traditions continue!

When I bought my house, I didn’t have much money. My mortgage was half my month’s salary. Everything I bought was a necessity, nothing frivolous, including furniture for a while. I had a desk, a TV and a studio couch in this room and some pots and pans for the kitchen. I ate, slept and watched TV here in the den. The rest of the house was pretty empty. That first Christmas I bought a small tree. My mother gave me some ornaments, and I bought a couple of strings of lights. One night I went about making paper garlands out of construction paper. I cut the paper into strips then the strips into smaller strips. I used tape to connect the small strips to one another. There were four garlands, each a different length with the shortest at the top and the longest at the bottom. They were perfect on the tree, being colorful and making the tree more festive and hiding the lack of ornaments. I used those garlands for a lot of years. One Christmas a few years later I was sitting in the living looking at the tree, a taller one with more decorations, when I heard a strange sound from the tree, and then I heard another. I investigated and found my garlands were breaking apart. The tape had yellowed and lost its ability to hold the strips together. I grabbed my favorite tool, my stapler, and used it to keep the garlands together. It worked.

A year later when I was bringing out my tubs of decorations, I noticed the garlands had just about completely fallen apart, and, for the first time, I noticed how faded the colors had become. It didn’t matter to me, though, as I still hung the smallest of the garlands on the tree that Christmas. I still have that garland.


“Christmas is the keeping-place for memories of our innocence.”

December 1, 2011

Sorry for the rather late start today, but Skip, my factotum, is here to put up the outside lights, and I am periodically called outside to check progress and to see if everything is in the right place then when the spotlight blew I had to go to the store to buy another one and some new garlands for the fence. Last year there was enough garland to span the fence but it seems to have disappeared over the summer. My artificial tree, the ugliest scrub pine you ever saw, is now up in the dining room. Over the summer, a few of the ornaments were gnawed in places and some of the ribbons were eaten, nesting material I suppose. All that seems to be the work of the mini-spawns, the field mice who call my cellar their home. Around here we all have mice. My brother claims that anyone who lives on Cape Cod and says he has no mice is living in a fantasy world. Luckily my cats are adept at catching the critters, and I often find one lying perfectly still on the rug in the hall having peacefully gone to its rest.

The lights outside are all connected to timers. I’m crossing my fingers that everything will light as hoped. The newest light is a giant star with a trail of lights. It is atop the fence. If all goes well, it should be spectacular.

Tomorrow will begin the transformation of the inside of the house. The tree will arrive either Sunday or Monday. I’m wondering if a parade might be a bit over the top.

I was going to decorate only a little this year, but once I started I got the Christmas bug. It’s a disease most of my family has, inherited from my mother’s side of the family. My father’s parents were more the socks and underwear sort of  Christmas givers while my mother’s parents, with their eight kids, went all out for the holiday. Most of my cousins have also inherited the same disease.

The goldfinches are back to the feeders, drab and pale. Gone is the brilliant yellow of their summer feathers. Today there were five or six of them. I wonder where they’ve been.

I opened day one of my Advent calendar today. Only 24 more to go!

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