I love to decorate the house for Christmas. This year I started the day after Thanksgiving. My grandson retrieved the artificial tree from the attic and my granddaughter assembled it. It was bare for several days until I had the time to decorate it. The tree looked charming, replete with ornaments I received during my teaching years. Many of the ornaments, including a minature wooden sled with tiny gifts on top, were homemade. I hung up the red and yellow calico hearts a friend made for me years ago, and blue whales that I made. (We love whales and have a whale weathervane on our house.) Though we have had real trees for years, searching for a tree in sub-zero Minnesota weather became increasingly difficult. So we gave up, and bought a medium-sized artificial tree with lots of lights. Other decorations, such as a Swedish wooden horse, a hand-knit Santa doll, and a musical angel, made the house look festive. After we came home from our family Christmas in Wisconsin, however, the decorations began to look out of place. To me, there is nothing sadder than Christmas decorations that are up too long.
One by one, I took the ornaments off the tree and put them away for next year. Stockings, the wooden horse, the hand-knit doll, the angel, candles and more, were lovingly stored in boxes. Today, I will take down the wreath hanging inbetween the garage doors, but I will leave the wreath by the front door for another week. The off-white pointsettia, a reminder of the holidays, still looks fresh, as does the spectacular orchid my husband gave me for Christmas. Christmas is over at our house, but our memories of a boisterous, happy family Christmas remain.