Thursday, December 2, 2010

Simply Familiar

Like most folks, I’ve been decorating this week.

Based on what I see in blogland, my decorations probably leave a lot to be desired. They’re pretty simple, and I tend to repeat the same things year after year after year...

...after year.

Now, I admit that it’s partly because I’m a tightwad and hoarder, but it’s also because I tend to be more comfortable with the familiar. I’m not a huge fan of change. You can imagine how I relate to this ever changing world around me.

Some would call me a creature of habit.
At Christmas,
 I get to call it a lover of tradition

At Christmas,
I get to reach into old familiar boxes
and pull out old familiar ornaments
 and feel for a moment in time
 that some things never really change.

I like that.

I pack my Christmas decorations in a system resembling one of those Russian nesting dolls. Big boxes hold smaller ones. Small boxes hold yet smaller ones, and so on. Because I’m not always a great labeler, unpacking my decorations is a game of discovery. I never know what I’ll find when I open a lid.

These felt chrismons were made by the women in our first congregation.

A set of these little white doves was given to me
by one of my bridesmaids.

There’s even a box of misfit ornaments, too outdated to use with my more evolved tree. They are treasured with the others because they were given to me by students who have trees of their own by now. They just take up space in the Russian nest.

Of all the boxes, my favorite one of all
 is the Santa box.

Properly, these Santas don’t even belong to me; they belong to my daughters. Someday soon, they’ll walk out the door to two separate homes, but in the meantime, they stand united in a little Santa village that I set up on a side table.

My father began this collection for the girls when they were babies. Dad wasn’t much of a shopper, but he liked to tag along with the Duchess on her Christmas Shoppe adventures and search for little Santa figurines to give each grandchild just from him.

His favorites were old world Santas.

He would date each one and sign them from “Pa”.

After Dad died, the Duchess couldn’t bear to see the tradition die with him. Every year, she continues the search for Santa. Her favorites are the jolly old elves.

 It's her quiet hope that opening a Santa will bring "Pa" to mind on Christmas morning and make us smile.

It does, and we do.

Like the rest of my Christmas treasures, the Santas are of the simple variety. They’re neither vintage nor collectable. They’re not even displayed with any particular pizzazz. They wouldn’t be featured in the latest magazine or HGTV special. They’re probably not even all that noteworthy in blogland.

But they are treasures nonetheless,
and opening "Pa's" Santa box 
was this week’s simple pleasure.

Sharing with Dayle
 A Collection of This and That
Click to read more
 Simple Pleasures.


Vanessa said...

Debbie, you are definitely a lady after my own heart! I'm also a creature of habit and tradition and only added a few new things this year. My mom laughed at me as we decorated the tree when she would ask "are you SURE you want to put this one on there" pointing to some long ago sad looking ornament. Even if they only make it to the back of the tree they are still treasures to me and I just can't bring myself to not include them! I loved what you wrote about your dad and how, through your words, I can sense the real legacy he left behind was more than just santas! :-)

Denise said...

So, once again, you've brought tears to your big sister's eyes. I just love all those Santa's and I always think of daddy when I put them out. Believe it or not, the newlyweds decided they don't want the Santa collection yet. (Not enough room?) I'm VERY happy to keep them with me another year. (I've been buying a few each year for myself so when they are taken I'll not be barren). Another great tribute to our wonderful "Pa".

Anonymous said...

What a precious story! Thank you so much for sharing. We find joy in our familiar traditions, too.

Lynn Richards said...

I'm with your sister, Debbie. Thanks for making me cry at 8 in the morning. Gosh, I miss my dad all of a sudden!!
I have a box that holds all the ornaments me girls made..they don't come out, but I love to look at them just the same....

Rettabug said...

I loved seeing all your Christmas treasures, Debbie...traditions are meant to be preserved & passed on, otherwise they just die out & no one remembers. Well done!

I loved your beautiful reds in your prior post with the tablescape. I've drooled over that set of china every time that catalog comes in the mail. It is even more stunning in your photos!

I'm slowing getting over my illness & catching up with my friends. Thanks for your kind well-wishes!

The Polka Dot Closet said...

Oh, what a nice post,Pa did a wonderful thing that will be passed down for generations. I wish I had started some kind of a tradition. It's people like Pa that make Christmas so special.


Karen said...

So reminiscent!! (not sure if I spelled that one right) - but, nothing like unpacking & remembering. You know what I mean? I kinda like putting things in the same place each year - saves alot of time & brain exhaustion.
I've got to try to get motivated to do something.

Sailing Simply said...

I like adding new but I still keep all the old too. My old ornaments always hold some of the best memories each year and so do some of the new. I love your Pa's Santa tradition, what a wonderful prize. I personally think all Santa's are noteworthy, no matter how small,big,plain or pretty! I am a Santa nut! Your daughters certainly have some wonderful ones there. said...

Hi Debbie! Im your newest follower and LUUUUUUVIN IT! Let me just say, I BEYOND ADORE you, even though ive just "met"you :) You have made me Laugh, Tear up and Comforted me with your Faith! I LOVE when I find sisters in Christ in blogland! I put a daily bible verse on my blog, but needed to read the one you gave! THANK YOU! I would SO APPRECIATE it if you would visit my blog...I think you would enjoy my 14 days of Christmas trees...I see we have several of the same "Sisters" ....I have a GIVEAWAY to! SOOO glad God led me to you!

Blessings xoxokara


Entertaining Women said...

My mama and daddy liked Santa's, too. I love to bring them out at Christmas, and it keeps their sweetness right in the house with me. I'm crying now...sweet tears. Thank you for sharing your 'system' and for stopping by my post. Come visit any time. Cherry Kay

Dayle said...

Dear Debbie,

I can so relate. I'm an old-fashioned gal and have old-fashioned tastes when it comes to Christmas. I enjoy the familiar and I have to say my tree looks much the same as it did 20 years ago. I guess that makes me an old fogey. :)

So good to see you at Simple Pleasures!

cm said...

Absolutely precious blog Debbie...thanks so much for sharing with all of us...

Jen said...

You know, I don't think that it's all that important to have decor worthy of anyone but you. Enjoy your memories of your dad as you unpack and decorate with your family.

Francie...The Scented Cottage Studio said...

When I find something I love, I don't want to replace it either and agree with all you wrote.
What a sweet thing your daddy did and then the Duchess carrying on...the love never stops.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Hi Debbie,

Boy do I hear you on this one! I love our old ornaments, and how most have their own story.

Thank you for the beautiful photos of yours.

Take care,


Chatty Crone said...

You know what - the longer we have things - the more special they become and the more memories associated with them - first home, children, etc. You know what I mean?


marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Oh your tree is lovely, but the Santa box just stole my heart. What a precious collection for your daughters. I know they will cherish them when they take them to their own homes. Love them all. Thank you also for your gracious and kind comments and thoughts. I really do appreciate it. Hugs, Marty

Mave said...

Thanks for sharing those lovely memories all held there in your collection. Christmas seems to open many old doors.

Kathleen said...

I'm a tradionalist too. I always bring out the same old decorations year after year. What a sweet thing for your Dad to do for his little granddaughters. I'm looking forward to seeing a pic of the whole collection.

Dianne said...

Hey Debbie,
I am loving this so much.

My tree is a mix of old and new. The top houses an angel that is falling apart. It was on my husband's Christmas tree more than 60 years ago--

I am not a labeler either and usually end up changing things around--not getting so many new things --just readjusting the old--

This year I decided to do things just as much like last year as I possibly could. I opened the video I made from a Christmas tour last year and hopefully will keep everything the same from now on. My children and grandchildren love to come in and have everything just as it was last year.

I love the Santas from Pa and the doves from your bridesmaid.

Hope your Christmas is warm and lovely.

FrouFrouBritches said...

The Santas from "Pa" are the sweetest thing EVER! What a precious tradition. I am sure your daughters love them and always think of them when the open another from The Duchess. You'll have to excuse me while I go grab a Kleenex and dry my tears.

sarah said...

Debbie...I loved your post..and I can so relate about doing the same thing again and again and liking the famliar. There's a security and comfort in that And I love your decorations and PA'S SANTA BOX. ☺

Atelier de Charo said...

So many lovely Christmas treasures, a wonderful tradition to put the date on the figurines, so great memories!

Angel Wings and Apron Strings said...

How very precious, Debbie!
Christmas is for gathering family around the Bethlehem Babe. Christmas memories are sacred ties linking all our loved ones together, and pulling us in close to Him :-)
I'm an old softy who brings out time-worn and much loved treasures each Christmas too!
bless you, dear lady..Trish

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

What a wonderful tradition Debbie, and how wonderful that he signed and dated them. My mother gave her grandchildren Beatrix Potter rabbits for Easter, and when they left home, it was so hard to remember which rabbits belonged to which child. I use the same decorations every year. I've been thinking that I could probably post the same photos that I posted last year on my blog, and it would look very similar to what this Christmas looks like at my house! laurie

Mevely317 said...

Oh, Pa's signed figurines bring tears to my eyes, Debbie!
I can just imagine how proud he'd be, seeing this story.
My parent's ornaments and miscelany were lost after her move to assisted living halfway across the country. Not a year after her death, I made inquiries, but ya know how those things often turn out. They had no real value, save that in my heart.

Sherry said...

Oh, your ornaments make my heart melt. They are a lot like mine only I didn't come from such a family (which I admire that you did). But, I have tried to create that box of ornaments with my family and maybe they will remember that we were a family like yours. Misfit ornaments and all:)

Kelli said...

I pack Christmas decorations differently every year. Always a surprise! The Santa Box is so sweet and your girls have a special blessing with a tradition to carry on with their families! I love your previous post as well. The table is simply lovely!

Ms.Daisy said...

I love the idea of giving the santas every year! What a wonderful tribute to your Dad and now, your Mom! Sweet traditions.


CAL said...

One of the best parts of decorating the tree is remembering where these little treasures came from and who gave them to you.

It truly tugged at my heart to read about your Dad and his Santa's to his grand daughters.

Jenny said...

This post made me think. My Christmas decorating is a thing of memories...not of trends or what's in at the moment.

The writing on the bottom of the Santas made me tear up.

Thank you for this post.

Carol said...

They are charming and they are treasures! Family tradition is a wonderful bond between family members.
It is fun to unpack and re-visit all these treasures, isn't it?

bj said...

Oh, I still use a lot of the olden ornaments from my mom for my tree..but mostly, I have, over the years, bought other things to go along with them. Daughter and I started buying a Christmas ornament on trips. I have a lot of Santas on my favorite Christmas character.:)
Also, we downsized our tree a few years back. The big one was so hard to get up and down from the attic. The smaller tree has been so nice for us and I am no longer using all my tree decorations.
Love your little white doves..
and the Santas are wonderful.

Kay K said...

I love the simple CHRSITmas decorations I too am a keeper of all things !

Diann @ TTG said...

What a wonderful post you shared with us! I love your ornaments and the Santas are just beautiful. The history and tradition behind the Christmas decorations is one of the best parts about decorating for the holiday.

Sharon Kirby said...

Simply precious. Simply heartwarming. So simply wonderful you.

(No, I did NOT say simple you...)

Thanks, Debbie, for sharing about the wonderful Santa collection. I think the part that really got me teary, was the little scrawls written on the bottom of the Santas. Pa's "heart" was so apparent in every little letter.

The glimpses of your tree look lovely - though I am a bit put to shame that I don't even have an errant pine needle in my house yet. Do pine cones count? I've got a bunch of those...

Blogland has been beautified by a lovely Christmas tradition...


Life with L said...

You have lovely ornaments and I am sure every one of them has a story. Traditions are wonderful. The Santa box is precious. happy holidays...Linda

xinex said...

The more I see your beautiful Christmas decor, the more I feel I am so behind. We just got back from a a cruise late last night and I am still packing. I wish I was decorating instead....Christine


I love your Santa boxes, I too pack Christmas ornaments like you, one big carton box, others inside and littlest ones inside the other...I do label though.
I love your tradition that comes from your dad, he must have been a great guy, I have 2 daughters too and my father, now deseased also, was the greatest gift giver to his girls as he called them. We all miss him 13 years I need a kleenex, for you and for me. Family traditions are the most heart worming at this time of year, because sometimes, like you, that somehow fills up the space a little when our love ones are no more wth us. Thank you for sharing and may God bless you all.
Merry Christmas

Sarah said...

Debbie, I so enjoyed this post! I'm the same about Christmas. The old, familiar ornaments and decorations year after year bring me joy. As I unpack the ornaments each brings back a memory of a special time, a friend, a former student. I suppose my boxes of ornaments are my Christmas tradition. Happy Holidays! ~ Sarah

Bunny, THE PARIS HOUSE said...

You are so sweet. I love all things traditional and that are filled with memories. My parents are getting older and I savor each day with them. I love bringing out my holiday goodies that my mom, grandmother and great grandmothers have passed down. I love that feeling I get when I see them each holiday. Your PA must have been amazing and kind and your santa's are adorable

Katherine ( Katie) Corrigan said...

What a lovely tradition. Hugs!

Mid-Atlantic Martha said...

I love your traditions -- I think Christmas is truly about those wonderful feelings of family and the wonder of childhood and how unpacking those same ornaments year after year is like a snapshot of the past, with those we love who are no longer with us. What a great post.

Angel said...


Your post was just what I needed. I just posted about gift-giving and my longing for the traditional, old-fashioned approach to celebrating Christmas. Your words and pictures warmed my heart. God bless you!

Amy Kinser said...

Debbie, I love your santas and what they mean to you and your family. Those are treasures for sure.

My Christmas tree is full of my children's ornaments. I love pulling each and everyone of them out of the boxes. My tree will always have colored lights because it's about my children and as long as they want colored lights and a "fun" tree, that's what we will have. It's not blogland worthy either, but I don't care. We LOVE it and all the memories it holds.

Love seeing your heart in what you write.


Family traditions are great. My wife has boxes full of Christmas memories. Someday maybe she'll show me what's in those boxes! :-)

It's starting to look a lot like Christmas :-)



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