Christmas rewind



Christmas is over already? What?

And it’s 2018 already? When did that happen?

Well – Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to ya’ll! A bit late…

AGMA’s been taking an mini-sabatical. Unplanned.

Between spending a week in Chicago for Christmas and catching a pretty bad cold from TMAGCITW (otherwise known as the adorable walking petrie dishes), finding the time and energy to write’s been challenging. Actually, finding the time and energy for most of AGMA’s recreational activities has been challenging.

No running, no writing, no reading.

‘shame since I have Fire and Fury downloaded on my Fire. I just haven’t regained quite enough strength to tackle the inside scoop on our like, really smart, stable genius Twit-in-Chief.

OMG – I think I threw up a little in my mouth.

Since it’s early January, AGMA did muster the strength to take the Christmas tree down with Hubs this past weekend. We sucessfully wrestled all 4 sections into the box in the garage.


11 years ago, we gave up, after 30 years, having a fresh cut Christmas tree. It was traumatic.

For nearly all of those 30 years, we went to a “cut you own” tree farm outside of Cincinnati. And for about 20 of those years, we plunged deep into the bowels of the tree farm to find the Griswold Family perfect Christmas tree and cut it down. We DID remember to bring a saw… Then Hubs and I schlepped the tree 1/2 mile back to the parking lot. And onto the top of the car.

Imagine our euphoria those last 10 or so years when our two strong sons we old enough and big enough to take over the schlepping duties!

But we had built some beautiful family traditions around our annual Christmas tree farm visit. Traditions that disappeared when we moved to Georgia.

AGMA has this thing about traditions. I hate to let them go.  My head told me it was okay for multiple reasons, but my heart was sad.

It’s difficult to say goodbye to some seasons of life.

But our 11 year old artificial tree is big and pretty and doesn’t need water and doesn’t drop needles and looks pretty realistic.

Hubs bought our first tree Christmas Eve 1976 for $5 from a gas station tree lot. He brought it back to our apartment, decorated it with lights he got at the drug store, and surprised me when I got back from a doctors appointment. No ornaments; just lights.

To a 22 year old AGMA, it was beautiful.

Things have changed since 1976. This year, there were still lights on the tree. And some garland. And 184 ornaments. That’s 1 – 8 – 4.

To a 63 year old AGMA, it was beautiful.

The tree was up and decorated when my son and his family visited us in mid-December (see the Pink Paradise post…) My DIL asked me, “How did you get so many ornaments?”

“A lifetime of collecting.” I answered.

My answer hit me like a ton of bricks. It HAS been a lifetime since I’ve been collecting ornaments.

Holy sh*t!

And almost every one has a story to tell about our family. It takes me a long time to hang them all on the tree because I like to hold them and remember…

Some hung on our Christmas tree when AGMA was a child. They’re old!  I have “Welcome baby” ornaments from 1982 and 1984. And 2014. Poor V doesn’t have one!

Some ornaments were made by my sons when they were children. There are intricate dough ornaments I bought in 1987 from my neighbor’s sister. 30 years is a pretty good life for ornaments made of flour and water!

Of course, there are many, many ornaments from our travels. And ornaments that others have given us from their travels.

I have ornaments that aren’t really ornaments, but AGMA made them into ornaments.

We have a set of The 12 Days of Christmas ornaments I bought in the 80’s, a particularly happy time in my life. A lovely local family in Cincinnati who worked in ceramics started designing them in 1981 and produced a new “day” ornament every year. They accelerated their production and completed the last 4 in 2 years due to family illness.  These are some of my most treasured ornaments because they are so beautiful and were purchased during a season of AGMA acute happiness.

Sadly, the entire family has passed on – the mother, father and two children (who would be in their 60’s had they lived), but I think of them every year at Christmas. I remember how gifted and warm and welcoming they all were when I hold their creations in my hands.

And how life was so sweet.

Many ornaments have been retired over the course of 41 years. And there have been ornament ‘casualities’. Some of our dough ornaments have lost appendages. Other ornaments are missing the hangy things. A few years ago, one of my childhood ornaments was broken. And this year we lost a glass Santa from Ireland my sister gave us. But they were all individual ornaments, not part of a set.

AGMA knows that it’s just a matter of time before one of my 12 Days gets broken. And it will be irreplaceable. And I will be devastated in a First World Problem kind of way.

But I think that maybe it could be a sign from the Universe that it’s time to move into a new season.

Or in AGMA’s case, dragged kicking and screaming into a new season.

A season of dispersing instead of collecting. A season for a tabletop tree rather than a 9 foot monster.

A season of greater simplicity as I get ever closer with each passing year to encountering Child of Bethlehem in person.

Until then, I’m going to go for 190 ornaments next Christmas.

Happy 2018 my friends!!


25 thoughts on “Christmas rewind

  1. Happy New Year, AGMA. We must have caught the same cold from similar sources. No running, no writing, no reading, that’s it exactly! I’m with you 100% about the nostalgia in a lifetime’s worth of Christmas tree decorations. We haven’t put a tree up for the past few years because we’ve been visiting kids and grandkids for Santa’s big day. And the thing I miss most about not having the tree up at home (the only thing, actually) is opening the boxes of decorations and having all those memories pour out. You nailed it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh no – get better! Holiday colds are the worst! I have been wanting a big, messy family Christmas for years no and had it this year in Chicago. Our family and my DIL’s family and 4 little kids. But I had to excuse myself to go to be at 7:30 because I was so sick. I was bummed.

      And the memories DO pour out of those Christmas boxes don’t they? What I really love is unwrapping them and being surprised. Sometime I gasp! It’s like I’m seeing them for the first time all over again! I’m such a child – and I love it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A touching look back, AGMA. The story about the family that made the 12 Days ornaments is particularly touching and a reminder that all we have is today.

    Happy 2018,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Allan! And you’re absolutely right – we do only have today! But it seems that I get a bit more melancholy each year when I hang the ornaments – it hits me how fast time is going by. I hold a lot of them and think, “That seemed like it was yesterday!” when it was 25 years ago. Yikes!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. as usual, your post made me smile.
    I too have downloaded Fire and Fury onto my kindle app. Being a loving and devoted wife, I gave my iPad to my husband and let HIM read it first. which he did. All day long. Now it is my turn. We can have our own virtual book club.
    Feel better and happy new year.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gradually, my collection has gone the way of all things, thanks to a herd of rodents. Very few items left. I gave up decorating in this little house, but we still have Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re like the Who’s in Whoville… They discovered they didn’t need any of that “extra stuff” to have Christmas! And we actually don’t really need any of it. I have to keep reminding myself of that when I freak about about getting decorating up. Maybe having a herd of rodents wouldn’t be such a bad thing for me!


  5. That is a lot of ornaments. My only really old one is the fairy. It was on the tree when I was a child and still comes out each year. I have bought alternatives over the years as Fairy looks kind of grumpy as if she wishes she were retired but I can’t use the new ones.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I can relate all too well. I still got a real tree this year…. hubby insists we need to go artificial next year. But tradition. Yes, we also used to go cut down our own up north here in Cincinnati…. don’t freak when I tell you I have friends who now live where the tree farm used to be. Times change. Now, I get my tree at Lowes. But it’s still a real one. I have not however counted how many ornaments I have. Oh dear. I did get down to only 8 boxes of Christmas stuff put on the basement storage box. That’s inclusive of lights and Christmas plates and stocking holders and … oh dear. Not sure when I’ll be able to let it all go for only a table top tree. Not yet, anyway! Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Okay – you had me hyperventilating there for a second… We found out about 3 years ago that Rousters Apple House outside of Milford closed and I was, in a First World way, devastated. That was another place we had been going to for years and years, and had many wonderful memories of. I thought, “Not the tree farm too!!” But the one we went to outside of Bethel, Cosi’s, is still there… Whew! But it was fun Googling them and see pictures of what it looks like now! And I found out they built a lodge and have live music and cocoa and coffee. We would have liked that back in the 90’s!

      And don’t misunderstand…I’m not going to a table top tree yet! But when I do, it’s gonna have a heck of a lot of ornaments on it! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sorry I got you hyperventilating. Our go-to tree farm was in Liberty Township. One of my fav pictures (still on my bedside table) is my hobby carrying a Christmas tree after we cut it down. I might have to do one final cut-down adventure before moving to the artificial…. or maybe just keep the memories?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’d love to go out on a ‘cut your own tree’ adventure one more time with my son and his family when his kids get a bit older. I think they (the kids) would enjoy it. But they are not really outdoor types (urban Chicago you know…) They do have an artificial tree which my son had to lobby for for a few years. My DIL didn’t want a tree at all… Now that they have one, I think she’s glad!


  7. Back in December of 2012 we moved from the country into town and had rented two storage units to hold our stuff during the transition. A “Grinch” broke into one of them and made off with all of our Christmas stuff. Like you, I had things the kids (now in their 50’s and late 40’s) had made; old Shiny Brite ornaments my late in-laws gave us; the tiny red baby socks with pom poms on the toes that my daughter wore on her first Christmas when she was a month old. Over 50 years of memories—gone. I have photos of our tree in the past where I can see some of the ornaments, but it’s not the same. I’ve been gradually building up a new collection, and making some felt ornaments that reflect my Scandinavian/Finnish/Western Russian heritage. This year it was Russian nesting doll ornaments. Yes, it was devastating, but you pick yourself up and move on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my…I’m so sorry! There’s a special place in hell for people who steal other people’s Christmas stuff… My mother used to have multiple boxes of those Shiny Brite ornaments! And you’re right – you move on when you have to. Look at all the folks who lost more than Christmas memories in the hurricanes, fires and floods of late. We are resilient lot!


  8. The one redeeming thing about being this age is that you know in your bones how fast time flies and how precious it is. We bought live trees for years and planted them after the holidays. But the last few years with a lot of construction and it’s accompanying mayhem we have not done so. This year we decided no tree inside, although we could have had one. We put lights on the trees from past years planted in the front yard and it was cheerful and a lot less stress. Plus the birds seem to like the warmth of the old fashioned big bulbs!

    I find myself letting go of things a lot easier now. I guess it’s just that season of my life. Happy 2018 and here’s to all the seasons of our lives AGMA. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am getting better at letting go… I’d better – our house can’t fit any more! Our first tree in the home we bought in 1987 was a live tree. It was probably 5 feet tall. On my last trip back to Cincinnati a couple of years ago, I drove by the house and the tree was YUGE – towering over the house. Made me feel kinda old… The seasons of life right?

      I love that the birds loved your lights!! What a sweet story!

      Liked by 1 person

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