My mom continues with her weekly column in The Marshall Advocate, our local newspaper. She’s been in the Christmas spirit as we’ve been decorating with all our favorites. Numerous Christmas items from 5 separate bins have been emptied and placed inside the house and out. Each has found its special nook or cranny in my mom’s smaller house. So many memories!
In the newspaper’s December 11 issue, my mom shared her favorite tree ornaments, some new and others old, plus their stories and special meanings. Here I share her article with you.
Walk with Me by Priscilla Wieck
It is beginning to look like Christmas in our small mid-western town. During my daily walks this week I saw a lot of outside work being done. Some folks were finishing a late leaf raking in preparation for winter snows. Others were in the beginnings of stringing lights on roof eaves and hanging green garlands with red ribbons around lamp posts and on porches. Lighted trees sprouted up everywhere, inside and outside. It seemed to me that they made their appearance later than usual this year but that may be because at our house a Christmas tree was up and lighted the day after Thanksgiving.
For the past few years, decorating trees with various themes has become popular. We see Grinch trees, Disney trees, all one color trees, country trees ,whatever that makes a tree different . It seems that anything goes as long as it stands out from the others. For some people, Christmas trees have become the “eye candy” of the season featuring glitz , glitter and spectacle. For me, however, my tree has become a tree of memories and I enjoy a trip down memory lane with each bauble I hang on its branches.
When I moved into a smaller house, I downsized my Christmas tree ornaments and kept only the ones that had meaning for me. I’ll share with you some of the memories that the “keepers” invoke .
Two of my oldest ornaments are a 3 inch cardboard house partnered by a 4 inch cardboard church both with painted windows and doors covered in glitter.
When I place them on the tree each year I think of the church and parsonage in Massachusetts where I spent the first seven years of my life. They are always hang near a paper angel with foil wings that held the place of honor on the top on all of my childhood Christmas trees.
Each year I carefully remove from their cardboard nest of tissue , a dozen blown glass balls of various colors and designs that I purchased at Cauldwell’s Store the first year we lived in Marshall. The 1958 sticker price remains on the carton–$1.35. What fun it was to wander the aisles of that emporium!
Mildred Frazier, our former school librarian and good friend, gave me a tiny molded , painted wax angel with halo many years ago. She became my mentor and friend for my first years of teaching in Marshall. Lots of memories from those years!
There is a small composite lamb that daughter Connie placed on the church tree as part of a Christmas program when she was three years of age. It hangs near an intricately woven bamboo tree ornament that she brought from China along with a golden , red tasseled Buddha. It’s good to be able to share Christmas with her this year.
Sally Carpenter once gifted me with a lovely glass icicle that I place on my tree each year in her memory while saying a prayer of thanks for her many years of friendship .I miss her dearly.
One year, my former sister-in law sent me a little long nosed felt mouse with a granny cap that makes me smile every time I see it. We may never meet again in person, but I treasure the years spent with her in our family.
A picture of my granddaughter, Meredith in a baby’s first Christmas frame is also a welcome sight each year and a reminder of how fast time passes. She is now 35.
More recently, I have added to my memory collection , a felted, fiber ornament in the shape of an alpaca made by a Sister Of Providence at the nearby St. Mary of the Woods College on the outskirts of West Terre Haute. It is a reminder of a visit to see the college’s alpacas with my brother and his wife when both were able to travel here.
I have too many Christmas tree memories to share them all in this column. This year I added two more. One, a white long bearded gnome(this is the year of the gnome ) was purchased last week on a shopping trip with Connie and the other is a glittery winged angel in traditional Guatamalian dress made in that country by the Louis Garcia family. These new additions will be entered in my time capsule, stored carefully away at the end of the season and welcomed back next year as the newest members in my Christmas Tree bank of memories.
“It’s not what’s under the Christmas tree that matters,it’s who is around it.”–Anon.