putting away Christmas

In my faith tradition, this weekend marks the end of the Christmas season, so it is time to pack away the rest of the decorations. We had already taken down our tree last weekend, after the celebration of Epiphany, a tradition we share with several friends.

While putting up the tree is more festive, taking it down is more meditative. We place all the ornaments on the dining room table before we pack them into their boxes, so, at a glance, I can appreciate their diversity, and, focusing in, can celebrate their uniqueness and the memories each holds.

Ornaments from our trees growing up – my favorite silver ball with handpainted pink roses – the horn from my husband’s tree that actually makes a sound if you blow into it…the rocking horses and unicorns that I made from a kit when we were newlyweds that became the bottom-of-the-tree ornaments when our daughters were small, due to their cute and colorful, yet indestructible, nature…the circus animal ornaments from my friend Angie, who passed away eight, almost nine, years ago…Hawaiian ornaments from my daughter and son-in-law, who live in Honolulu…ornaments made by my artist-friend Yvonne…the cedar ornament that became a teether for my older daughter’s first Christmas…the set of small wooden angel-musicians and all the other music-themed instruments which commemorate the many years of church music-making in our family…the felt horse heads -a pair made by my husband as a child, another pair made by his mom when she was helping her third-graders make an art project/gift for their parents – that transform into hobby horses with the insertion of a candy cane…a Florentine-paper origami bird, folded by our younger daughter…the nature-themed ornaments, made by Latin-American artisans using native gourds…gifts from friends and relatives over the years…ornaments we have bought in our travels – a painted ceramic ball from my first and only European trip to Sicily – a carved wooden house from Deerfield – cloth ornaments from Skaneateles – enameled ornaments from Winterthur…

Though the ornaments are packed and stored away, the memories linger and warm our hearts, so the peace and joy of the season last a little longer.

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