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!
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).
Until next time,
x's and o's,