Sunday, December 23, 2012

Meanwhile Back At The Ranch - the 23rd of Fa La La

So...Christmas is almost here!

I can't say that I got much decorating done this year. Usually, I pull out all of the stops and true to my name, the kitsch comes out in full force. I get it completely honest as my Mom's house is a mind-boggling Christmas wonderland and before her, her Mother had some pretty notoriously over-the-top decorating trends such as hanging red satin balls off of the taxidermy deer head in her living room and putting big red bows on the concrete lions flanking each side of her front door. Oh, and those lions? They'd had a pretty bad paint job and looked like they had Hitler mustaches instead of noses. Even the red ribbons didn't cut down on the shock and awe of those lions.

These adorable crafts that my little niece and nephew made were the only decorations that I got up this year.



Though, they're worth a thousand fancy decorations if you ask me! 

And yep, in the background, there's Mr. Kitten Pants doing his best "Lords a' Leapin'" impression through the fireplace. Thankfully, it's a fake fire so he has lived to see another Christmas day. And thanks to his rather...um, exuberant manner, we didn't put up a Christmas tree this year. You see, he loves to eat wires and cords. Most recently, he ate through the stereo speaker wires and straight on through the iPod charging cord. But wait! He didn't stop there, he gnawed through the overpriced laptop cord in quick measure, causing sparks that could have very well set our bed on fire. Oh, Mister Kitten Pants! He's gained quite the alias around here:



Our cute little Christmas Crusher!
Someone get that kitty a fruitcake with a file in it!


Of course, it's all in jest because we'd rather have Mr. Kitten Pants than to have some old needle shedding Christmas tree with it's twinkling lights and glittery ornaments. He's really livened up our house this year. And soon, he'll be old enough to get a job to help support his nasty cord chewing addiction.

Anyway.....gasp. Where was I? Oh! We didn't decorate for Christmas this year but then...

Today, we were in an antique store and lo and behold, I walked into a booth that had the very same Christmas wreath that my late Grandmother had. Not the hitler mustached lion and festooned taxidermy deer Grandmother but my other Grandmother whose house I helped decorate for Christmas like clockwork every year. Each time, the last thing on my to-do list was hanging her glittery white and red wreath on the door.

Now, the sentimental impact of seeing the same wreath as my Grandmother's (which I probably hadn't seen in fifteen years) was enough to make my heart swell to three times it's size (yes, just like the Grinch...gather from that what you will) but just like a hidden DJ had been waiting to drop the needle on the track, "I'll Be Home For Christmas" started playing. And then I started crying. Not a sweet little cry but a blubbering "I'm not going to be able to stop" kind of cry. Mister Kitsch came over and I weep-talked about how my Grandmother used to have the very same wreath and blubber, blubber, blubber, whine. He steered me away from the wreath and out into the aisles and by the time we'd reached the back of the store, I'd been able to turn my emotions down to a low-simmer. (Thanks in part to the next song on the store's sound system being one of those awful manic songs by Mannheim Steamroller which can suck the holiday spirit right out of me.)

Later on, when we were getting ready to leave the store, the Mister turned to me and said, "Do you need to go see about that wreath?" I put up a half-hearted argument about how we couldn't afford it and then he reasoned that since it was my grandmother's wreath, I should have it if it gives me good memories. "Does it give you good memories?" he asked, "..or are they sad ones?" I answered back that I was pretty sure that they were good ones but that I'd have to go stand before the wreath again to see.

We walked through the store and before long, I was in the presence of the wreath again. "Good memories!" I exclaimed as I started to take the wreath down off of the wall. And once again, that DJ called Fate cued up some lump-in-the-throat lyrics to the tune of Bing Crosby warbling softly "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas....just like the ones I used to know...". I snatched that wreath from the wall and said to the Mister, "Let's get out of here fast before I start again!" I was fighting back tears as Bing crooned on and my nose filled up with the scent of plastic Christmas wreath, taking my mind straight back to my Grandmother's December carport door. 

When I placed the wreath on the checkout counter, the two ladies who run the store exclaimed how pretty it was and I whispered, "It's my Grandmother's wreath. It made me start crying in the booth." Instantly, one of the ladies said, "I know how you feel, my Mother is no longer with me" and instantly, the waterworks started flowing from behind her eyes. The other lady swallowed really hard and I could tell that she too could relate to the bittersweet nature of the holiday season. Mr. Kitsch looked trapped amongst the unpredictable sentimentality of the female set. 

Here is a picture of my Grandmother who always had the wreath (along with her brother, Buddy from the Santa Claus Smack-down post).




She wore a lot of corsages and would often stick a bow from a present onto her clothes to add to the festiveness. She really loved Christmas and I had a blast helping her decorate each year, putting red satin balls on her white tree and clipping the plastic candles with crimson lights into her windows. It was all our yearly ritual - the plunking of the knee hugger elf into his large felt boot beside the rotary phone. The taping of the plastic mistletoe over the doorframe. The decoration of the gumdrop tree. And yes, that white wreath with it's little red packages and balls and silver pinecones. 
Here is mine now at the ranch. 



I know that my Grandmother is smiling down on it from the other side (and probably wondering where my plastic mistletoe is and why I'm phoning in Christmas this year). 

This will be my last post before we start immersing ourselves in family gatherings and the ceremonial eating of everything in sight (I'm coming for you, pimento cheese sandwiches!) . I send lots of love and nostalgia to you this holiday season. Many of us have lost loved ones this season and if not, we've seen neighbors across our nation and across the world lose theirs. Take the time to make some memories if you can - and to remember those memories that have already been handed down to you. Sometimes, they linger very near to the surface and if you look or listen very closely, you can remember them just like they were yesterday.


Until next time,
x's and o's,
Eartha

30 comments:

Poodle said...

What a wonderful post. We never have Christmas without my Granny. She's been gone for 15 years, but she loved the holidays so much that we can scarcely put up a felt elf without conversation turning to her. I think half our decorations were either hers, or something she gave us at some point. So I understand your wreath. Here's to beloved family memories, and I hope you make many more this season. Merry Christmas.

art deco dame said...

Merry Christmas to you!

Sherrie said...

sniff sniff sniff...best store ever, man! That Mister, he's one in a million and so are you! (but not so much that wreath, are they everywhere?)

Welcome to DeluxeVille said...

Merry Kitschmas Eartha! I guess kitten pants will be getting a lump of coal in his stocking this year!

Here's to enjoying the joys of the season!

~MaryD

cheshirecat666 said...

Oh man,that is AWESOME!!!! And your story totally choked ME up ;)

Jamie@OwlReally.com said...

beautiful wreath and beautiful post! merry Christmas!

Laura Huey said...

Awww, Eartha! Thanks for sharing your warm, heart memories. Your blog has so much heart! Merry Christmas, Mrs. Kitsch <3

Dana@Mid2Mod said...

What a sweet post. I have several items that remind me of Christmases with my parents and grandparents too.

Merry Christmas to you and Mr. Kitsch.

thatmidcenturyfella said...

I'm a puddle when I hear Judy sing "Have Yourself a Merry Christmas"... Great post and wreath. See you on the Post-Santa side... :)

Karen/Small Earth Vintage said...

Ah, the Mannheim Steamroller Over Emotions.

I'm so glad you posted a photo of that gorgeous wreath--and that wonderful photo of your grandmother! Since my parents no longer want to bother with Christmas decorations, I've become the lucky inheritor of the whole shebang, and I well know that welling of emotion that comes with seeing something beloved from my childhood again.

Oh, Mr. Kitten Pants--what a spitfire! That photo is amazing. I know how ridiculously expensive laptop cords are. I hope Mr. Kitten Pants gets out of jail for Christmas.

Merry Christmas and a fabulous new year to you and the Mr., Eartha! xoxo

Lauren T said...

I love the wreath! Merry Christmas to you!

Rita@thissortaoldlife said...

I know just what you mean. About all of it. There are so many people now that I miss in December. Even though you made me cry, I appreciate so much that you wrote this. And I'm so glad you got that wreath. It needed to be with you. Wishing you all kinds of good things and good new memories.

darkelady said...

Awww lovely story and lovely wreath.

My mome was a massive decorator and kitschter. She would glitter the wishbone from the Thanksgiving bird and hang it on the tree. Kid you not.

wacky tacky said...

It was absolutely meant to be. I'm so gad that you got your grandma's wreath. I love that picture of her. Everything I do and say (even some of the bad stuff) reminds me of my grandparents. One time, shortly after my grandma had passed, I was at the grocery store, and I followed this woman around just be near her because she reminded so much of my own grandmother. Creepy? Probably. But I just wanted to be near her so badly. Christmas isn't all about the decorations, but it helps when some of them are particularly sentimental. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Laura said...

Bless you Eartha, and your swanky white wreath. You seem to get right at what's so important this time of year--loved ones, whether they are still with us or not. I send lots of love and nostalgia right back at you. Merry Christmas, Eartha dear.

Dina@VintageAdvantage said...

Sweetest.Post.Ever...I'm a little verklempt! Merry Christmas!

Jeanne said...

What a lovely wreath! And Mr. Kitten Pants sounds like a handful, but we do love our animals, don't we? Merry Christmas to Mr. & Mrs. Kitsch.

//Jeanne

Sara In AZ said...

Oh gosh your Grandma sounds like such a dream and she looks so lovely too...how great that you now have that fabulous wreath as another wonderful memory of her.

Hope you and the Mr have a FAB Christmas!!!

jaymie said...

Aww what a precious post about your grandmother, whom you favor by the way.
Merry Christmas and may that white plastic wreath bring you lots of joy!

Rae - Say It Aint So said...

i laughed out loud at little kitten jumping through the fire! our little cat scout jumps up into the fireplace, i guess there is a ledge up there? i'm always worried she will be in there when we light the fire!
and i'm so happy you got your grandmother's wreath! i've been looking for a set of christmas glasses like my grandma has, but no luck. what a sweet post about her. ANd her corsage! I can only image the splendor of her decorations!

Anonymous said...

We had a cord chewing kitty too. I fixed the problem by rubbing hot sauce on all of the cords in the house. It solved her habit fairly quickly. Just don't do the entire house at once, I found out the hard way that it can be quite "potent" if you do every cord in the house at once.

erin said...

you're so cute, that wreath is so pretty, and you look SO much like your grandma!!! merry christmas, eartha!!!

Claudia said...

OMGoodness, *tears flowing* I am so glad you found it. When I find things like that, I always think that they were placed so that I WOULD find them, just to remind me that they have been thinking of me too. ;-)

Pat said...

Thank you for sharing your warm Christmas memories of your grandmothers; I'm a little misty now! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and have a happy and creative New Year.

Lisa said...

Ugh! Ugh! I'm havin' a tear right now! OMG! I can't read sweet and sad and happy and nostalgic stories like this! How am I sympathy-crying from across the internet! ((collects self)) That is the sweetest story about your wreath and it's beautiful to boot. Merry Christmas to you and the Mister and even to the notorious Mr. Kitten Pants. 2013 is gonna be a keeper, I just know it!

SUZY8-TRACK said...

What a sweet post! My grandmother also loved Christmas and every year the family would load up into the car and treak over to my Grandparent's house for Christmas eve. I have to admit, the holidays haven't been quite the same since she's been gone, and its been over 20 years!

Anonymous said...

Dear Eartha,
Your wreath is beautiful...Just like your Grandmother. And you my dear, look just like her!!!
Have a Happy & Safe New Year! -Kathy

lilynymph said...

I hope you and the misters had a great holiday season! That wreath is gorgeous and so very You. Would u believe that just today I sold a woman her grandmothers armoire? I bought it at her estate sale a few years ago. It was totally by chance that I listed it yesterday and she was looking then as well. I truly think that life's random nature lines up sometimes to bring special things back to us from the past. May you treasure your memories of wreaths and grandmothers for years to come :)

Lakota [Faith Hope and Charity Shopping] said...

Aah flippin heck, you almost made ME cry. Lovely story, and I love the photo of your Gran. I need to see mine this year, she's getting on a bit.

Wishing you a healthy and happy and kitten-caused-house-fire-free 2013!
xx

New Year's Resolutions of the Stars!

lynxymama said...

OMG i love her so much and her kitchen was PINK!!! love!!! i found pink bathmats today for my bathroom, target! what is a gumdrop tree?