A bow or a nod?

To tradition, that is. Christmas traditions in particular. What’s your preference? I’m kind of on the fence between wanting every Christmas to be just the same — same decorations in the same place, same cookies, same carols, same rituals — and wanting to mix it up a bit.

Oh, who am I kidding — breaking from tradition is hard for me. My mother still lives in the house we grew up in (well, my oldest siblings remember the house before — really only the 3rd floor apartment of a house — 2 bedrooms — for 7 people — with the bathroom downstairs! — imagine it), but our “real house” has been our house for nearly 50 years. And the Christmas decorations go in the same place always — holly garland and elf doll hanging in one doorway, tinsel and satiny bells on the living room mirror, different holly garland and little pipe cleaner dolls my cousin made 40 years ago on the mantle, manger scene in the (decorative) fireplace…you get the idea. Although the tree has moved around — sometimes in the hall, sometimes in the living room, most recently in the dining room — it’s always on the platform my dad made and always with some goofy plastic light-up angel my mom insists on putting on top.

This year, though, I’m having to break with my own traditions a bit. The tree I’ve had for 10 years or so, and still like, just won’t fit in our house, so we had to opt for one of those skinny, “alpine” trees. It looks neat (still undecorated), but I’m wondering how the ornaments will work and I’m having a few palpitations about only using white lights because I think they look better on it but I have always used colored and white before. And I love the look of those primitive-looking trees, but can’t see going and buying all new “theme” decorations. Heck, I can’t imagine Christmas without the quirky ornaments Diane and I bought on clearance after Christmas at Kaufmann’s about 25 years ago, or the ones acquired over years of annual “ornament exchanges” with my dearest girlfriends, or other special ones I’ve gathered — my “winged” collections of birds and angels especially. (And it’s not just MY tree that has to be the same, R&K had better have a place for all those ornaments I’ve given them over the years. I’ll be looking…I know the cats can’t have broken all of them…)

So while I appreciate all those beautiful and unique trees and rooms that show up in all the decorating magazines, you won’t see a “blue & white” theme at my house this year, or all the presents wrapped alike in recycled brown paper, or 6 oranges in a glass apothecary jar (although, only because I don’t have an apothecary jar and how do you keep the oranges from rotting?).

What you will see is a lot of “festiveness” (last year, with Mike’s and my collections combined, it looked like Santa stopped by and threw up Christmas) — a little country and a little Victoria — a little homespun and a little glitter — a little kitsch and a little class. I guess that all adds up to “eclectic,” but for me, it’s just Christmas. Just the way I like it. (Oh, and Mike too of course 😉

The mistletoe hung in the castle hall,
The holly branch shone on the old oak wall.
                                ~ Thomas Haynes Bayley

1 Comment

  1. CUTEBLOG NAME said,

    Thursday, December 6, 2007 at 9:38 am

    Six of seven was born while at the apt. Must have been the proverbial straw.

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