Saturday, December 13, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Things

I bet I just freaked you out a little bit with that title.

I bet you thought, "Oh, no! Laurie's one of those people who think that's a Christmas song?!"

Well, I'm not.

As much as I do love me some raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, those are NOT Christmas wishes. That is NOT a Christmas song.

Nah, I'm just sitting on my couch, looking around my apartment, and thinking... "Man alive, I love this place. I love this holiday. I love all the memories I have, of Christmases here, and everywhere else I've ever been."

People, I have some sweet (SWEET!) memories.

Some of my favorite memories are here, some are in the blue - and then the pink - house with Julie and the Bens (we named our trees Ben, because they were big and strapping, like Brother #2 in Seven Brides... true story), some are in Taylor, some are in St. George, some are in Provo at my grandparents' house. I mean, really, they're everywhere. Every Christmas has been awesome, in its own way. I so love this time of the year!

I lead a charmed life, every day of the year. But there's something special about being a person who loves Christmas, because I am gifted with some pretty spectacular stuff by people who know and love me.

I know that sounds cheesy and ridiculous, but it's true. One of my favorite things about decorating for Christmas is all the people I think of as I pull ornaments and decorations out of my storage bins. As I look at my tree, and as I look around this tiny little apartment that I call home, I am reminded of so many other Christmases, and it makes my heart happy.

For the fun of it, and because sometimes I like to use my little corner of the www to catalog my most sentimental belongings, I'm gonna go ahead and show you a few of my favorite things around here.

How great is this ornament? It's from my friend Colette. Circa (and I'm guessing here, but I'm pretty sure I'm right) 1996. The ornament is actually a box, and when she gave it to me, it had the sweetest little poem about being a box full of love tucked inside. ... Sadly, the poem's been gone since the last house I lived in when I was in Provo. But the box remains, and it goes on my tree every year. I love it. It reminds me of my noodle-haired friend who sings like Barbara Streisand and has the Midas touch in the kitchen.

I love her. I love the memories I have with/of her. And I love that I have this small, tangible, thing that reminds me of her. Every year.

Ahhhh.... This little beauty is from my friend Christine. If memory serves, she gave me this ornament the Christmas of 2004. (I know it was after she moved to the valley. I was still living in Taylor, and I also know it wasn't the Christmas before I moved down to Mesa.)

I  love it! I love that Ch'chine knows me - has always known me - well enough to gift me with something that's a perfect match to the rest of my decorations. The colors, the shape of the ornament, the gold filigree. I love it, because it's beautiful. But mostly, I love it because of who it came from.

Oh, and these snowflakes. I LOVE THEM.

My friend Jen gave me these ornaments, I think, the second year I was in Taylor for Christmas. So... 2001? Maybe 2002. I love them!

They were the very first snowflake ornaments on my tree. Now, I have silver beaded snowflakes and crocheted snowflakes in the mix, but these are my favorite. I love them. I love them because the glass is clear and the light shines right through them, I love them because they have these gorgeous sheer red or green ribbons tied at the top of the string they hang from. I love them because they're beautiful and classy, and I love them because they remind me of my friend who is one of the most beautiful and classy women I have ever known.

I think of Jennifer every year as I take them out of the little Santa box she gave them to me in, and I think of her throughout December as I look over at my tree and see the proof that she has been part of my life for so many years. Ya might have to dig deep to find the parts of me that are classy and refined, but I like to think that they're in there - and what I know is that the reason they're there is because I have been friends with Jennifer O.


The first Christmas I lived here, Jo came over with my Christmas present and told me that Rook (her son who is now 13... he was 5 at the time) had seen this in the dollar store and had insisted that they buy it for me.

According to five year old Rook, this hideous little jingle bell snowflake had my name written all over it.

Awh, man. It's such an ugly little ornament. But I love it! I love that it is ALL jingle bells. It's too big for my tree (also, did you notice the purple bells in the center... they wouldn't match a dang thing on the actual tree), so it's been tied to the door knob on my front door every year since 2006. Yup. Tied to the door with that same piece of red yarn. For eight Christmases in a row. (One year, it was there ALL YEAR LONG, because I forgot to take it down and by the time I realized my door was still jingling, it was May. I figured, what was seven months more?)

Anyway, I love it. I'll never know what went through that child's mind when he saw it in the store (let's be real... I don't know that I want to know what he thought about ME, for this to be something that reminded him of me), but I love that he had to buy it for me. I love that it's bright and cheery and jingles every time the door opens or closes.

The star Kirk made me when he was in High School wood shop.

Kirkey made me this star for either Ben #1 (in the blue house) or Ben #2 (in the pink house), I'm not sure. 

What I do remember for sure about Ben #1 was Jule and I got it into our sick little heads that we wanted to have a homemade, old-fashioned, tree, complete with old wooden spools tied with red ribbon and homemade gingerbread men.

Not a wise choice, in a house full of mice. And that's all I'm going to say about that.

Okay, no it isn't. Because to not tell the tale of the mice sliding the cookies across the kitchen counter as they cooled and dumping them behind the stove would be a crime. As would not bringing up how they'd chase each other up and down the tree, fighting over cookies and wooden spools, all month long.

For someone who's creeped out BIG TIME by vermin, it's shocking that the mice didn't make me want to move right out of that old house. (Well, sort of, they did. But as long as we had a tree up, they were more amusing than they were horrifying.)

Oh my gosh... and with Ben #2, we somehow angered a van full of angry men (it wasn't me, Julie was driving) and we got chased all the way from the tree lot to Greg and Doug's house. ... Because if you're two irrational women running from something/someone, it makes perfect sense to drive straight to your boy cousins' house and walk right in like you own the place. Am I right?

Anyway... memories. My life is chock full of them. As is this star. It's been on every tree, in every house, for twenty years. I love it!

And while I'm looking up at that picture of the star, I'd like to draw your attention to the Christmas clock on the wall in my kitchen. I love it! ... It sings a different Christmas carol on the hour, every hour. I've had it for, like, twenty years. I think I paid $10 at Smith's in Provo for that thing. When I moved home in 2000, I hung it in my parents' living room and the music made my dad want to scream. Ha!

See the big Santa pic? My friend Lana sketched that. Isn't it awesome? I bought that print from her for $10 in 2005. I've hung it every year since then. A lot of people have commented/complimented me on it over the years. I super duper love it, and not JUST because that's a pretty close mock-up of the Coca Cola Santa.

And the Noel wall hanging. Oh my gosh, I love that thing. My mom made a bunch of those as Christmas gifts for family when I was a little girl. We had that one hanging in our living room my entire childhood. When I came home from St. George, I was so happy to see it that I'm pretty sure I cried. When I moved to Provo 18 months later, I took it with me.

See below. I grew up with this Christmas decoration, both literally and metaphorically. No matter how simple Christmas is/was, this little felt beauty has always been a part of it. I love it!

The year Julie and I lived in the pink house, I couldn't go home for Christmas. Around Thanksgiving, I got a package from my mom. In it was the very last scrap of the red and white checked flannel she'd used to make our stockings, some white flannel to piece a stocking with, her embroidery floss and needle book, and some patterns I could use to make myself my own stocking.

Fun Fact #1: The candy canes are the very first pattern I ever embroidered. When I was in 5th grade, I decided to make everyone in my class a present, and Judy taught me how to embroider. I made candy canes and daffodils. I'm pretty sure they were a disaster... but I have always loved these criss-crossed candy canes, so they were a given for the toe of the stocking. (My brother Brett has them on his stocking that Mom made him when he was a baby.)

Fun Fact #2: I made this stocking with my own bare hands, and never noticed that it hangs the wrong way. It took Jule and me throwing our annual Christmas Festival for our cousins' roommate, Rustin, to see it and ask if I had made it. I was so proud, because I had, indeed, made it. His reply was classic, "I figured. ... Did you realize it hangs backwards?" Uh, no. No, I had NOT realized it was backwards. And I had used all of the flannel my momma had sent me, so there was no redoing it. Awh, well. I love it, anyway. And I sort of love it even more with the toe pointing the wrong way.

I love this little 3 person nativity.

It's from Jo. (Of course it is. She's always wanting me to remember the reason for the season. ... I kid. ... Sort of.) She gave it to me the first year I lived in this apartment (2006), and it's been front and center every year since.

I love the colors, the height, that it's just the three of them, that it's all one piece.

I love that it's from Jo. 

I love that I'm still friends with my best friend since Jr High. It's more than a little mind blowing that we've known each other for almost 30 years, that we've lived 3 miles apart (again) for the last nine of those, that we've had Sunday dinner every week, every year, that we've texted and called and often seen each other during the week outside of Sundays, and we have never run out of things to say.

I'm lucky. We're lucky. Who gets a real, life-long, friendship, besides us? I love her and I'm so grateful that we live close enough that we get to see each other often. No one else would let me screw their kids up the way she does. I'm so glad I have her. She cuts up watermelons for me in the summer and buys me stuff like for Christmas. I'm the luckiest girl in the world!

Ahhhhh... Dorothy's slipper.

AKA: The Wicked Witch of the East's slipper.


Kathy U. bought this for me, and shipped it to me, when she was on her honeymoon, as I recall. I love it! It's the sparkliest thing on my tree, so it always goes in the middle of the tree, where the glitter can catch and reflect maximum lightage.

Isn't it lovely?

I've known Kathy the Younger since she was a kid, and she never ceases to surprise and delight me. I love her as much as I love red glitter and all things sparkly. Which is to say: as much as I love life itself.

This is a new one.

My brother Brett made it. Dude blows glass, and this year he thought he'd try his hand at Christmas balls.

Isn't it awesome? Clear green glass with a polka dot pattern. This shot was taken from above the ornament, but I wish you could see how it glitters and throws the lights.

Brett and Karen brought a box of ornaments home with them for Thanksgiving and let Katie and me pick what we wanted, before they hit the market. Kate took the big green ball, and I took the little one. It makes my heart happy that my sister and I have matchy-matchy-green-squared ornaments that our brother made.

My life is rich with memories. (Honestly, I think I have more good memories than my fair share, but man alive... do I love them!) I'm grateful for the people in my life, for the amazing people who have always blessed my life, for the trails they've left in my past and for the trinkets I have to remember them by.

Sitting here, in my little house, surrounded by things that I love brings me joy. I love it here, all the time. But especially at Christmas.

Life is good, peeps. It's good without a flocked tree, but I'm not going to lie... it's even better with one!

Man alive, I love Christmas! I love the sights and the smells and the music and the food. I love it all! But, mostly, I love the people who've helped me enjoy Christmas over the years. Thank you for sharing my life and making me merry, for reading my blog and for keeping up with what's happening in my world. I wouldn't be who I am without you, and I love ya more than I can say.

Happy Christmas! Be Merry!


Crowwyng said...

I love you Miss Christmas, and this post is the best so far, especially love the visuals of the mouse Christmas. Were they quiet Christmas Eve?
Thank you for sharing your favorite things.

Crowwyng said...

I love you Miss Christmas, and this post is the best so far, especially love the visuals of the mouse Christmas. Were they quiet Christmas Eve?
Thank you for sharing your favorite things.

Genevra said...

What a cool post! I have been thinking about your brother's glass blown ornament for a couple days now. It just fascinates me. That is such a cool thing to be able to do and to give to loved ones.