19 December 2013

Holiday Decorating "From Memory"

 After putting up my Dickens Village, I mustered up a bit more holiday spirit and decided to continue decorating. This year I have many "new" things to use, as I brought home a lot of my mom's Christmas decorations plus many very old pieces which belonged to my grandma. The holidays have always been a sentimental time for me, and I found comfort in bringing out some of the decorations which reminded me of home.

One of the most significant pieces is my mom's Christmas house, the last of the four dollhouses she made. The inside of the house is set up like a Christmas store, and the details are incredible. It's in a Plexiglas case which makes it a little hard to photograph, but it keeps out the dust and kitties.

The house is positioned on a typing table which functioned as my childhood art/school desk. When I found it in my parents' basement, my Crayons were still in the drawer! I thought about selling it but in the end decided to keep it. I'm so glad I did.
There are many treasures in the next photo. The reindeer belonged to my parents. The cellophane wreath is one of several which belonged to my grandma, salvaged from a dusty box stored in our garden shed. The others have candles which actually work, but I'm not sure where to use them yet. Meanwhile, the reindeer looks cute sporting this one.

The elves are from the 1950's and are predecessors to the current "Elf on a Shelf" fad. I remember them fondly from the many Christmas day lunches we enjoyed in Grandma's big old house.

I found the Christmas light bulbs in the top of my dad's garage. When I was growing up, we used the lights on our house and around our evergreen trees. I brought some home which still have working cords but I couldn't part with these loose bulbs. Spouse (bless his heart) cleaned them all, then I put some in a heavy bowl my mom used for potato salad.

As you can see, I have a few more bulbs cleaned and ready to display. The blue ones in particular are meaningful to me. My dad hated putting them up each year and would swear a blue streak, completely losing his Christmas spirit! My mom finally quit having him put them up because it caused everyone such stress. Of course, I had to keep them!

The snowman in the next photo was a gift from my good friend Sharon. In going through Mom's decorations, I found a bag of large pine cones she had spray-painted gold and silver and decided to put them in one of her baskets. The basket is resting on a three-legged stool made by my parents' next door neighbor. It is designed to fit onto a 5-gallon bucket so you can sit down when you're fishing and keep your fish in water at the same time! :)

The large jar below belonged to my grandma. I filled it with some of her old ornaments, plus a few from our original Christmas tree, purchased to match our wedding colors. The frame holds a sheet of my favorite Christmas scrapbooking paper which happened to match. Mom made the Santa set in her ceramics class one year, and it was always my childhood favorite. When I found it in their basement over the summer, I hadn't seen it in years. Just looking at it brought me to tears.

 I thought it would be fun to bring out Teddy, who is over 100 years old, and put him in the my mom's old doll bed under the Christmas tree. I'm not sure where Teddy will end up in our house, but for now he looks happy and ready for Santa. (Teddy went to the Iowa State Fair one year and won a ribbon. Read Teddy's story in this post!)

The cloth wreath at the end of the doll bed was made by my daughter when she was little. The books include some from her childhood and a few from mine.

My absolute favorite childhood set was the Nutshell Library. What a joy it was to find these tiny books at my parents' house!

When cleaning out the garden shed, I found boxes of Christmas treasures from my grandma's house. The snowman candle was pretty dusty but I cleaned him up with a Q-tip. He looks happy to be out of that box now. :) The paper mache boots held candy and were gifts from Santa to my mom and her sister. The metal skaters also belonged to Mom, but I played with them when I was a little girl. I discovered them in a box of my old toys. Just holding them in my hand transports me back to my childhood.

I placed a few more special objects on the kitchen shelf. The milk bottle is always on display, purchased by my parents because it says "Bailey", our daughter's name. The decorated potato masher sat on my parents' refrigerator year-round. The Santa cup belonged to me when I was a little girl and was used for Santa's milk and cookies, of course. The red lantern was mine, too. It's in great shape and still works.

Spouse and I have a small collection of old world Santas. Next to this one is a set of carved wooden animals I bought in Germany during college. The cowbell is one I played with as a child. I found it when cleaning out Dad's garage this summer. :)

The little bookcase I brought home from my parents' house has proven to be the perfect spot to display a few seasonal pieces. Of all of Mom's dishes, the ones I wanted most were her holly dishes, a few of which are shown here. The postcard belonged to my grandma's brother (see the postcard album I'm working on in this post) and The Night Before Christmas book belonged to me as a child. I'm lucky to have all of the books from my childhood. They are some of my favorite keepsakes.

 In this final picture, you'll see a pillow Bailey sewed with a little help from my mom. And everyone knows about the furry gray baby next to it. Maybe she's dreaming of a white Christmas!

While it has been difficult to find the Christmas spirit, I have found some comfort in bringing out cherished pieces from my childhood. In doing so, I discovered that these treasures are more powerful than they appear, connecting me to my family, past and present.


Renita said...

What a beautiful, glorious post. You've brought a tear to my eye thinking about my own childhood memories with parents who are in Heaven. I'm thinking of you and the family this Christmas and wishing you much peace and blessings for the coming year.

Janet said...

Renita, thank you so much for stopping by and offering such sweet comments. Christmas is a time of deep memories for many of us. Sending Christmas blessings to you!

Kristina said...

What treasures you found! Thanks for sharing them with us.