December 2, 2010

Christmastime is Here

I have loved Christmastime ever since I was a little girl. It appeals to the little traditionalist in me.

Yes, that's a Flashdance t-shirt.
No, I have no idea why my mother let me wear it to visit Santa.

Yesterday I could hardly wait to pack up my computer and leave the office. My commute home was punctuated with stops at three stores and ended with a car bursting with bags full of the Christmas essentials. Sugar, flour and pounds of butter for baking. Whole chickens and Brussels sprouts for roasting. Little gifts to fill stockings hung with care. Trees and poinsettias for decorating.

Even the bathroom got a poinsettia this year.

After three trips down to the car (living on the second floor can have it's advantages but I never remember what they are after a big trip to the grocery), I had finally unloaded my loot. I put some soup on the stove, settled my favorite gentleman on the couch with a good book, and set about untangling the Christmas lights. No matter how careful I am to roll them up, unknotted, the year before they always manage to work their way into a giant mess over the spring and summer months. Maybe they are just mad at me for leaving them in the scary basement. I wouldn't like it down there either.

Every year growing up my mo.... uh hum... St. Nicholas would leave my brother and I a new ornament. When I left my mom's house for my own home, they were packed up for me to use to decorate my own tree.

These ornaments hung on my Grandma's tree for most of my life. The blonde on the left is Cousin. I'm not sure what happened to her other pig-tail. I'm on the right with my boy-cut brown hair. We jointly inherited the ornaments when Grandma stopped putting up a tree. Now they spend every other year on my tree or hers. We couldn't bear to separate them.

Unpacking the shoe boxes of carefully wrapped treasures is like seeing old friends after a long year. My favorite decoration is the nativity scene. I bought this one on a trip to Burkina Faso, West Africa several years ago. It's hand carved soapstone and the reason I loved it so was not just because it's beautiful, but also because baby Jesus is a separate piece. That way, he won't make his appearance until Christmas morning.

Once the lights were up and the ornaments were hung, Christmas had officially descended on my apartment.

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