The holiday season for my husband and I began on Thanksgiving day when we hosted a big family dinner. Following a Black Friday spent with friends, the remainder of my Thanksgiving weekend was spent in a decorating frenzy. It always takes a full day to put up the tree, sorting out and fussing over whatever theme idea I have come up with for the year. Sunday is dedicated to the rest of the house.
Boxes filled with lights and artificial greenery, Christmas candles and holiday trinkets were stacked up in the living room and spilled across the floor. For the last few years I have tried to downsize my Christmas collection. I think, however, that I have only managed to add more to it. Nothing I have is of any great value. But I love every piece and each year I usually stumble upon at least one new treasured gem that I can’t live without. I give myself the “Christmas pass.” All of these things are on display for only a few weeks each year and every one makes me smile. Adding another box to the “Christmas corner” in the basement isn’t really a big deal. I don’t let myself worry about it. I enjoy it while it lasts.
I am crazy about vintage Christmas pieces. Christmas collectibles from the 30s to the 60s are mostly what I use to decorate. My daughter laughs at my plastic garlands. Cheesy? Yes. But they remind me of my childhood. A set of ceramic choirboys bring back another vague memory. A small Christmas tree in the sunroom is loaded with vintage Shiny Brite ornaments and little wooden soldiers stand guard on the windowsills. I will be sure to find a place for the bottle brush wreaths and “sugar” bells that were given to me the first year I was away from home when my entire Christmas collection would have fit into a shoebox.
I have a half dozen or so musical snow globes and a pair of old, light up, blow mold snowmen. A collection of vintage Christmas cards hang on one wall of my dining room. I love the classic pictures of snow-covered churches, ringing bells and glowing candles. On the top of my bathroom curtain rod sits a hand made flannel elf.
As I move from room to room I listen to vintage recordings of old radio shows. Bing Crosby singing White Christmas is followed by an advertisement for Kraft cheese spreads. The announcer explains that each one only uses two ration coupons. Another recording of a 1946 Christmas show has me listening to Abbott and Costello playing out “Who’s on First.”
My Christmas collection has grown slowly with each passing year. Ebay is a great source for whatever I might be looking for. Some pieces have been easy to find. There are always dozens of knee-hugging elves and old tree toppers for sale. Other pieces are more elusive like the pink plastic reindeer that I searched for nearly 5 years to find.
My weekend decorating stretches into Monday and maybe even Tuesday. I hope for a warm day to put up the outdoor display. Ten years ago I painted a trio of caroling snowmen and they still “sing” in my front yard every December. This year the front door is dressed with a live wreath and a garland of pine and cedar roping. Visitors are greeted with a large, hand made “welcome” sign and an old sled that holds a vintage “happy holidays” plaque. I may or may not get around to stringing lights in the windows.
With the first week of December behind us it’s time to sit back and enjoy. This might very well be “the most wonderful time of the year!”