Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Gathered Collection: Treasured Ornaments and Decorations

Christmas has come down from the attic closet, this year with a tornadic whirlwind of just a few hours time. NEVER in the history of all my Christmas decorating have I finished putting out my collections in three hours, but this year, that has happened. Mostly this decorating frenzy occurred because of my broken arm and the pain and frustration I've been dealing with. Vaughn and Parker pitched in and we conquered, and I mean it exactly like that, People, CONQUERED the Christmas decorating. I have to admit it didn't turn out half-bad, considering I didn't mess with it much, you know, sitting and contemplating and rearranging and CLEANING...(nah, none of that this year). 

But now that it's done and my pain is a lot less, I'm thinking about my favorite Christmas doo-dads and thought you might like to hear more about them.

The Willow Tree nativity was collected with great sacrifice through a 3 or 4 year period, each set or piece added being as special as the next. The idea was sparked in Colorado, I think, at a Christmas store. The large collection on the store shelf was so big and powerful, yet quiet and still. I wanted my Christmas home to include the "O Holy Night" feeling this set gave me...the reason for the season. I started with Jesus and Mary and Joseph, then kept collecting at quite a slow pace. Some came from that Christmas store, some from online sales I found once and awhile. Some pieces were gifts from friends. Vaughn made the creche (when he saw the price they were asking). I'm glad he's so talented (and willing to help me).

Of course the grandgirls love this nativity and have moved and rearranged the pieces before, but this vintage plastic set is right on their level on the coffee table, put there on purpose so they can live and relive that special night as they please (and without Gram hovering quite so much).

It totally blows my mind that this tree topper from the 50's (I would think) has made it through to 2012. You know me, you have to know the story. It belonged to Willard and Oleta Turpin, who were neighbors of ours when we bought our first house. Jake was 2 months old when we got to know them. I have the box (that's one reason I suppose it's survived) and I love taking it out each year and admiring it's color and style. I don't think I've ever put it on the top of the tree, strangely enough. It usually ends up in a bowl with other vintage friends like it has this year.

I have a serious love affair going on with Jim Shore snowmen. My gathering of 7 snowmen is totally enough (the class and I have been studying wants and needs this week) but I sure wouldn't hate it if another one or two came to stay at my house. The collection was started with my friends Sue and Judy in Estes Park, Colorado one year. Of course we've contributed to the collections of our friends and that's helped them grow. I decorate with this adorable crew through January. They've been other places, but since I have this many and love them together better than apart, they have lived on the piano for the past few winters, where we'll later-on-in-the-season enjoy lots of Christmas carols with Jake playing. Oh what sweet times these snowmen have seen, watching faces filled with Christmas joy gather around them, singing and loving. That.was.mushy.

Speaking of caroling, sweet, little, vintage carolers are becoming a problem. The junkier-looking, the better. Shabby fits in perfectly at my house. If it looks like it was on Grandma's end table every year for 50 years, I couldn't be happier. Since we were decorating this year at super-speed, it was easy to gather them and plop them in one space in the dining area.  They like it here.

Plastic reindeer that were more than likely 29 cents or less at a TG&Y or a Ben Franklin somewhere are another love for me. I have a few hanging on the tree and some gathered here in the kitchen. They're still and quiet, like I need to remember to be sometimes.

As each year goes by, I plus and minus a little Christmas decor; adding the nostalgic, the wabi-sabi, subtracting the trendy.

You're off the hook. Because it's a sunny December, my photos are giving me fits, so I'll stop here. Next year I'll continue my tour of Christmas at the Johnson house, probably with some of the same displays.

(Don't be surprised if we decorate family-style again next year...I sorta liked getting it all accomplished with less time involved.) That way I got to spend good quality time doing what I love to do during the holidays...turning the lights down low and enjoying the lights on the tree and the feeling of Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

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