Tuesday, December 8, 2009

An Old-Fashioned Christmas

I always enjoy the day we bring out the boxes of Christmas ornaments and make the house just a bit more cheery with all those colorful glass balls. Many of these decorations have been in the family for awhile and, not surprising, I quite enjoy the sense of history in the crackled glass and chippy paint.
Our tree looks a bit lonely without any packages. But that will change soon enough, as I have a few secrets hidden throughout the house, just waiting for me to break out the wrapping paper.

And here's a vintage book passage from 1915 that makes me cozy and nostalgic for the season:

"On Christmas Eve the trains were full of passengers laden with their parcels--those suspicious-looking packages containing just the very things some creature was looking for. And on Christmas Day itself, as the light faded to the sullen gray of the winter's evening, lights began appearing in the cottage windows, brighter and more numerous than at any other time of the year. There appeared, before the blinds were drawn, the numberless twinkling lights of tiny candles. A Christmas tree! That was it. An old, old fashioned Christmas tree, dressed heavily with pink and green and white candles and weighted down with all those suspicious-looking parcels, of which you say nothing, pretending almost not to see them, yet never letting them quite escape your watchful eye. The pink and white candles, the colored glass balls, the little glass peacocks with their spun-glass tails that perch on the branches—you may exclaim with delight about these; but of the brown-paper parcel, until it is placed in your hands, you must say nothing.

-from A Christmas War Story by E. Temple Thurston