Monday, December 13, 2010

Project #8: Ornamentation

This week's reader project -- called Ornamentation -- is simple. Maybe, as you and your family have built up holiday traditions over the years, some object from those traditions has built up a special meaning.

It might be a Christmas ornament, but it doesn't have to be. I find myself thinking of my dad's old pocketknife, and how he'd get it out to cut open the tape on his presents so we could use the boxes over again.

Whatever it is, I'd like you to tell the story of that one special object that you think of at the holidays.

If you have a photo that helps the story, even better.

Send whatever you've got to ttomlinson@charlotteobserver.com, or you can just tell your story in the comments.

6 comments:

Shannon said...

My grandmother lived in a little 3 room house with no indoor bathroom. She heated only one room with an oil heater and the kitchen and bedroom were sooo cold but cozy. Her house always smelled of cloves and cinnamon and I loved to go there. At Christmas she had a little 12" bottlebrush tree that took a place of honor in her livingroom. She made it seem like that little tree was 10' tall.

She has been gone for 36 years now, but, that tree is part of my families Christmas tradition. No matter how many trees, decorations, presents, wreaths, or doodads we have, it is not really Christmas until that little tree takes it's place of honor in my house.
I miss my grandmother every day, but especially at Christmas. But, I know she is still with us and always will be through her little tree.

Lynne Stevenson said...

The last Christmas that my Aunt Roberta was alive, Christmas 2006, she crocheted a pastel striped afghan for me. It is one of the few things that she made for me that I still own. She was talking about making a quilt for me when she suddenly passed away from undetermined causes on January 31, 2007.
I used to keep it in my car when I was driving from Bennettsville, SC to Coastal Carolina University in Conway, SC everyday. I used to wrap up in it while I slept as I was waiting for my classes to begin. It now sits on my shelving unit wedged between my set of dusty blue flannel sheets and my husband's Harley Davidson sheet set he bought on clearance from Wal-Mart a couple of years ago.
Anytime I begin to miss her, all I have to do is pull it out from its hiding place, close my eyes, wrap myself up in its soft fluffy fibers, and I can feel the love and attention to detail she placed into every stitch of it. Performing this little ritual, especially at this time of the year, somehow helps to make her absence easier to bear.

Nancy said...

My dad and his brother always had an undercurrent of conflict, but it rarely showed up overtly during the holidays. One year though, one of them (and I'm not sure which) gave the other a sack of white athletic socks for Christmas. The next year,the recipient wrapped up the same unopened package of socks and regifted it to his brother. This happened year after year, until the size of the family led to separate Christmas dinners when the younger generations outgrew my grandparents' small house. I'm not sure who ended up with the socks. I'll bet he never wore them.

Anonymous said...

My mother had a small ceramic Santa who had his sack behind him. Each December she would place it somewhere in the house when she decorated for Christmas. My father would then find it, sneak it out of the house, have it planted with a pointsettia, and then get it back into the house to a new location. My mother would then have to find it - sometimes well after New Year's.
My husband started the same tradition in our home with a ceramic boot. We have found that when he stuffs the toe of the boot with newpaper, the pointsettia stays healthier and blooms longer.
The pointsettia showing up in the boot connects me to my father (he died in 1996) and makes me smile! And amazes me when I realize how such a small piece of tradition brings such JOY.

Anonymous said...

There is no Christmas in my family until a live tree is procured. There was a time when it was cut on our property. Now it is purchased from a roadside person who is selling trees from the family tree farm. Only a live Christmas tree, no matter how small and how shrubby it may be, can signify Christmas in my family.

Anita <> said...

At first glance, you might stop and scratch your head. But one of my most treasured Christmas decorations is a little rusty scoop, filled with colorful foil-wrapped candies.

I grew up on a poultry farm, and I loved to help my daddy. My mama once said I’d follow my daddy right up the steps to heaven! When I was a small child my favorite time to help daddy was when we had biddies – small chicks, under a week old. Little fluffy chicks were just right for my chubby little hands to pick up and pet.

When the chicks were small, daddy had to hand-feed them. He’d fill a wheelbarrow with chicken feed, and then make the rounds through the chicken house, dumping a scoopful of feed into each of eight trays around the brooders. I so much wanted to help – but daddy’s big feed scoop was just too much for a 4-year-old to handle.

But one morning, my daddy gave me a surprise: my very own pint-sized feed scoop! He’d cut and shaped an old Prestone anti-freeze can, then added a handle made of a long bolt wrapped in electrician’s tape. Three scoops of feed from my little scoop was roughly the equivalent of one from daddy’s big scoop. I would very carefully count “One…. Two… Three!” as I helped him feed the chickens.

Eventually, I outgrew the little scoop. It sat rusting on a shelf in the barn, forgotten for several years.

As an adult, I was thrilled when I “discovered” my little scoop again! It opened a floodgate of happy memories of a little girl who wanted nothing more than to make her daddy and mama proud of her.

So now it serves scoops of kisses to folks I love during the most beautiful and blessed time of the year.