Momma’s Christmas Stuff

It was the day after Thanksgiving. While many were out Black Friday shopping, I was making multiple trips up the ladder and into the attic to retrieve boxes of Christmas decorations. With my parents’ health in decline, my mom had been displaying fewer decorations each Christmas. This Christmas, she decided to share her Christmas treasures with the family. So, into their attic I went.

Christmas Trio

These, and many like them, encased lights and were strung around our Christmas trees.

My job was to retrieve boxes of Christmas decorations which had been collected over the past seven decades. Each trip back from the attic ended with me unpacking a box and displaying the contents on the dining room table. When the table was filled, I set up a folding table for the overflow. Filling it, I brought in another table. By the time I was finished there were three tables loaded with figurines, plastic holly, ornaments and candles. Wax carolers stood poised in attention. Electric log candles were ready to be plugged into an outlet. Snowmen were braving the warm 72 degrees in the house.  Painted pinecones had lost their scent, but not their silver, red and green spray paint. The little old red felt reindeer was propped against an empty manger.  Serving plates that each Christmas had offered peanut-butter fudge, fruitcake, and fingerlings, now sat empty among angels, Santa Clauses, snow bunnies, glistening red apples, Christmas tree salt & pepper shakers and a lime-green Mr. Grinch. Christmas dishes, wreaths and red bows took their place under the tables. Decades of Christmas memories, randomly displayed in a room of clutter. It was beautiful.

About half-way through the process my mom entered the room. This was when the task became an unforgettable moment. This morning turned into an unexpected walk down memory lane I would not trade for any deal on this Black Friday.

Christmas for mom was a time for her to bake, gift, host, worship, carol, and yes, decorate. Christmas has always been my mom’s favorite time of the year—hence the truckload of Christmas décor. Those year-round Christmas stores were made for people like her.  She had no qualms about buying a Christmas dish in June or a wax Christmas tree candle in August. Preparing for Christmas was never out of season.

For the next hour it was just the two of us. I unpacked boxes and she reminisced.  “Sallie gave me that.” “Oh, we got that in Gatlinburg. There should be two of them. I want to keep one of them and put it out this year.”  “I had forgotten about that.” “That was given to me by the ladies at the Forestdale church when I was the Alliance Women’s president.”

Each trip back from the attic I heard more. “I think one of your girls might enjoy this in their home one day.” “This manger scene belonged to your grandmother, your dad’s mother.” “This was my mother’s.” “I think Ronnie wants these villages.”

Haphazardly lying on top of a few ornaments was a faded something only a mother could appreciate. Pointing to the homemade Christmashanging ball, she said “You made that for me.” Indeed I did. I remember it well. My 5th grade art teacher instructed us to bring in old Christmas cards. With mom’s help, I completed that portion of the assignment. Then, there in the basement classroom of Charles A. Brown Elementary we were given a circular mold from which we cut pictures from the cards and a special green-colored paper. We were then instructed to fold the cut-outs and, with the help of Elmer’s Glue, attach them to one another. Threading the red yarn through the ball, I completed the art project, and proudly presented it to mom. That Christmas, and for the next few years, I took great satisfaction in seeing the ball of used Christmas cards hanging prominently from the chandelier above the dining room table.

Once all the boxes had been emptied and the house scoured for remnant Christmas décor, I helped mom pick out a few items to keep and display this Christmas. The rest she was giving away to the family.

Gwyne, Ronnie—along with Trina and Tori—and I gathered our Christmas memories. I immediately gravitated toward two black wrought iron glass globe candle lanterns that had graced our family piano every year at Christmas during my childhood. I gathered figurines to pass along to our children. I grabbed a sampling of plastic trains, Santa heads and white mice holding various musical instruments that had been strung around our Christmas trees of yesteryear. And, not to be forgotten, I carefully placed in my box a hanging homemade Christmas ornament that my family will be forced to endure at least for this one Christmas.

Merry Christmas momma!


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