Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hello ... I'm Grams and I'm a Christmas Addict

That's right, Grams is addicted to Christmas, specifically to Christmas decorations. Since the first year we were married, I have decorated my entire house for the holidays. At times I've been way over the top, covering virtually every space with decorations. I have ornaments for the bathrooms, Christmas linens for the kitchen, Christmas quilts for the bedrooms, etc. One year, I actually "gift wrapped" the throw pillows that go on my bed and sofa.

Since we married in November, that first Christmas was upon us before we knew it. We couldn't afford lavish or fancy decorations. So I made most of the decorations from Styrofoam, sequins and pipe cleaners. A couple of strands of lights and a few inexpensive glass balls made a lovely tree that first year. Grams spent hours pushing straight pins with sequins and beads into Styrofoam balls ... so much so that my thumbs were sore for days. I still have some of those ornaments. They are among my favorites.

That was the beginning of my addiction to all things Christmas. Every year since 1975, I have added to my collection of ornaments and decorations.

Feeding my addiction has never been a problem. At the job that I held for 32 years, we had an ornament exchange every year at the Christmas party. My bunco club also exchanges ornaments. When we travel, my souvenir of choice is an ornament.

When we had our children, I began ornament collections for them. Each one started with a "Baby's First Christmas" ornament and we added at least one ornament every year. When Katy married, one of her bridal shower gifts was a big box filled with her ornaments. And last year, I was delighted to present a box of beautiful ornaments to Marie, my new daughter-in-law, at her bridal shower. Accompanying both of these gifts were "Our First Christmas Together" ornaments.

This year, we'll start a collection for our little princess with a beautiful "Baby's First Christmas" ornament. Her Mom has already told me that she's enchanted with the Christmas tree. I can't wait until she comes to Grams and Grandad's house for Christmas.

We have used an artificial tree since Nick was born in 1981, because when he was little, he seemed allergic. A few years ago, when we had to replace our old tree, I was determined to get a tree with a smaller circumference ... something that wouldn't take up so much room. But when we went shopping, we just couldn't bring ourselves to buy a smaller tree. So, I still have a huge tree that takes a big chunk of my living room. But, I'm willing to admit that I love it. It even rotates on its stand. And considering that, since I passed the kids' ornaments on to them, it now has fifty fewer ornaments on it, I wonder how I ever fit them all on the tree.

In recent years, I've begun to realize that my addiction is out of control. I have so many decorations in storage that I couldn't possibly put them all out at the same time. There are boxes that I haven't even taken out of the closet in three or four years. But I do love unpacking my ornaments and placing them on the tree every year. I can still remember where I got each one. It makes me think about people I don't see any more, trips we've taken, and things that happened which are commemorated by special ornaments. I especially treasure the handmade ornaments that my kids gave me when they were in elementary school.

Grams is wondering ... is there a twelve-step program for Christmas addicts?