I don’t do much decorating during the holidays. I just pull out a few things that I like to look at and make me smile. Newer items like a fiber-optic, tabletop Christmas tree (because I like the lights) and a snowman playing Christmas music on the piano (because he’s cute). And then there are the sentimental items that I’ve had for as long as I can remember.
My grandmother must have belonged to a crafting group. I remember she made all kinds of things – a number of which I still have. A couple of stained glass ornaments to hang in the window. A paperweight containing a photo of me as a 2-year-old in a pretty white dress. A doll made from a dishwashing liquid bottle filled with sand. An elf on a shelf made from a cardboard tube that had long dangling legs. That one was too irresistible for the cats. Sadly, he did not survive.
My favorite of her craft pieces is the snowman made from a Quaker Oats container. I don’t know how old I was when she made him. I do remember taking off his cap and laughing out loud at his little round head. (I’m easily amused!) So I bring him out every year because when I look at him, he always brings a smile to my face.
Then there’s Music Box Santa. Not a craft item. Store-bought. Zipper up the back with a music box inside that plays Jingle Bells. I don’t know when he showed up or where he came from. I remember him sitting on a table in the living room at Christmas every year. And then one year my mother decided he needed a bath. He’s never fully recovered. What was once white is now a dirty pink, and he can barely hold his head up without being propped up. Regardless, I love this little guy, and I bring him out every Christmas because he brings back happy memories for me.
Music Box Santa and Grandma’s Snowman mean something to me. But are they keepsakes to be handed down to the next generation? No, I don’t think so. Not like the butter dish that I wrote about a few months ago.
What’s the difference? Why is one more “hand-downable” than the other?
I don’t have a definitive answer. It’s something we each have to decide for ourselves. In my case, the butter dish is part of our family history. There’s a story behind it. And we keep adding to that story. In fact, I recently passed it on as a wedding gift to my nephew and his new wife – 123 years after it was first gifted to my great-grandparents on the occasion of their wedding.
The Santa and Snowman, on the other hand, they have sentimental value to me. They give me joy, and it has nothing to do with family history. It’s personal. I don’t expect anyone else to cherish these things the way that I do. And really, it’s not about the things themselves. It’s about the pleasant memories and feelings they evoke.
Here’s hoping you make lots of pleasant memories this holiday season!