It is true. I am cursed in the Christmas decoration department. You can laugh, and roll your eyes, but this year I have put it all together and drawn this conclusion.
I love Christmas. I always have. I love my birthday too. I am one of those people who have received my share of “birthday/Christmas” gifts. December has always been my month, and now that I am a mom, I love it more. December is waiting, anticipation, warm hearts, and meaningful moments. It is bright, colorful, and happy. I have always loved this month, this holiday, this time of year.
[Flashback] When I was about 4 or 5, my mom started decorating our house. I can see her pile of boxes of decorations sitting on top of our orange shag carpeting in the living room. For some reason, when my mom was out of the room, I decided to help her decorate. I started with my favorite decoration, her nativity set.
It wasn’t just a nativity set, but a ceramic one that my aunt picked out for her. One year, Aunt Joyce, anonymously sent my mom her nativity set, piece by piece, day by day. For Christmas, my uncle made her a stable, and they placed baby Jesus inside. She loved that set. I loved it too. It was beautiful and special, and even at 5, I knew that Jesus was the reason for the season.
[Present] Ok, so I am sure you KNOW where this story is going. Yes, sadly, you are right.
[Flashback] I picked up the styrofoam container that housed the extra special, irreplaceable nativity set, and walked over to the table. I was a bit on the short side, and couldn’t reach the table, so I hoisted the box up over my head, and BAM!
I missed the table. My mom came running out of the other room, and saw the scene. We opened the box to find the nativity in MANY pieces. I don’t quite remember the rest of the story, but I can still hear her crying, and see her sitting at our oval brown table, as she super glued the nativity back together piece by piece.
From then on, we didn’t have a beautiful nativity set any more. Instead, Joseph’s hand laid next to him. One of our 3 wise men was headless. The donkey missed an ear and Baby Jesus was missing a chunk out of his little leg. You get the point. The thing is, my mom would never replace it because although it was broken, it was still special to her. Every year, when my mom took out her nativity, I felt bad. Honestly, I have gotten over it, but I still feel bad, in that childhood memory kind of way. We used that nativity for years, and I am sure she still has it, but she doesn’t set it out anymore. Needless to say, when Ana asks to help decorate for Christmas, I immediately give her jobs, so she doesn’t try to do it herself.
That ruined nativity was the beginning of my Christmas decoration curse. About 7 years later, all of our childhood ornaments and tree decorations were ruined by water in our basement and our family had to start over. One year, my mom and I decided to buy a real tree, that resulted in me being banned from the living room for the holiday season since apparently, I am allergic to pine trees.
It never occurred to me, that I was cursed until this summer. You see, two summers ago, when we moved away from Maine, we stupidly forgot our Christmas decorations in our basement. The Christmas of 2010 we started over, but temporarily, because our decorations were safe in our basement in Maine. We figured we would get them back someday, and we would continue to build our collection.
This summer, while visiting our old home, we went by our old duplex and with the landlord’s permission, broke into the basement. Except, um, in the two years there had been water damage that promptly ruined EVERYTHING. Our sentimental stockings – RUINED. Babies first Christmas ornaments – RUINED. Crafts that my niece and nephew, who are not so little any more made me years ago – DESTROYED. Everything. Gone. FOREVER. I will not lie, I cried. It was hard enough leaving Maine AGAIN, but this time, we had to knowingly leave pieces of our young family’s history behind.
Don’t be sad for us though. In the long run, it’s just stuff. Every decoration might have a story, and a memory, but so do pictures, and I still have those. And thanks to digital technology, some of our ornaments have been recreated. In our fashion, we have bounced back and created new family Christmas traditions that match our Nebraska lifestyle. Our decorations still have special meaning, they are just different items.
Of course, I will sharing with you our new traditions, with photos and all. But those stories are for another day.
Disclaimer: Our current nativity set has special meaning, because it was Scott’s Grandpa’s. So far, it does not appear to be cursed and I stay away from it, just in case.