I took the Christmas tree down today. I'm happy to see it go, but I will miss the twinkly lights at night. We still watched movies by the lights of the tree and it made it feel all nice and cozy. I have some decorative lights I might have to put up somewhere so we can keep that cozy feeling. There is a string of lights with big bulbs (think outdoor party lights) up in the window, but they're pretty bright and not as cozy as I'd like it to be. I have some lights with tin shades, I'll try those out and see what those do.
All the Christmas stuff is put away, except for the collection of Santas and snowmen on top of the cabinet in the dining room. They go in a locked cabinet separate from all the other holiday decorations that go in the attic. Many of these were carved and painted by my Dad and Step-Mom and I love looking at them. I just want to look at them a little longer before it's time to put them away again for another year.
It was hard to decorate the tree when I first set it up. Last year was a banner year for broken ornaments and they all went into a box to be repaired, but I never found the time and put them away with the other ornaments. This year, opening the ornament box, the first thing I saw was the box of broken ornaments sitting on top and it just broke my heart. I pulled a few out-- the broken 'starfish' which was a fish dressed as Marilyn Monroe ("star" fish, get it?) and we got her before we had the kids; the cute turtle with dangly legs that had the felt flowers ripped out of the flower pot in its' arms; the roly-poly paper mache' cat that got squished... I shoved the box back into the big box and closed the lid, I couldn't bear to look at it anymore. It reminded me too much of how upset I was and how mad I got when they broke.
For a week, the tree stood there, only the lights kept it from being bare. After much pestering from the kids, I finally brought out the box of ornaments again, this time pulling out the box of broken ones and not looking at it, putting it out of sight. I was picky with decorating the tree with only certain ornaments this time... none of the old and fragile ones; none of the precious hand-made ones; none of the cheap gaudy ones that I never liked but the kids loved. Slowly, the tree started to look pretty, simple and light. I have no pictures of the tree, I'm sad to say, but you can take my word for it that it turned out mighty nice.
When I took down the ornaments, I finally went through the box of broken ones. I discovered my heart was healing and it wasn't so hard to pick out the lost causes and throw them away. I didn't fix any of them, but put them back into the box, much lighter now and, honestly, I'll probably throw away the rest of them next Christmas. Just not ready to say good-bye.
2012 was a very good Christmas, our memories tucked away and put into the mental attic, just as I put away the Christmas decorations. Next Christmas, I will remember 2012 as the year zero ornaments broke. But more importantly, I'll remember that my children are more precious than a broken ornament.