Putting Away Christmas

For quite a few years, probably ever since my kids left home, taking down and putting away Christmas has been a rather melancholy affair–and I have LOTS of “Christmas” to pack away. In early December, with all the anticipation of kids flying in, of finishing off the cards and ornaments, and getting the last minute wrapping done, pulling out all that sparkly stuff seems like an adventure.

First up goes the creche figures on the mantle. I bought the plaster of Paris blanks when I was pregnant with my daughter from an old Ben Franklin 5 & 10 in Kingston, New York. (We were there on assignment, living in a rental house, no friends, far from family.) I had set up a temporary studio and painted them as my baby clock ticked down. Shortly after she was born, we moved back to Texas…bigger studio, but far less time to paint kings and camels…it was years before the set was completely painted. Both the memories and the figures are one of my Christmas treasures. Most of my stuff is like that: the memory is wrapped around the thing until it becomes the essence of it. There is the bottle brush forest, most scavenged by my husband at the flea market in the summer and squirreled away for months; the German nutcrackers carried back by my sister from Germany years ago; the strings of vintage glass beads, definitely showing their age, that swag from the banister; the snowflakes and angels who fly over my village of Delft houses (none of mine acquired by flying first class to Scandinavia!!) in my dining room window ; the beaded ornaments that I rescued years ago–made by a mother, not wanted by her kids– hanging from my chandelier over the table; and, of course, the tree, every ornament on it, a story.

So, putting away all of these old things (and their stories) can be tough in January when the kids are back living their lives (as it should be) and all the family fun is over. Dusting Christmas stuff is never very rewarding. This year has been different somehow. Most all of it has been stashed away and I feel free to start on my new year. This one feels full of possibilities. I have lots of plans for work in my studio: the design wall awaits…