And a few other Christmas tidbits…

In m last blog post, I wrote about the anatomy of our Christmas tree, about the ornaments on that tree that are a chronicle of my life. Each ornament with a special memory attached to it.

Here are a few other little Christmas things that have special memories associated with them. Some make me nostalgic and give me ‘warm fuzzies’ when I see them…

This first one has extra special significance. It’s a music box Christmas tree. Stands about 8 inches high in total. The white plastic ‘needles’ are tipped with some sort of gold coloured material. Once upon a time, this tree was completely decked out, very pretty and something that absolutely mesmerized me. It belonged to my grandmother – Mum’s Mum. It’s from the 1950’s. My grandmother loved white Christmas trees. Actually, I think she liked anything but green trees. I seem to recall that she made me grandfather spray paint one pink for her. Ah, the art deco of the 50’s. I also remember she had a smaller, artificial three on a stand, that was white. So clearly she liked white trees.

This little music box tree is one of the few memories I have of my grandmother and grandfather’s house. I was about 2 or 3 years old when I discovered this little tree. We used to have family Christmas at my grandparent’s place – their house bulging with my aunts and uncles and all of my cousins. I was so young then, that the memories are pretty spotty. I remember bits and pieces of Christmas at their house. And I absolutely remember seeing Santa and his reindeer travelling across the moon lit sky, while I peered out my grandparent’s huge living room window. I remember being SO excited and trying to get everyone’s attention so they could see it too. Of course, I was probably seeing a plane high in the sky. But at that age and at that moment, I was absolutely convinced it was Santa! And maybe in the tiniest of ways, I’m still convinced. I think there’s  a part of us that just never really and truly grows up…. At this time of year, it’s impossible for me to see a plane moving through the night sky, without remembering that utter excitement of seeing Santa when I was little.

When I see this small music box Christmas tree, I’m instantly transported back to those very early days, those big family Christmases at my grandparents. Even though the memories are spotty, they are very fond ones. My grandfather died when I was 5 and so I never really got to know him. And so this tree is one of my few links to memories of him too.

The tree has certainly looked better than it does now. It’s balding on top and a lot of the gold glitter is gone. All the decorations are long gone so I bought this small string of balls to put on it. The bright white needles are now dull whitish-grey. But I don’t care. I wind up the music box and listen to it play Jingle Bells and I smile. Some of my happiest and warmest memories are conjured up when I see it and hear that music. So every Christmas, this tatty little tree graces an important place in our house. I don’t care that it looks tatty. Far as I’m concerned, it’s absolutely beautiful, just like the memories associated with it.

My grandmother's Christmas tree music box. Still works!

My grandmother’s Christmas tree music box. Still works!

This next Christmas item is also very special. It reminds me of my great aunt. My maternal grandmother and her sister – my great aunt – were identical twins. And they were two of the most wonderful persons I have ever known. Just like my Mum. My grandmother and great-aunt were also like mothers to me. How lucky can a kid get, having THREE of the most wonderful mothers on the planet?! I won the Mum Lottery, that’s for sure. My great aunt and grandmother always lived in the same apartment complex, after their husband’s passed away. When I was about 7 or 8, my great aunt discovered this Santa pillow sitting in some boxes in the garbage room at the end of the hallway in her building. It was in great shape. Not a problem with it. I guess someone just didn’t want it anymore. My great aunt knew I’d love it, so she brought it to her apartment. She gave it to me and my brother when we went to her place for one of our many Sunday dinners with my great aunt and grandmother. I just fell in love with this thing. The material is a very soft flannel. And Santa has the perfect “squishy-ness”. Very huggable.  So we brought Santa home. For most of my childhood, I drifted off to sleep, anticipating Santa’s visit and the pure excitement of Christmas morning, with Santa snuggled in my arms under the covers. This Santa pillow has so many memories of great times and great people, that I can’t part with it. Never. 🙂

"Garbage room Santa". I don't sleep with it anymore, but it has to be out on the couch each Christmas!

“Garbage room Santa”. I don’t sleep with it anymore, but it has to be out on the couch each Christmas!

Below is an extra special Grinch. He was given to me by my little nephews about 13 years ago. My nephews are 19 and 24 now. Not so little. But it sure doesn’t seem like that long ago that they were cute little guys, tearing around the house, all excited about the prospects of Santa Claus arriving. My nephews had gone out Christmas shopping and saw this. They knew how much Auntie Shelley just LOVED the Grinch. So they HAD to buy it for me for Christmas. Only problem was that they had about $15 to spend. But as you can imagine, an 18 inch tall Grinch plush toy costs a lot more than that! When my sister in law told my nephews that they didn’t have enough money, I think some lower lips may have started to quiver. So, my sister in law floated them the extra cash to buy Grinchy-poo for me. I’m grateful to my sister in law for that gesture because when I see Grinch stretched out on the couch, I think back to those days when my two nephews were little boys, all excited about Christmas, and it makes me smile. Definitely get warm fuzzies with this one.

My Grinch stuffed toy. He sits on our other couch each year.

My Grinch stuffed toy. He sits on our other couch each year.

The next three images are of candles that I have. They belonged to my parents and when Mum passed away, Dad gave them to me. When I was in about grade 2 or so, our school was selling these Christmas candles. I just loved them and so Mum bought four of them – two snowmen, a Santa and Santa’s boot. We never lit them. Instead, they were carefully put away for most of the year and only came out at Christmas time. I can still remember, so vividly, bringing these home from school and being SO excited about them! I knew Mum would  love them! These candles have been a part of my Christmas since I was about 7. That was over 40 years ago. But the enjoyment they bring me has not waned one bit. I did finally light one of the snowman candles. He’s looks a bit haggard from where the wax has melted. I have no plans to light the other ones. Let’s see if they last another 40 years. 🙂

Our snowman candle. He stands about 5 inches tall. I love his little hat and the cute grin.

Our snowman candle. He stands about 5 inches tall. I love his little hat and the cute grin.

Our Santa candle. I can't help but smile when I see the look on his face. He reminds me of how magical Christmas was when I was a kid.

Our Santa candle. I can’t help but smile when I see the look on his face. He reminds me of how magical Christmas was when I was a kid.

Our Santa's Boot candle. It's still as glossy red and white as it was the day I bought it.

Our Santa’s Boot candle. It’s still as glossy red and white as it was the day I bought it.

This final item is new. I just received it this week. I had to write about it because it was given to me as a result of my previous blog post about the anatomy of our Christmas tree. My friend and work colleague John gave it to me. He read my blog post and commented on how it brought back his own memories of Christmas, how each decoration on his tree really is a memory. Both he and I are ‘outdoors people’. We both love Algonquin Park and paddling. John said that when he saw this decoration – Santa paddling a canoe, with all the gifts in it and a raccoon and squirrel perched on top of the gifts – that it reminded him of me. So paddling Santa now proudly hangs beside my kayaking polar bear, on our Christmas tree. Thanks John! 🙂

The most recent addition to our tree - paddling Santa. There's a raccoon and a squirrel on top of the pile of presents in the canoe. And note that Santa IS wearing a life jacket. Good one Santa.

The most recent addition to our tree – paddling Santa. There’s a raccoon and a squirrel on top of the pile of presents in the canoe. And note that Santa IS wearing a life jacket. Good one Santa.

I hope reading about these special things makes you recall your own special connections to the holidays and of memories from special times throughout your life.

Merry Christmas from me, at 44th Parallel Photography. Wishing you a happy holiday filled with special moments.

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