Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Memories

Driving down the road I see Christmas trees strapped to the tops of cars. I see decorations of all kinds. I see the reindeer in the yards grazing, lit up with strands of lights, the Santa in his helicopter (propeller spinning in the cool air), Christmas lights dangling from rooftops and every display of holiday cheer imaginable. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or another holiday this is one of the best times of year to have fun decorating and making memories.

Family tradition usually dictates how you will decorate. Usually passed down from generation to generation. My mom loved all Holidays but especially Christmas. We grew up in an old Victorian Village on the North Shore of Long Island, NY. We lived in a large Victorian home perched on a cliff overlooking the Long Island Sound. My mom had a wonderful canvas to work with! I always remember how much warmer and cozier the house felt at Christmas. The Christmas tree took center stage in our main entry "The Hall". There the tree sat surrounded by windows with views of the Long Island Sound. No other furniture to clutter the view. One fireplace with a mantel adorned with green garland, candles and 6 stockings...sometimes 7 or 8 when my Nana or Aunt/and Uncle would stay with us. "The Hall" although large and empty normally became one of the coziest and most wonderful rooms in the house to sit or lay and dream (on the floor as there was no furniture). You could dream about what kind of presents were wrapped in those pretty boxes or wonder how Santa was going to make it into the house without catching on fire down the chimney. You could dream about how your parents were going to react when they opened the gift you picked out with your 5 dollars and how your brother better not have copied you in choosing his gift! That room with the Christmas tree was the only room in the house that felt like time stood still.

Although, I do remember other wonderful decorations scattered throughout the house and the wonderful aroma of cookies baking, it's "The Hall" with the Christmas tree that stays fresh in my memory. So although we had a large house to adorn, it was one room and one main decoration that set the most important memory for me. The lesson? It doesn't matter how much money you have to decorate with. It doesn't matter how much or how little you do decorate your house. It doesn't matter if you have the reindeer in the yard or the Santa in the helicopter atop your roof. It just matters that you have a consistent theme to your holiday. A Christmas tree for me...but maybe it's the Menorah or the Kinara for you that will set lasting memories for years to come...maybe even generations to come.

In my family the Christmas tree takes center stage in my decorating also. Once the tree is set, the ornaments placed and the lights are a glow...time stands still.  I hope it does for my children as it did for me, giving them time for dreaming.