Christmas as you age

One of the few pictures of me at Christmas

One of the few pictures of me at Christmas

One of my memories from childhood was visiting the parents of my sister-in-law. They were ancient. Truly ancient. They lived in a small in-town end-of-row house with not much room. I remember it as dark (and ancient). Lots of lace and Victorian furniture that had seen better days.

At Christmas they would put out a single ceramic Christmas tree with lights about 12 inches tall on the mantle. That was it. I was always sad that they didn’t go ‘gong ho’ with the decorations and cooking and stuff. Isn’t that the fun part of Christmas?

They served Russel Stover candies. That’s good except I wasn’t allowed to bite in and put it back if it wasn’t a caramel. In our house most of the candy had teeth marks or at least a finger nail scratch. (Yes we were uncouth!)

They were nice enough for ancient people but they weren’t like my mother who was 20 years younger.

My mother’s house was always full of light (and good smells) even when she got older. The cards were hung on the staircase and there were candles and decorations all over.

Once I moved out of the house her “decorating” dwindled but there were enough of us to come and help put something up. Between my niece and me, she always had a tree.

She said it was too much work but we put up the tree anyway. Afterward we took it down. If we weren’t on her time schedule she took it down herself.

Now as I am getting older, the whole decorating thing is turning from excitement to pure work. The beloved husband loves a tree so there is one. Even the cats no longer pull off the balls.

As for other stuff — Yikes!

Do I have to get it all out? How about just a nice poinsettia? Or a single Santa?

We have downsized our (artificial) tree several times from a tall chubby one to a tall thin one to a medium sized thin one. Now we have a small thin four footer. We keep most of the decorations on the tree and stick it in a bag until next year. Easy peasy.

Given the choice I would forego it. (The cats would not be happy as they love sleeping on the velvet tree skirt. Perhaps I can get them a velvet cat bed?)

At this point my perfect Christmas would have a ginormous poinsettia on the table and a little Norfolk pine with red bows. Oh yes and a wreath on the door. (I’m still about the people part and getting together, just not the work part.)

Thinking back to those ancient folks who didn’t decorate, I’m getting to be more like them every day except my house will never be dark!

Some of my readers are retirement folks (no, you are not ancient!). Do you go hog wild at Christmas or have you toned down your decorating zeal?

76 thoughts on “Christmas as you age

  1. I posted before I finished! Anyway perhaps Husband will bring the skinny tree down from the attic and we will decorate. We enjoyed our neighbors’ outdoor decorations but it was nice not to fool with them this year indoors. But we did add lights to the fireplace screen and had lots of candles so my house will never be dark! Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Charley loves Christmas, so I decorate and celebrate for him. We have a large box labeled with “Santas” “Snowmen” “Angels” “Tree” “Linens” “Lights”, etc and starting after Thanksgiving, we take out a box whenever we feel like it and decorate. Very organized. It feels nice doing it for someone else. The truth is, I could do without the season altogether. (I know! I hide it well if you look at my posts.) Much like Roxie, I’m relieved that it is almost December 26th and all will quiet down around here. I enjoy solitude.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love solitude too. I don’t like the crowd when you go grocery shopping or even for a coffee. What is it? Do people only drink coffee around the holidays? You are organized! A few years back we downsized the tree to 4′. We keep it decorated and just wrap it up and store it. I have a few boxes marked with things like mantle and Santas but the thing I’m looking for is never in the marked box! Within another week we will put all the stuff away except for the lights in the window. We keep those until March otherwise it’s so dark and bleak coming home in the evening.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve found that my interest in decorating the house at Christmas has increased as I age, rather than dwindled. It might be that when I was younger I didn’t spend as much time in the house during the festive season! I’ve never bothered with a a tree but am becoming obsessed with lots and lots of light. I really feel the need to bring light into the house during these dark days of winter. It takes forever to drape them everywhere and I often end up spending a fortune in AA batteries.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve spent a lot of time these past couple of weeks trying to do everything I used to do. Maybe it’s time I tone things down a little. My whole family is coming this year, though, and they’ll be here for two weeks. So I do want to make things special. Maybe next year I’ll shorten my Christmas card list. Better yet, we could all meet at a beach somewhere.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The beach! Perfect! When you have a crowd in, that’s the year to go all out. We are having a small family get-together this weekend but that’s all the entertaining we plan to do. Hardly worth all the effort. Downsizing the tree helped a lot. That was always a full day job.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. That photo is priceless! You look the same … especially those gorgeous curly locks.
    My favorite line: “If we weren’t on her time schedule she took it down herself.” Made me laugh because I know exactly what you’re talking about… jeez.
    I love my Christmas decorations, but I too have scaled it down. I hate taking them down. Everything seems so blank in January…ugh.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Still love the crazy plaids too! My Mom was one of a kind. I have a banister that used to be decked. It hasn’t seen anything in years. I love going to homes that are all decked out but none of my friends do that anymore.

      Like

  6. There seems to be some ebb and flow with us. Every other year or so (of late) when we go hog wild decorating. On the odd year when we don’t, the inside of the house still gets decked out, but the outside gets so neglected that even Santa (and that big eastern syndicate that runs Christmas) might feel neglected. These kind of years seemed to have started after the girls got married and moved out—now with families of their own. Still, I love getting the house into the spirit, even in those years when I wish to paint the wife green and call her Grinch. Yet, there are those years (this year being one of them) when she puts her Grinch shirt on (but wears a heart on her shirt three sizes larger—plus two) and decks out the halls. That’s when Bah Humbug takes a backseat and the Clark Griswald in me really cuts loose with the outside of the house going VEGAS, and the boys being pressed into service as elves—albeit, sometimes with attitude Ho, ho, ho! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh no — I’m supposed to decorate? I KNEW I was forgetting something.

    I used to be a positive elf. But my son is grown, and all of my ornaments were given to me by folks who have died. My heart breaks with each and every ornament hung. I hate it. We will buy and put up our tree this coming weekend. Can’t wait.

    Your picture is adorable. And the tinsel! We were strictly forbidden from tossing it, until one year my brother and I made “birds’ nests” out of tinsel. It seems that my parents hated nagging us to hang it string by string as we did doing it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agree. We’re supposed to decorate? Kidding. In prior years (kid years) we would go all out, both inside and outside. Post-kids, it was toned down. Last several years? Nothing ever made it outside the box. This year I finally gave away all my Christmas decorations (tree, manger, stockings, etc). My sole nod to Christmas is a sparkly white wreath on the front door with shockingly bright lime green and hot pink glass ornaments. That works perfectly for me.

      As far as the tinsel goes, that was always my favorite part. All that shimmer and shine against the sparkly lights on the tree. In a perfect world, my entire house would be dripping in tinsel. But I also remember it being a bit of a pain to clean up every year, since bits of tinsel seemed to find its way into every nook and cranny, some of which would get discovered months later. These days my ridiculously bright wreath on the front door is more than enough. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • The good news is that I don’t do that anymore. (Not because I have changed in any way but I buy all caramels these days so there are no surprised.) Thanks. All kids look cute. It’s too bad we didn’t think so when we were young.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. Ahhhh…..If only. Our Christmas decorating usually takes us well over a week to compete. Lots of boxes and containers that just seem to grow each year. I’m getting to old to lug these containers up and down stairs and even though I love the finished product, getting there is a drain that I don’t look forward to as much as I once did. Then here’s the putting away of everything..:)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I love decorating. My husband does not. He’s excited because this year there’s no tree since we’re traveling. I was okay with that because it’s been freezing and snowing in NH and I was excited for a picturesque New England Christmas.

    Only now, of course, it’s going to snow just enough to wreck travel plans and then rain.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that photo of you! Cute as a button.

    Our place no longer looks like Christmas exploded, but we have 2 small trees, several humorous reindeer, and lots and lots of Santas sprinkled around. Plus poinsettia. I’m always surprised at how little time it takes to decorate and then put the decorations away ~ maybe 90 minutes for each.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Not retirement age for awhile….. But 🙂 I do enjoy decorating, but don’t go hog wild. The tree gets put up the beginning of December and I pull out the Christmas lights for indoors. A running fountain that changes colors, a little candy shop and a ceramic gingerbread house that lights up. Plus a little “Charlie Brown” tree that has lights. My favorite thing to do in the evenings is have all the lights off but our tree and those lights as we watch a Christmas movie or something else.
    I also have poinsettas around as well and I put the Christmas china on our dining room table with the red tablecloth. For one month out of the year our dining room table isn’t a table that collects everything that others want to pile on it!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I have a magical genie who pulls everything out of the attic and decorates frenetically for Christmas. We have hundreds of angels (my collection) which he scatters about the house. There is an angel shower curtain, angels hanging from the light pulls, statues on every window sill, an angel night light, heavenly beings on top of cabinets and all over the tree. He hangs lighted garlands on the decks and puts a candle in every window. The only room without a touch of Christmas is the laundry room. Even the garage has a back-lit hanging in a window! The tree this year is amazing. I didn’t think it was outlandishly huge, but John says it is the largest tree we’ve ever had. He used every ornament we possess. We have three sets of Christmas dishes and probably 50 mugs, all in the cabinets and in use. I’ve steamed the Christmas puddings, prepared unbaked fruitcake rolls, and today I’m drying the Swedish Toast (biscotti). Yes, we are ancient, but our two grandsons are coming. Would you need any other excuse to go all out????

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Christmas and all the wonder it brings will always be nostalgic for me. I love the sparkle of the glitter, the twinkle of tinsel. As lazy as I can be, I will always have to have to decorate. It makes me happy!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. When I was little we had lots of decorations inside and out. When I was single and then newly married and when my kids were little we decorated inside and out. Most always had a 6 foot tree, fully loaded, in the middle of the living room window and stuff all over the house and on the doors and walls. Now that the kids are gone, the decorating inside and out has fallen to the wayside, even though I have TONS of stuff that I LOVE. Last year we had a very unusual Christmas in that my husband was gone for almost the whole month of December and into January and part of the family went out of town so I got a “Charlie Brown” christmas tree from Michaels (really, it was broken and on sale!) and I think we are going to use that again this year, even though we will all be home. Kinda like a new tradition?

    Liked by 1 person

  15. A small tabletop tree, nativity, and a few other bits and my decorating is finished. Hubby doesn’t seem to care one way or the other. Chex mix and maybe a cookie bake or two. Two grandkids are grown and no great grands yet. One thing I really enjoy is sending and receiving cards. Usually buy mine for the next year after Christmas. Lang has wonderful cards and good sales. Growing up our tree was usually one cut from the pasture. Once in awhile a scraggly fir from town, which I liked better… big fat electric lights in those days, no bubble lights at our house, old Shiny brite ornaments, tinsel saved from year to year, ditto Christmas wrapping paper, ironed if wrinkly… Being youngest of nine my brothers and sisters all had in-laws to go to so if we got together it was on a Sunday before or after Christmas and do you know I can’t remember a single thing we ate! My mother may have been tired of cooking by the time I came along!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wonderful memories! I like the house decorated, I just don’t like doing it. We get more minimal every year. Back when we had parties, it was more fun. Now with just us and maybe a friend or two, it doesn’t seem worth the effort.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. You were so cute (and still are)! In that photo you look a lot like my Bermuda sister, Helen! You are probably around the same age. She is 66, I think. About five years ago, I got a four foot “table top tree”, which is prelit. I love it. I put out a few things, all smaller than years ago. But I love the fireplace, the carols, the lights, the baby in the manger, and I love baking a few of my husband’s favourites. But I also like getting everything back to “normal” in the New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I remember my mother being glad to take the tree down on Jan 1st or 2nd (whichever had more people available to help). Two weeks of stuff out of place and gifts lying around were enough for her. I’m slightly older than your sister. Hope she’s doing well. She never did come back to blogging.

      Like

  17. Hi, Kate – I’ve struggled with the same Christmas decorating dilemma this year. Now that it is done, I am happy to have things up. It has been lovely when people have dropped by, and we are now grandchildren-ready! Taking it all down will be another story…but until then the soft glow from the Christmas tree lights, and the nativity scene above the fireplace, have been peaceful and uplifting.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. We have a very quiet Christmas every year, but we do put up our little tree and our cards. With no window sills or shelves aboard, we hang them along the walls.
    I am looking forward to cooking our Christmas dinner though, and we will have a traditional meal with all the trimmings! I’ve got the puds and cake already.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I used to decorate like a crazy woman just like my Mom. My Mom loved Christmas and Easter, all the holidays really. I lost the motivation to decorate several years ago and just put out our foot and a half green ceramic tree with lights that my Mom made for us for a Christmas present in 1974… 😀 Christmas music on Sirius and that little tree are just right. BUT before that we did two tall thin trees and now we have one tall thin pre-lit tree that we stick out on the four seasons porch nekked except for the pine cones that came on it… it’s very festive at 4 oh clock for wine time! I do have a wreath on the front door. Oh, and candles in all the front windows. The end.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. We have a small tree, with lights, and we have cards standing on any flat surface! Gifts (what few there are nowadays) will go under the tree… and we celebrate by eating things that we wouldn’t normally eat! Let’s not forget a spiked coffee is good, as is a sherry!
    We used to have invites over to relatives with children, but Ray’s initial aggressive behavior excludes him from the invitation. Although he has made huge improvements re socializing, his earlier performances are what are remembered, and his separation issues prohibit leaving him on his own.
    I love our Christmas at home because not only am I sharing it with one very special person and a very special dog but, being at home all day, we will get happy phone calls!
    Christmas, with all the toys etc is a time for young children. Not having young children, I am very happy to be able to take it easy and chill with good food and a drink or two! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

Don't be shy, I'd love to hear what you're thinking!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s