Today marks the end of Christmas. It's the Epiphany - the day that marks the revelation of God incarnate as Jesus Christ.
Today we took down the outdoor Christmas lights. We removed the fenceline wreaths - ten of them - and hosed them down before their return to our basement. I began removing ornaments from our Christmas Tree after brunch.
This year's tree was tall and wide, one I'd found at the tree farm down the road. I had decorated it with years and years of special memories, and today was a sweet review of those decades. A tiny pair of skies - a leftover from Mrs Green's tree back in my childhood. Mrs. Green was the perfect neighbor who had impeccable manners, saw humor, put up with us five kids next door, and was an elegant hostess. She was the one who suggested an outing to Willard Stone's house, who was a sculptor who lived a few towns away. His sculpture has made it all the way to the White House Rose Garden. See how just one ornament has me tripping, merrily, down memory lane?
There's the handmade cardinal from son Graham's 6th grade teacher; Graham is now 27. Two ornaments made by two sisters, both of which hold their grade school photos. They're in their 30s now. I have origami and high school geometry lessons hanging on the tree. Oh - two of my favorites: Christmas Cow, from someone's nursery school, and Christmas Tree, also nursery school art. They are both pretty ugly to anyone but me. Uglier still are the two pop cans, made into a reindeer and Santa. Santa lost his beard years ago. The reindeer could do with some new antlers. I may have to cull this herd next year. Or send them to the artists' homes for their own Christmas trees.
I see the three leather camels, purchased in our newlywed year in Egypt. And the teeny, tiny needlepoint ornament I made of our second wedding anniversary: MSU:1985, when that Spouse o' Mine began his PhD program. I intended to make an ornament for each year, but, as so often it does, life swiftly got in the way.
There are the three delicate baby ornaments, to celebrate three delicate lives: our babies. I have my felt stocking ornament from Mrs.Slinkard, my 2nd grade teacher. It still has my name glittered on it. There is the beautiful crocheted stocking from our son's girlfriend Austen. How sweet to have an age-old stocking ornament from someone I loved fifty years ago, and to have a beautiful (and perfect) stocking from someone we love who just entered our lives this decade.
And so it goes, my love for my wildly decorated Christmas trees. I had an acquaintance years ago who decorated her tree with gorgeous Lenox "collection" ornaments. It was beautiful and elegant, year after year. I loved looking at her tree.
But, when it comes to my home and Christmas, I am so happy to re-visit all the years that my three ornament boxes hold.
Oh - and the ornament boxes? They, too, are a sweet, sweet memory. Years ago when my siblings and I all had young children, it was decided and decreed upon that we would draw names for gifts for "Big Family Christmas". My sweet sister Barb had drawn our name, and she had sent us three graduating "hat boxes" full of Christmas joy. And those three boxes, from there on, became our ornament boxes. Every year when I pull these out of the attic, they put a smile on my face. I think of her. I reflect on our family. I silently laugh at all the merriment.