Tuesday, December 7, 2010

People, Look East

People, look east. The time is near

Of the crowning of the year.
Make your house fair as you are able,
Trim the hearth and set the table.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the guest, is on the way.
Eleanor Farjeon, 1928

I have always loved the sense of anticipation in this traditional Advent song. It is as relevent now as ever, as people around the world prepare to celebrate Christmas, busily baking, making, and decorating!

Although the preparations for Christmas are more exhausting now that I am a mother, I still cherish the moment when I open our boxes of decorations and remember the "story" behind each one. Christmas decorations are so unique and personal. I'm always appalled when I see trees that are decorated to coordinate with a decor or colour theme, where everything matches and looks brand new. The beauty of a Christmas tree is the stories it tells of Christmases past: baby's first, a bulb your mom handed down, a gift from a friend, a souvenir you picked up somewhere...this motley assembling of mismatched decorations is what makes your Christmas tree YOURS, and special.
A trove of memories.

The Inuit-made kamik I brought home from the North.

My dream-horse, a gift from my dear friend Rachel while we were in university.
These capable little 5-year-old hands worked diligently till the job was done, in spite of the prickly needles.
While we were decorating, things got awfully quiet, which means Violet was either into something, or had left the building. When I turned to seek her out, I saw this:
Seriously? The nightgown! The bare feet! The rocking chair! The sweet bent head! My heart was fit to burst.

I snuck up to get a closer look at what had her so enthralled...

She whispered, "I wiss this staw was mine..."

Okay, my girl. It's yours.


  1. This post brought tears to my eyes... my little girl (my youngest) is all grown up now. Thanks for sharing yours with us! Beautiful!

  2. I know exactly what you mean with those matchy matchy Christmas trees. Ew. The best part of decorating is reliving all the memories. The ornament my hubby gave me on our first Christmas together, the one eyed paper mache bird I made in elementary school...and now, my own children are adding to the collection. I love it!

    Stephanie :)

  3. that last picture!now that is what christmas is all about,love nanny

  4. I love it! Your daughter found the magic. I love the stories behind our ornaments too. My kids love when I tell them about their Great-Grandma who made this ornament or that I made this ornament when I was in second grade. Those stories about Christmas past are also stories about our family and family is what it's all about.

    Love your photos.

  5. Stephanie, I couldn't agree more. Our Christmas tree definitely isn't coordinated--in fact, some might call it tacky--but all of our ornaments are meaningful to us, and as the years go on more of them will be hand made.

    I was really quite saddened when I was at my mom's the other day and I saw her Christmas tree. For the past few years she's tried to make her tree more fashionable and coordinated, and slowly she has been removing all the old, special ornaments that don't match her colour themes...this year she went full tilt and got rid of everything old, including all the stuff I remember from my childhood, all the beautiful things people have given her over the years, and all the ornaments I painstakingly cross-stitched for her a couple of years ago. Now her tree is covered in brand new gold and copper glittery gauze and flowers from Michael's, and that's it. It might as well be a tree from a department store. I don't know why I feel sad. I should know by now that my mom puts absolutely no sentimental value on anything. But still. I guess we are just really different in that respect.

    I love your post so much that I think I will do one like it, showing off some of my most special ornaments...I hope you don't mind. :)


  6. I JUST had this conversation with my sisters-in-law on the weekend. One of them has lost her children's ornaments as they all have their own trees now and she gave them to them. Another has teenaged boys who aren't quite as into the tree as they used to be.
    I thought we would get a smaller tree this year, but I don't think all of our treasures will fit!
    Those photos of Violet are priceless and that you captured it, recognized the magic and gave her her wish, are testament to the beautiful mother you are.
    Lucky, lucky girl.

  7. There you go, getting me all teary again. I *love* what you have to say, what Violet said, and that your hearts have such clear voices.

    Our tree is also adorned with precious memories, weaving together past and present.

    Much love...

  8. Wonderful post and so true. I remember having the same feelings as Violet when I was a little girl looking at an angel ornament passed on thru the generations.
    Now, I'm all teary eyed too!!

  9. First of all, I love your new photo at the top of the blog. A perfect winter blue sky with the trimming of snow on the barn roof. Awesome!
    And, I loved this post. Makes me think of the ornaments we have collected in our short fifteen years together and of course the ones that make it onto mom and dad's tree from 30+ years ago when we were kids. I would give Violet the world.

  10. P.S. I may do an ornament post as well. See? You're so inspirational :)



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