Monday, December 7, 2009

The Ghosts of Christmases Past

If I need a reminder of how fast time passes me by, I just need to hang decorations on the Christmas tree.

I have three "Baby's First Christmas" ornaments. The first is 13 years old. The newest is seven. There will never be another one.

I have hand-made ornaments from pre-school and kindergarten and first grade from as far back as 2001. I will receive no more largely unidentifiable ornaments from my children for as long as I live.

On my tree is the manger ornament purchased in 1955. It is the one my parents hung on their own very first Christmas tree. It joins the manger ornament I purchased for my own first tree in 1985 and the manger ornament I purchased for my "family" first tree in 1996.

Hanging the stocking holders on the mantle, I rearranged photos and cried: my father, my grandmother, Pete's mum. All gone. My older children knew their Gran, but they never met my dad or my grandma, two people who loomed so largely in my early Christmases and my pre-kid life.

How much longer will I have my mom to call and to buy for and to send a card and calendar to? How many more years will I even make a calendar? [Truly, does anyone want to see a calendar of posed teens and young adults? I mean, dressed ones?]

I love Christmas. I always have. It's a time of joy and festivity and worship. And the longer I live, the more it also becomes a time of melancholy and the noting of time marching ever forward, with or without us.

8 comments:

mayberry said...

I am having a very hard time with Christmas this year. Just can't get into the spirit.

Michele Renee said...

I can relate! We have some cute ornaments the kids have made but my youngest, who is in 3rd grade, won't do any more because in this school (been there since he was in kindergarten) they do not make ornaments. Schools here have kids from all over the world and at the winter holiday party they do not make ornaments. They can make other things though. Like snowmen decorations.
I helped my Mother in law decorate her tree over T-giving holiday. Her star on top is 50+ years old. It is hideous but sentimental.

cjm said...

I love the traditions you have with the ornaments. One day your kids (and their kids) will look back on them and think of you. I was mostly in a reflective way when digging out the ol' ornaments myself. Mostly positive, however. But then again, I always have this looming crazy during the holidays since my mom died (going on 13 years now).

Tara R. said...

Our Christmas tree is also decorated with an eclectic collection of ornaments purchased and made over the years. Each one has a story and I love them all.

Beck said...

Something I've noticed is that I like Christmas more as I get older and not just for the astonishing haul of presents, but for actual Christmas-card reasons - I'm so glad to have another Christmas with the people I love. Which is, yes, at its heart a melancholy thought.

Maggie May said...

this is a lovely, bittersweet post.

Janet said...

I have nothing to add - you said it perfectly.

Lori said...

On this particular day, I also have tears in my eyes, as it's been 28 years since my mom left this earth. Man, that's a long time. Why does it still hurt so much?

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