On the day after Thanksgiving, just like that, we pass from fall to the Christmas season. Down comes the autumn-hued wreath; up goes the evergreen one with the pine cones and red bow. Those attending my brother- and sister-in-law’s feast got wonderful surprises when we were sent home last night with large, real, green wreaths! We also got leftovers to see us through the weekend.
I’ve never been a Black Friday shopping fan. I’ve tried with my friend Patti who absolutely loves everything about the day from an early start to the massive crowds and chaos. Not this girl. The hustle-and-bustle distract me to where I can’t even think what I’m after. Exhausting.
My post-feast day is always spent decorating the house. This year I cheated by assembling our nine-foot tree and getting the lights in place last weekend so today I could focus on the ornaments. That’s how I started my day. This year I omitted a couple of standards: No icicles and no bows. I didn’t empty every single carton to fill the tree, but gave it a little breathing room. I also didn’t use too many shiny balls, but instead added quite a few from my herd of sheep ornaments.
I’ve collected sheep for 35 years, finally accumulating so many that they outgrew joining the other ornaments on the family tree, and merited a tree of their own.
A few years ago, I stopped putting up the lamb tree but I missed those baaaa-d boys. So this year, I placed some of the 100-plus sheep on the main tree and others around the house in garlands and on shelves. Reggie would dearly love to get her paws on those lamb chops. In fact, she snagged one before I noticed and chewed off its rear end! Brian thought it was hilarious. “She’s a sheep dog disguised as a Boston terrier!” he said.
I didn’t find it humorous.
This year our tree has a new location. We rearranged the room and the tree fits great beside the TV, in front of the stairs. Along with the sheep go decorations that tell the story of our lives. The first ornaments we ever got as a couple were actually gifts to Brian before we were even engaged, Christmas 1977. Brian’s wonderful landlady, the late Mary Snyder, who lived in a lovely old home on Seminary Street in Liberty, next to Orrs and across from the Cohens. She gave him four pewter ornaments hung with the original red yarn. They’ve adorned our tree ever since.
There’s the little pop-cycle-stick sled I picked up at a craft bazaar at Indiana State while a student. There are Santas and angels from office ornament exchanges, tassles from graduation caps, a bat key chain from the Louisville Slugger factory, a glittery peace symbol from a show at the state fairgrounds several years ago, a glass corn ornament because I’m a corn-fed Hoosier farmer’s daughter, the little sign I waved when Sam and Allison left the church as newlyweds that reads “Wahoo!”
At the top of the tree is a topper I got from George Washington’s Mt. Vernon gift shop of a dove, symbolic of The Holy Spirit. There’s a glass ornament that was my mom’s and my brother painted the Brownsville Bridge on it. I love that.
There are other ornaments, too, like the accordion Kathy Thomas found for Brian. (It’s a nod to Brian’s brief hobby as a childhood accordionist. Don’t ask). There are vacation baubles. Almost everything on that tree comes with stories, memories or both.
Outside I hung artificial wreaths on the windows but only after replacing the faded ribbons with new ones.
I hung a lighted garland over a doorway. I filled a couple of baskets with greenery and changed out the kitchen tablecloth.
There is no doubt more that I will do but right now, I’m ready to call it a day in the décor department.
Today is remarkable for something that I do not recall doing in my 57 years of life, except on sick days: I remained in my pajamas all day while decorating. Right now, I’m heading to a tub of bubbles, and a stack of old Christmas decorating magazines I’ve saved for inspiration.
Who knows? Maybe I’ll emerge from the tub ready inspired for round two.