Do you think they’ll let me stay at the party if I don’t have any cookies to exchange? Yesterday I baked a cake to take to a holiday party, and I thought it would be perfect for this event too. However . . . it didn’t exactly turn out as I’d planned. Even J.P. said it wasn’t one of my better efforts. So alas, I’m afraid I can’t offer you much to eat. But there’s plenty of eggnog in the fridge—please, help yourself!
You know how sometimes you have to invite people over in order to motivate yourself to clean the house? No? Maybe that’s just me. Now I know that the principle also applies for blog people. Until about 10:30 last night, we had absolutely no Christmas decorations up. And then I remembered you were coming by today, so decided I’d better get moving.
For the last few years, I’ve been asking my grandma about her Advent calendar. She made it herself from a pattern many years ago, and I remember it hanging in their house when I was a kid. She didn’t know what had happened to it, but she did manage to dig up the pattern and send it to me. I knew she must still have the calendar too because . . . well, you’ll see in the next part of the post. And I knew she’d give it to me if she could find it.
When we were in Minnesota for my grandpa’s funeral, my dad and his brother were cleaning out my grandparents’ house in preparation to put it on the market. We grandkids enjoyed going through some of their things, reminiscing about when we were young and they’d have all five of us stay overnight. And what do you suppose I found? It was in a box with other Christmas decorations, and the box was marked, “1991 – Didn’t use. Don’t bring down (from attic) again.” Yes! I was so excited!
There’s an ornament for each day, plus a set of candles for each of the four Sundays in Advent. And there’s a big sequined star that goes on the top. I think it’s SO much better than the ones you can buy in the stores. But after hanging all the little ornaments on it tonight? I totally understand why it’s been up in the attic for 16 years. The pins she used are literally only about 1/2″ long, and it’s a HUGE pain to get them through all those layers of felt! Perhaps I’ll have to invest in some longer pins.
Remember that part above where I said I knew she’d still have the Advent calendar? Well, here’s how I knew . . .
Because we also found this among their Christmas decorations:
Yes, it’s the original box. Complete with Montgomery Ward mailing label and $.48 postage to have it sent from St. Paul.
The instructions were still in the box, and apparently they took the storage instructions very seriously. (Click to see a larger image.)
Even this was still in the box:
The dates on both sheets of paper say October 1961. No wonder I don’t remember them having this in their house! My dad was probably in junior high when they got it. Inside the box, each of the tree’s branches was in its own individual sleeve:
I tend to think of decorating as being my grandma’s thing, but when I came across the top branch (which seems to be exactly like the others) I recognized my grandpa’s writing. It took me by surprise, and it brought tears to my eyes.
Here’s the finished product:
I do have the color wheel light for it, but it was tough to get a good picture of it in the dark with the funky colors. I bought the ornaments at Target last month—I thought they’d look cool with the silver. We could use a tree skirt though. What do you think would look good?
The tree itself doesn’t really bring back any memories for me, but unpacking the box sure did. My grandma has always been the queen of packaging, so seeing all the branches packed so meticulously in the original box along with the instructions and everything is just so “her.” Even the box smells like their house. It was really fun to assemble tree as they must have done 40+ years ago.
And now . . . a little invitation of my own. The holiday festivities continue next week! On Wednesday, December 19, don’t forget to post a photo of your pets and/or kids dressed in their holiday finery. Stop by that day and leave a comment so we can come and visit you. Invite your friends—the more the merrier!