10 January 2015

Christmas: Grandma's Sleigh Bell

 As I've been packing up my Christmas decorations this week, I wanted to be sure to share the story of this old sleigh bell. It became a special part of my Christmas decorations this year.
You may recall that my paternal grandma recently passed away. After getting her settled in the nursing home last February, I began the task of sorting through her household belongings. Grandma didn't have much of value, but she did have a few family heirlooms which I found inside her cedar chest. 

One day a few weeks before she died, I took the boxes of heirlooms to the nursing home and, one by one, asked her about each item. At 102, her memory was remarkably sharp, and she told me several interesting stories which I scribbled on a notepad while sitting on the floor at her feet. As she reminisced, I attached a note to each memento with her preference as to which family member should be its new caretaker.

This sleigh bell intrigued me from the minute I found it, and I loved it even more after I heard its story. It turns out that this is the last remaining sleigh bell of a set that my late grandpa used to ring outside their children's windows on Christmas Eve. I have my own vivid memories of watching and listening for Santa as a child at my grandparents' house, so I can imagine the excitement my dad and his sisters would have felt when they heard the bells, telling them that Santa was on his way!
 The #12 on the bottom indicates the size of the bell. The bigger the number, the bigger the bell. This is a large bell with a deep, clanging sound which must have carried very well to the children's upstairs bedrooms. Twelve is also my birthday month. I told Grandma that day how much I love sleigh bells. When she gave me the bell, it brought tears to my eyes. It represents a very special connection to her, my grandpa, and my dad.

I wrote out the story that Grandma told me and tied it onto the bell. This humble, tarnished bell will be a very special part of my Christmases for years to come.


Sarah Coggins said...

Oh, Janet, I love this! It's simply beautiful in its own right, but even more so with the added history. I can see why you would treasure it.

Kimberly Marie said...

Me, too! I'm so sentimental when it comes to family "treasures" and the story behind them! The old saying, "Little things mean a lot" sure does "ring" true here!