Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Putting Away A Plethora

My big project of the day was taking down and putting away all the Christmas decorations. I know it's January 4th and I realize I'm probably the last person in the city who hasn't done this already, but when I was a kid our tradition was to always leave the tree and decorations up until after the New Year, so I'm kind of in that habit. Quite honestly, even if it hadn't been a childhood tradition, I would probably still leave them up this long. I just think the lights and the tree are so pretty. I'd probably leave them up a few weeks longer if next Monday wasn't the last day that the city will pick up trees for recycling.

This is going to sound really dorky, but I think part of why I like leaving the decorations out so long is that they're kind of like old friends that bring back lots of memories. Since you only get to see them once a year, you want to spend as much time with them as you can before they have to leave again. Cheesy, I know.

Today while I was getting ready to put things away, I first gathered the items from every room in the house and put them all onto the dining room table. I was thinking that having everything in one place would help me stay more organized as I put stuff back in their boxes, and I think the plan worked somewhat, but it also looked quite disastrous for a while first. I thought since I didn't take any pictures of the decorations while they were up this year, maybe I would bust out the camera and take a few pictures while they were coming down. This was the table loaded with all the decor, minus a few Christmas linens that were in the wash.

I like how Hope is standing there in a position that makes it look like she's wearing a Christmas bandana. Notice that the tree was still decorated at this point--the table didn't include any ornaments.

I realized at this point that 90% of the decorations around our house are not items that we actually purchased ourselves--they're almost all gifts. I think that's why they bring back so many memories and emotions, all relating to who gave them to us. Even if they're things we wouldn't have purchased for ourselves, they make us think of the family members or friends or former students (from my preschool teaching days) who gave them to us.

These two angels (you can barely see the back one) were presents from our friend Ted's parents the first two Christmases we were married.

I think those tall angels were gifts from one of my parents. The angel candle holders were from my dad. The brown angels behind the tall ones were from Chad's mom Joan. I think the stuffed Santa (whose beard you can see at the bottom) was from Chad's parents early in our marriage. His beard needs to be sewn back on because Hope chewed it off several years ago.

This nativity set is brand new. My dad just sent it to me for Christmas this year.

I'm thinking this nativity set came from my mom, and I think the Santa stacking dolls on the right were from her as well. Oh, and the plate with the snowmen was from her too--that was a present she got me one year after I'd admired it in the Hallmark store while we were out Christmas shopping together.

I think this is one of the few things on the table I actually purchased. I love these adorable little snowmen!!

These three little carolers made from clay were hand sculpted and painted by my brother's old girlfriend Cynthia. The little box of potpourri on the left was from one of my little preschoolers named Connor.

This cute little KU Christmas tree was either from my mom or Chad's parents--I can't remember.

The medium Santa behind that candle was a gift from one of my preschool students--a little girl named Maggie. The tall Santa is brand new too--I "won" that in the white elephant gift exchange at our small group Christmas party this year and I really like it!

I think maybe I bought the striped candles myself at some point, but the plates and bowls were a Christmas present from my dear husband, who surprised me with them one year when I was admiring them in Target. I love that print and wish I would have gone back and bought more!

This is definitely my most nostalgic of decorations. My mom made this when I was just a toddler, and it was displayed every Christmas in our house when I was a kid. I loved getting this rather hideous Santa out of the box every year and placing all of the little hand-wrapped packages around him and in his little burlap sack. I still do. I think I might need to replace that snow one of these days though!

There are so many others that have stories of their own, but I'll spare you any more pictures since this post is entirely too long already. Farewell to my little Christmas friends--see you all again in about 11 months!

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