Saturday, December 04, 2010

Guest Post: Holiday Heirlooms

Today I'm pleased to announce the very first guest post for A Shady Glade Christmas. This post comes from Erica of Soon Remembered Tales. Make sure you head over to her blog to check it out. So without any further delay, take it away Erica!

Aside from New Years and Valentine's Day I am a fan of holidays. St. Patrick's Day? The Fourth of July? Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving? I love them all and I go all out. I have stories for each holiday and a growing excitement as they near. But Christmas... Christmas is my favorite. While I decorate for all of the holidays my Christmas decorations have a different level of importance. I am obsessed with the history of my family. I'm fascinated by where we as a group of people have come from and I find anything that has been passed down is all the more special. So each year on the night of Thanksgiving I decorate my room. I bring out of storage the two foot Christmas tree that sits in my window and the box of decorations I've accumulated. That box is one of my most precious possessions and holds four generations of Christmas celebrations.

An important addition to my tree are the glass ornaments my Grandmother had bought for the Christmas trees of my mothers childhood. The glass is thin and the paint of the ornaments speckled and faded. But to me they are the most beautiful glass ornaments I have seen. The Christmas lights give them a certain glow that you can't find from the plastic ornaments on sale today. They're double my age and made of such breakable material and yet they've endured a move from New Jersey to Florida. From Florida to New York. And finally from New York to Pennsylvania. Hopefully they'll last even longer. I dream of the day that I'll have my own place, my own tree, and I can decorate it with these ornaments.

The tree also features trinkets of my mother and I. Ornaments my parents had prior to my arrival and ornaments given to me fill up the remaining spaces. I didn't go to a store and buy a bunch of ornaments because I needed to fill the tree. I have been building a collection since childhood and every ornament has a story attached to it. Every one has a memory. Whether it's an ornament purchased over 50 years ago or one given to me by a beloved dance teacher. Some are mementos from trips to different places, but they all- no matter what- have a story.

My great grandparents came from Sicily when they were only in their teens. While one left Sicily by sneaking onto a ship during a disease outbreak the other was relatively alone and without family. They both passed through Ellis Island, they both worked their butts off in New York City prior to the first World War, and they both made a life for themselves. They fascinate me. Unfortunately they both passed away before I was born but through stories and photos I feel as if I knew them personally. The most important item I have in my box of decorations is three wooden carvings. Lightly painted with precision the wooden objects are Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus. They traveled from Germany where they were made at the site of the Passion Plays. My grandparents bought 18 sets of these three figurines so that all 18 grandchildren(my mother, etc) would have these special items. My mother, having a large nativity scene that her father build her, has bought an assortment of nativity figurines to use and has therefore bequeathed me of the Passion Play Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

They are much more than Christmas tree decorations. Through them you can learn the history of four generations of women and countless moments in my own life. Through them we've developed a series of heirlooms all because we originally wanted to decorate a tree in order to celebrate a holiday. I will surely be passing these ornaments along to my own children.

Soon Remembered Tales

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A beautiful post!