Friday, December 14, 2012


It’s all over but the baking. The cookies and the Norwegian Yule Kake will be the last, and tastiest, part of my Christmas preparations, and I’ll begin on them next week. Yesterday I put up what passes for a Christmas tree at our house. The ‘tree’ is made of several dowels set into a central ‘trunk’ on a pedestal.  One granddaughter, who was old enough to assess her surroundings, looked at it last year and wanted to know where our tree was. I told her this was a special tree with just our most special ornaments on it. She favored me with one of her “yeah, right Gram” looks of skepticism.

Before we moved to a house with very little storage space, I had an enormous number of Christmas decorations.  Added to that, I usually purchased at least fourteen live wreaths for our outdoor décor and hung most of them on the fences of our rural three acres.  Now I’ve got one wreath to hang on our front door, and all my decorations are stored in just three 14-gallon tote boxes.  When we moved south we distributed most of our tree ornaments to family members and kept the really special ones for the dowel tree. I am of mostly German heritage by birth, but of Scandinavian heritage by marriage, and come Christmas time I am slowly reverting to the Scandinavian way of doing things: less is having to become more.

I’m not too pleased with the way Christmas has become so commercialized.  I can’t blame manufacturers and retailers for wanting to make a buck, but I wish they’d wait until the weekend after Thanksgiving to begin the assault. In retaliation, not that “they” would care at all, I’ve waited until now to do my own thing.  Today, just eleven days before Christmas, and while I’m in the midst of making a big batch of cassoulet and two loaves of bread, I’ll finish the last minor touches of my holiday decorating.

Again this year I’m not going to wrap our ‘street tree’ trunk with white lights as do so many of our neighbors here at SCCL.  Besides what I believe is a waste of electricity, and maybe my halo is on too tight, the curmudgeon in me just resents having to go along with ‘the group’ on this one.  I think it looks dumb.  I remember, as a child of about ten, being driven by car through some neighborhood on Long Island where they did a big light festival at Christmas time.  It must have been my Mother’s always reminding us to turn out the light when we left a room: all those lights on must have seemed to me to be a waste of electricity. It still seems to me to be a waste. The extent of my outdoor illumination will be to leave on the front porch light.

I’ll take down the dowel tree and the other decorations on January 2nd – after all, they’ll have been up for about three weeks. I don’t want them to get too dusty!
All sorts of things wound up on our tree: a little bell that once hung on our back screen door, a drop from Frank's Mom's chandelier, even a silver earring we found on the street.  Everything has a great memory to go along with it.

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