Like most families when I was a child, mine didn’t really decorate for Thanksgiving. We sometimes put paper cutouts in the shape of a turkey or a cornucopia on the window. And we had a harvest-themed tablecloth and napkins in seasonal colors we would use for Thanksgiving dinner. But right after Thanksgiving, Mom would bring up the huge box of ornaments and lights from the basement; it was time to start decorating for the Christmas holiday.
It was so exciting to see that box and watch as Mom carefully removed the delicate ornaments from the newspaper that she used to protect them. We used the same ornaments — balls, elves, angels, and figurines — each year to decorate for the holiday.
Grandma also put up decorations that children in the family had made, like the bell my cousin Ricky made for her out of a paper egg carton. She kept that ornament for many years, and remembering it brings back fond memories!
When I decorate for the holiday, I like to display familiar treasures like the three porcelain snowman bells that my aunt bought for Grandma Jennie in Woolworths in 1950 and framed photos of family Christmases from years ago in Brooklyn. I put holiday cards I’ve saved from previous years in a basket where I can look at them and remember Christmases past.
Instead of buying a Christmas tree each year, I decorate my little fig tree with red birds and bells. I also like to keep a bowl filled with traditional holiday treats like tangerines and nuts. They make a homey, natural, and edible holiday decoration.
Bringing out the old, familiar decorations is one of my traditions that makes the holiday special. I wouldn’t think of replacing my familiar treasures with new ornaments.