I’ve just finished putting up the Christmas decorations. Again. A couple of weeks ago, I seriously contemplated the idea of not bothering this year. After all, I’m old and tired. I’ve been hauling out decorations for the past 50 years. I need a break. Bah, humbug.
The kids and grandkids won’t be coming this year, they are too far away. I used to pay for their tickets to come for the holidays, but I can no longer do that. My roommates will all be gone to family celebrations, and I will be here alone. After all, Christmas decorations are for family and friends to enjoy, right?
But someone gave me a handmade Christmas ornament as an early gift. It’s lovely and thoughtful with my “Golden Girls Network” logo on it. What do I do with it? I need a tree to put it on. I have an artificial tree in the garage and it’s easy to set up. I have boxes and boxes of ornaments to keep this lonely ornament company!
First off the shelf is the music box. It’s a carousel that plays Christmas songs. When the grandchildren were very young, they sat on cushions and listened to it for what seemed like hours and watched the wooden horses go around and around. I plugged it in this morning and turned on the music as I worked on everything else. “On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…” I closed my eyes and remembered the children.
Next are the Santas. I have a collection of Santas. One is “golf” Santa which reminds me of the ex-husband. One is Irish Santa who represents my heritage, another is German Santa…and a very large Santa with an apron who has a toy workbench and two elves to assist, which is my favorite.
Then there are the stockings. I still have the stockings that my children used. No one is coming this year to fill them, but the names are there on the fireplace mantel, waiting. My Santa hat is on the head of a teddy bear who sits on my desk.
The gingerbread house is in its corner; the glittering lights are up; and the wreath is on the door. The nutcracker soldiers have all taken their stations, and the poinsettia towels are in the bathroom.
And finally, the tree…I still have a few ornaments from when my children were still at home. I have ornaments that I collected from trips…the Eiffel Tower snow globe from a long ago honeymoon in Paris, the beach ornaments from the Virgin Islands, my few White House ornaments, the ones that the grandkids made as a Christmas gift. There are six ornaments that I bought my first Christmas alone and I put on a plant in my tiny apartment. There is the collection of Victorian doll ornaments from visiting old plantations in the south…it is hard for me to work on the tree because I am so filled with memories.
I have a toy train. It has tracks and a whistle that blows. My kids thought I was crazy to put it under the tree and play trains. After all, I was a grown woman! This became a favorite of the grandkids. They came to my house to play with my toys and “grandma insists that we all share her toys!” There was method in my madness.
Finally, I put the red and green tablecloth and napkins on the table with the special napkin rings. The Christmas dishes wait on the shelf to be dusted and used.
My plan is to bequeath all of my decorations to my four grandchildren so that they can remember me at Christmas. They are still young teenagers and are twenty years away from having a family and a Christmas tree of their own. At some point, they will come for a visit and will decide which decorations they want. As I put decorations in their places, I wonder who will want the doll ornaments, who will want the Santas, who will get the music box. I guess I will have to keep putting them up until “giveaway day” arrives.
Of course, I didn’t do this alone. My handyman brought the boxes from the garage and strung the lights on the exterior of the house. He put the outdoor elves and tiny trees in my flower garden and connected all of the lights. My north pole still lights up!
And now it is time…I pour a glass of wine and relax in the rocking chair, watching the sparkling lights flicker as the sun goes down. I have had my wonderful memories but am alone at the moment. Since I have decorated, perhaps I should invite some friends over for a holiday party. After all, the decorations are for friends to enjoy also.
Isn’t it interesting how the kindness of one person can make a difference? I invite all of you to share a kindness this holiday season with an older person. You might spark memories, and your kindness may be passed along to someone else.