Saturday, December 22, 2012

Tripping down memory lane

Was wrapping gifts last night and went on the hunt for 'something' to use as gift tags, rather than the usual scrap bit of wrapping paper. I found boxes of unused cards - Christmas, birthday, generic, party invitations, and so on. (Sometimes, hoarding pays off). There were 2 or 3 of some cards from years past, the extras that didn't get sent. My mom used to save the cards that she received from people, and then repurpose the image into gift tags the following year. And so that's what we did with some of these left over cards last night.

In the bottom of the box of left over cards were a handful of handmade gift tags, little hand drawn Christmasy symbols (candy canes, angels) in glitter paint. Made by me, at some point in the past when making my own Christmas gift tags was not out of the ordinary. I don't really remember when that would have been. In the same cupboard I found a bunch of green cellophane bags with glittery ties. Cookie bags for giving cookies for Christmas. Yup, I used to do that too.

My kids, and my sisters kids, have hand made Christmas stockings. Felt, hot glue and lots of glitter paint. Rustic, primitive, but made with love and I can't imagine ever replacing them. My mom has a Christmas sweatshirt with poinsettias and glitter fabric paint that I made for her, that she still wears. Peeking through family photos from the past decade shows her in that shirt each and every year.

I've been trying to recall what it was that changed; what got in the way of these lovely hand made Christmas traditions? Kids getting bigger. Fewer and fewer kid holiday parties (playgroup, playschool, grade school each had a need for goodies to be sent). Sports. As our family transitioned from playgroup to Tier 1/2 soccer commitments for three kids, and a coaching dad, the amount of time left to spend baking and crafting slowly but surely diminished.

This is our second year without winter kid sport and all the bedlam that goes with it. I have not yet gotten back into crafting and baking up a storm. But I have all the ingredients for some awesome gingerbread. Heck, I might even dig out the complicated Martha Stewart recipe that involves a double boiler.

If Christmas is a time for memories, then this year has certainly jogged a few of mine. I didn't have the heart to not put the Landsdowne playschool ornaments, or the collection of second grade ornaments, up on our tree. As much as I thought I'd like a color coordinated, magazine worthy tree, I went with a tree full of memories of my friends and family. Excuse me while I go put the little Christmas village that Katie is so fond of up at the front door, and send D out to buy  lights for around the front entry, replacing the ones that finally kicked the bucket this year. Yeah, I know that they'll be coming down again in a week or so but the house isn't ready for Christmas without them.

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