I’m standing at the table, unwrapping all my Christmas ornaments. As they are opened, they will be rewrapped and placed in another box for Jenn, who will be the new family Official Keeper of The Ornaments. The box was not opened last year, as I had just moved to my present situation, so this will be a real treat.
First to come out of the box, and then be placed in Jenn’s box, are the multi-color twinkle lights.
About 30 years ago, my parents bought a decorated Christmas tree from Treasure Island. The store held annual contests and charity auctions. My parents bought two strips of tickets and placed them all in the collection box of a tree decorated with colored lights and hand-made angel ornaments. Angels were prominent in mom’s decorating scheme. Although Mom had won the chance to purchase (for 50 percent off!) the tree of her dreams, it could not be removed from the store until Epiphany. Five years later, my parents decided to switch to clear lights and the drama that followed is a treasured family memory.
The first ornament I touch is clear. Inside it are ribbon strips and a photo of Gwen taken three months before her first and only Christmas. A thin strip of rose-colored ribbon covers the bale at the top of the ornament. I give a tearful smile as I remember Father Tommy Allen, the priest who officiated at Gwen’s funeral, said that sometimes God was selfish, taking His most perfect creations Home at an early age. This deprives their loved ones but also allows the newly arrived soul to remain in His Kingdom, free of life’s vicissitudes. Gwen was interred in a family plot where a small evergreen tree stands. Gwen’s Christmas tree is decorated with her special decorations. A new one is bought and added to the collection each year.
Next is a cranberry colored ornament. It is one of nine that I purchased at the former Eckerd’s in Havre de Grace. It features a sketch of SMA by Anne Bates which used to be on the cover of the service bulletins. On another ornament from this set, I placed a Tome School picture of Jenn. Seeing it always gives me a nostalgic smile remembering her at the young age of six.
One ornament is a rabbit, sitting in a rocking chair knitting. She’s wearing her robe and her own bunny slippers. It was a gift from Hank, because I used to knit a lot. However, I now have mild arthritis in my hands, causing them to ache after a half hour of knitting.
The last ornament, which I’ll specifically describe, is from a series called The Fabulous Decade. It depicted a series of cats, with thin brass numbers worked into each ornament. This one is from 1975, our 20th anniversary. It depicts an orange tabby lying on a green box. We had a brown tabby then, so this is fairly close.
Each of the ornaments remaining is equally memorable and I treasure the entire collection. Now it’s time for Jenn to take over. This has been a nostalgic afternoon.