We spent some of yesterday taking down the Christmas tree and putting all the holiday decorations away. I love decorating and being festive and in the Christmas spirit, but I am also always relieved to have my normal house back, and to not be vacuuming up stray pine needles all the time.
I started my lagom project after Christmas of 2012 (on Jan. 11th, 2013 to be precise), so as we pulled out all the decorations this year, I realized that I hadn’t done any paring down where that stuff was concerned. We don’t have a ton of decorations to start with, and the majority of the stuff we do have were either gifts we’ve received or things from my childhood – I’ve personally bought very little Christmas decor over the years. The good news about that is there isn’t a tremendous amount of stuff on which to make decisions. The bad news is that there IS a tremendous amount of sentimentality attached to it all for me.
One thing I knew we needed to declutter was Christmas tree ornaments. Lord those things are easy to collect! The first gift I ever gave Ron was two Christmas tree ornaments, because we met each other in person for the first time a couple days before Christmas Eve, so we had planned to decorate my Christmas tree together. That started a tradition between us of giving each other a new ornament every year on the day we decorated our tree. We’ve been together for eleven Christmases now, so that is a substantial amount of ornaments to add to our collection – though we have forgone the tradition a couple times because either one of us forgot, or we were broke. Here is one of the first ornaments I gave him (the biker), and the one he gave me the Christmas after we got married, along with one I gave him to commemorate his love of Stella:
My mom has given me and my sister a new ornament every year on our “Santa” gifts – usually one that matches the theme of the paper she chose that year. She now does ornaments for Ron and my sister’s boyfriend as well, so we come home from her house with two new ornaments every year. Here is a trumpet from a year the paper she wrapped the gifts in had a musical instruments and angels theme:
I also have a bunch of ornaments that my aunt gave me when she had a business that sold holiday stuff – I remember going to her house one summer and she gave me and my sister each a big beach bag full of ornaments – here are just two of them:
At one point my Mom decided she wanted to decorate her tree every year in only blue and white and silver decorations, so she let me and my sister have any of the traditional ornaments from our childhood that we wanted. I took this Santa, that a friend gave my Mom back in the 60’s, I think it was before she even knew my dad. When it was time to decorate the tree every year, I always wanted to be the one to hang it up:
And out of pure sentiment, I kept these ornaments I made in Bluebirds when I was little:
I also at some point inherited my grandmother’s collection of wooden stars – I don’t really remember hanging them on our tree growing up, but they totally make me think of her, so I love them:
And then there are ornaments we got as gifts from friends, like this little felt angel my friend Nikki gave me:
Or these Czech dough ornaments from our friends Petr and Simona, which Stella tried to pull off the tree and EAT this year:
Of the few ornaments I’ve actually bought, the birds are my favorites. I think Ron thinks they’re creepy, but I love them. It’s a TREE, for heaven’s sake. It needs birds:
And I have no memory where I got this one, but it’s candy, and it’s pink, so…lovelovelove:
But in the end, no tree that will fit in our living room can handle the amount of ornaments we own, so a lot weren’t maing it out of the storage box. I decided that this year, we would hang our favorites first, and anything that wasn’t an automatic yes would be under scrutiny.
It ended up being easier than I thought. I’m getting the hang of being less attached to stuff at this point, and I no longer feel that throwing an object away is the same as throwing away a relationship or my memories of a person or event. I put everything that didn’t make the cut in a bag, and let it sit in the corner until New Year’s Eve, when I suddenly remembered it was the last day to make Goodwill donations for 2013, so I grabbed the bag along with our other donations and got rid of it all before I could become sentimental and change my mind. I also got rid of it before I had a chance to photograph it, so you’ll have to take my word for it that we got rid of quite a few. I can’t remember specifically which ornaments they were at this point, which is a good sign – if I can’t recall them, they were not my favorites.
When we packed all the ornaments back up this year, it was nice to not be cramming them all in – everything fit comfortably, with room to spare. It’s nice to think that when we open the box again next year, we will only be greeted by our favorite stuff.