The thoughts I'm having about Christmas, tonight, are too long for facebook, so here they are.
My two sisters and I have been exchanging Christmas ornaments for twenty plus years now. Most years, the ornaments I choose for them are the most important gifts I give or make. I know the same is true for them.
Our trees are filled with our love for each other and powerful symbols of our intimate knowledge of one another. Some years, I give or receive ornaments that reflect memories or our childhood. Some ornaments speak of the receiving sisters' personalities, characters, crazy idiosyncrasies. Some reflect the giver's qualities. Some are just beautiful. or charming. or worthy of a good laugh. The moose in the outhouse ornament comes to mind.
From T, a Mickey Mouse snowglobe ornament ~ she loveslovesloves Disney. (We all pitched in and got her one share in Disney stock one Christmas, so she's an owner, don'cha know.) A paper heart from Solvang, harkening to our Danish roots and family travels. A blown glass nutcracker, reminiscent of the ballet we love and T's own collection of these toothy holiday perennials.
From the beautiful, dramatic D, a string of glittery packages, about 6 inches long, which brings her to mind each time I hang it on the tree. A fragile and lovely stained glass poinsettia, made for us by a client of hers. A tiny stuffed sock monkey, a memory of two days before my wedding when we sat around making red-heeled sock monkeys. Oh my God, we laughed and laughed that day in our crazy sowin' bee.
This year, I received two that I will fondly hold, and think about, and hang on the tree with care each Christmas. They are already among my favorites.
From T, a handmade paper, wire and bejeweled ornament that evokes her passion for scrapbooking. Her artistry, too. T is the one who has no ability to see herself truly, while she lives for others, particularly our family. She's a matriarch in training.
From D, I received the charming and pugnacious blue witch faerie of Sleeping Beauty. To us, those faeries have long represented my great aunts and grandmother, three women who could finish each other's sentences, who probably enjoyed one another's company above all other. Bless my sister for bringing those beloved women back to us. and to our Christmas tree, each year for years to come.
I sent them, just so's you know, corn husk angels. But I can't take the credit. I asked my mother, Momala, the Mothership, to get ornaments in Brea, Kentucky on her recent visit to the home place. My dad was from Kentucky. and the corn husk angels she found? ... In my mother's china hutch for some 30 years or so, she has displayed a trio of corn husk dolls, three girls holding hands and standing in a ring. My two sisters and me.
...I can't say that I have felt the spirit of every Christmas. I know it's evaded me now and again. But in the main, I love Christmas. I love thinking of the people I love and choosing a gift or card that I think will touch them. I love making apple butter for gifts, a tradition in my family and one that my neighbor M and I have adopted over the last three years. I love that I don't have to spend a dime to give (although I usually do) ~ I just have to give my effort to think of loved ones. Really think of them. I love making Christmas about the people I love and about mankind's better self and about a beautiful pacifist soul who lived 2000 years ago or so.
and when I look at our tree, I love seeing how others love me.