Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas in Bear Country

Bearmas 2011

It's Christmas time again although it's hard to tell by the weather. Here in CT we've been enjoying temps in the 50's every day. Maybe Mom Nature is giving us a break. It hasn't been an easy year here in New England weather-wise.

We normally start the Christmas decorating shortly after Thanksgiving. Over that first week of December, lights gradually appear but not this year. After Snow Storm Alfred gypped us out of Halloween, we're NAILING Christmas. At 12:01 the day after Thanksgiving this year, it was as if someone flipped a switch and Connecticut lit up like the Vegas Strip.

There are more lights than ever this year. Yards are jam packed with moving, singing, shaking and ringing elves, reindeer and Santas of every shape and size. I've seen more inflatable you-know-whos than I can count.

As for us, well the Bear's sporting his hat and spear and Radioactive Santa is in his place of honor on the garage roof.

I normally decorate everything that doesn't get out of my way. I collected handmade ornaments for years and when Son O'Mine was little, we'd spend a whole day hanging them all on the (real) tree. I get this Christmas mania from my maternal grandmother, Nanny. She loved Christmas. I mean, LOVED Christmas. This woman had 6 children and a husband who was a career Navy man so they traveled a lot.  Nanny never had much money, so she hand-made all her gifts - I particularly recall a blue shag hat with earflaps that she made me. Ugliest thing ever but it was warm and made with love so I wore it. Anything my Nanny made carried love in it and that made it magical.

Christmas was her holiday. She had one of those silver aluminum trees with two (yes, two!) colorwheels. Each year she'd decorate the tree in a theme - balls, garland, icicles - all in one color. One year it was red, one year green, one year blue - but my all time favorite was the year she did the tree in PURPLE.

Yep, a 7 foot shiny silver tree hung from top to bottom in deep purple balls and garland. It was spectacularly hideous. Long after she passed away, it was the topic of laughter anytime our family got together - that damn tree with the purple balls.

Over the years, I surrendered to the ease of the artificial tree. I think it was after the year I watched one too many Martha shows and felt the need to wrap every freakin branch with lights - it was gorgeous, but it was a bitch to take down. After about 5 minutes of trying to remove the lights, Sparky just said "Get out of the way!" and chucked the entire 7 foot tree out the front door, lights and all. I was not allowed to watch Martha again.

This year, I decided to scale back. I put up the tree and decided I really liked the way it looked with lights and no ornaments. 

Tree au naturale

So I went through the boxes and pulled a few simple pieces to put up and left the rest.

But I found one thing that I couldn't put away. It's the only ornament on my tree. It wouldn't be Christmas without it.

from her original tree

Merry Christmas, Nanny.



No comments:

Post a Comment