Holiday Decorations

Blog, Home, Living Room / Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

When it comes to holidays, I’m not much of a decorator. There’s a whole lot of effort that goes into decorations for very little payoff. Most of the time, you’re decorating your house for you alone. A few days or weeks after, you take them down and put them in a box for next year’s holiday. It’s odd, when you think about it, that I married a woman like Ellie who loves to decorate for holidays. Whatever, it gets me off the hook and I still get to appreciate the work she does.

However, I do make an exception for Christmas. It’s that one holiday we maintained decorations for as we grew up. My mom used to decorate for more holidays, I can still remember all of the Halloween decorations with flocking on them. But as we got older, it must have been too much work or not worth it except for Christmas.

For Christmas, we always put up lights and a tree, a nativity and everything else we had accumulated over the years. It would be topped off with the antique ornament my mom got from her grandmother decades ago. It is a silvery blue orb hung from a pull string. When you pull it, it winds up a music box inside that plays Silent Night. It’s a beautiful tradition that I love so much that I put in a significant amount of time last year trying to track down one of my own ornaments so my mom’s ornament didn’t end up missing. I tracked down the make and model and there was one available but I didn’t pull the trigger on it. This year, there are a few available but eBay sellers are asking a couple hundred dollars for one and that’s a tradition I can hold off on for now.

Another decoration tradition we have is that we have a nativity scene complete with Precious Moments figures. I’m guessing it’s a set my parents picked up back in the eighties. It’s a comforting scene to remind you that the Christian part of the holiday has roots in something other than consumerism and indulgence. The baby Jesus doesn’t make it into the manger until Christmas Day (he’s usually stashed away behind the manger until then). As a teenager, I thought it would be funny to replace baby Jesus with one of the green aliens from Toy Story. My mom saw the humor in it, my aunt apparently did not. Since then, the green alien has replaced baby Jesus more permanently in the manger not so much out of sacrilege but because it’s funnier than the chalky white Precious Moment.

My interpretations of religion aside, buying a house meant I could start collecting my own trove of holiday decorations. We have our tree scavenged from the curb and lights bought at end of season sales. Ellie searches far and wide for deals that will become staples of our decoration collection for years to come. Last winter, I picked up a set of figures for our own nativity (minus the green alien). However, it did not come with the manger scene. That, I decided, would be something I could put together myself and it could be modeled off the one my parents bought so many years ago. Last year, I didn’t have the time to build one before the holiday and this year it’s high on my list but I have yet to find the time. Fortunately, we only put up our decorations over the weekend so there is plenty of evenings ahead to craft the perfect holiday shrine to religion.

One thing Ellie and I didn’t really need to go out and buy was the set of ornaments to adorn the tree with. My mom neatly packaged all the ornaments I had been gifted over the years and they were ready for Ellie and I to hang on our tree. So many ornaments that mine along with a few supplemental ones we’ve collected in recent years filled our tree. I think Ellie thinks me, or my mom, is crazy for having all these ornaments but the half-dozen Donald ornaments, Chewbacca, and the two duplicate Wolverines are all a part of the tradition and I’m glad to have them on my tree.

In addition to decorations, there are more staples of Christmas that for me, make it Christmas. Those staples are nearly entirely food. A Zawacki family Christmas meal always contains the following (except that one year my mom tried to do something different and we were all unhappy):

  • Cheese lasagna
  • Meat lasagna
  • Italian sausage and meatballs in sauce
  • Pasta
  • Polish sausage and sauerkraut
  • Potato, sauerkraut, and plum pirogi
  • Raw eggnog

There might be others, but those are the ones that came to mind and I will crave for the next month. Maybe, if I get a chance, I’ll post the recipes so you can also have a Zawacki family Christmas dinner.

What holiday decorations do you keep around each year on your walls, your tree, and on your dinner table?

4 Replies to “Holiday Decorations”

  1. Josh and I are all about Christmas but all our thrift store finds and accumulated decorations reached their shelf life over the last couple years. Testing all the tiny bulbs on the icicle lights that framed our windows and illuminated our prelit tree got old. Plus, we had to take down a big mulberry tree that was sort of the centerpiece of our outdoor decorations. So we started from scratch. Our aesthetic is “Christmas barfed on our home.” We got a giant glittery multilevel singing and rotating Christmas village from Costco last year and raided Menard’s Enchanted Vilage for lit garland. So far the toddler hasn’t destroyed it. The same can’t be said for the handmade felt ornament set from Josh’s late nana. Those have been picked clean of their sequins and embellishments. We hung them up anyways. I’m most proud of our stockings. I cross-stitched our names and sewed the stockings. They’re adorable. We don’t have a fireplace but I hung them from a bookshelf.

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