How To Time Travel at Christmas: Ornaments From the Past
Those who know me, ok, those who know me well, know that I am fascinated with time travel. Each year, I am always surprised by which ornament will send me back in time. 2018’s time traveling ornament came to me on the third round of decorating my tree. For the record, I decorate my tree in stages as I view it as a work of art and something not to be rushed. On this third day of decorating, I blindly reached into the Christmas ball ornament box and withdrew an amazingly lightweight one. Excited that this ornament would be super easy to hang on our real Christmas tree with its much too bendy branches, I quickly drew it to eye level. Upon seeing the ornament, my stomach lurched both with excitement and a pang of melancholy. Seeing the date on this handcrafted Christmas ball ornament transported me to Fort Lauderdale, Florida circa 1968. I’ve heard the story so many times over my 49 years, it’s like I was there. Oh, wait, I was there, in my mother’s belly, listening, so would that actually be fifty times that I have heard the story? As my eyes fell shut, the image became crystal clear.
Come; listen as I tell you the story. South Florida on a warm day in December with Christmas quickly approaching, my mother who was very pregnant with me and her mother, the woman whom I affectionately called Mom Mom, sat at my grandparent’s kitchen table and hand crafted Christmas tree ornaments designed with Styrofoam balls, decorative pins, beads, ribbon and cording. Mom Mom had arranged for an afternoon of creation as a way to distract my mom from the fact that my due date of a mid-December birth had come and gone. See, even from the get go, I was running late! Although medicine never gave my mother another due date, just that it “could be any day now,” there was no loss for speculated due dates from family and friends. The next postulated date for my birth was December 21, which was my maternal grandfather’s day of birth, and if that didn’t pan out, it was predicted that I would be a Christmas baby. Well, you know what? I didn’t like either of those dates and did it my way, arriving on January 1st, New Years Day. But I digress, according to legend, but that which I know because I was there, somewhere along the way, my two aunts arrived on the scene, and the day was spent with lots of laughter, the eating of sweets, the singing along to the plethora of Christmas songs as they filled the air and the telling of stories. Aside from the making of these one of a kind ornaments and future family heirlooms, memories were made, and who knew that the ornaments made that day in December 1968 would one day hang on a Christmas tree in Chattanooga, Tennessee 50 years later?
As the image of that December day from 1968 faded from my mind’s eye, standing in my living room, looking at the Christmas ball still in my hand, I realized that there was no longer a feeling of melancholy; only love, pride and contentment were present, and spreading slowly across my lips was a smile so big and full of energy, it cramped my cheeks and a chuckle rolled from my belly. Placing this prized possession of an ornament on the tree, it bounced for a moment under the flexibility of the branch. Watching it come to rest confidently in this spot, I questioned if that truly was the perfect spot for this spectacularly special Christmas ornament, but as I lifted my hand to move the ornament, it told me to stop, to not over think it, just let it be and be confident that I had indeed found the perfect spot for this Christmas ball from 1968. I let my arm drop to my side, removing any danger of my inclination to change its location. Gazing intently at the intricacies of the ornament, I saw into the future for a moment, to the day when I would make hand crafted ornaments for my grandchildren. Huh, what do you know? Some ornaments allow you to travel to the past and to the future.
My hope for you this holiday season is that you will find your time traveling ornament, and when you do remember: nothing is ever really gone, if you know how to look at it.
What ornament or decoration do you have that takes you down memory lane? I hope you’ll share your special memory with me.
Best wishes for the merriest and happiest of times this holiday season. Let me know where your travels take you this year.