I’ve always decorated (somewhat) for Christmas. I’ve always had a tree and put out some holiday knick knacks. My mother LOVES Christmas. Loves decorating. Loves the tree lights. Therefore, my efforts had to increase substantially this year!
One of the nicest things about decorating for Christmas is that Mom made many of the decorations – the Nativity set, the needlework pictures for the walls, ornaments for the tree. What’s amazing is that she remembers them and remembers that she made them. For a woman who has forgotten many things, she remembers Christmas.
I bought a 6.5-ft tree once my mother decided to move in with me. I didn’t want to be responsible for wrecking her Christmas! The tree is beautiful and came with many, many lights … yes, it’s artificial but it’s a really nice artificial tree. It is perfect for the apartment. It has a grand star at the top that adds another foot or so, and shiny red beads for the garland. It has a lot of ornaments that I have collected over the years. It has some ornaments that my mother collected or made over the years.
Even Oscar likes the tree.
It’s such a lovely tree that Mom wants it up all year round. She is only half joking. But, much as I hate to take it down, it’s coming down at some point soon!
In addition to the tree, the manger scene is truly something to see. Mom painted the set in ceramics class and it is beautiful. Dad made the manger out of a grape box – he died in 1972 but the box has been with us every year, which is a wonderful way to include him in the festivities.
For some people, the holidays are very difficult, but not for my mother … or at least not at this stage of her life.
There is something wonderful about Mom at Christmas time. She gets so excited to see all the decorations, unwrapping each ornament with care and commenting on all: “Where did you get that” or “I remember this one” or “I made this!” As I hang the ornaments, she points out places on the tree that need “something”. Her eyes light up and she seems years younger. We eat dinner on her good china. We watch TV by the light of the Christmas tree. We hang the stockings we bought last Christmas – personalized with our names: one for her, one for me and one for Oscar. We watch old movies. Mom usually can’t remember the plots, even of movies she has seen over and over again. But if there’s a song, she sings along. She smiles and laughs more. Maybe we should leave the tree up all year round.