I am not decorating my apartment as I usually do for Christmas, because I am leaving December 22 and will be gone for a month, and this month is flying by, and there is something depressing about getting rid of a Christmas tree several days before Christmas. Yet I wanted to enjoy at least a few of my favorite decorations, since this is likely my last Christmas on Tysen Street in Staten Island (pause to wipe the bittersweet tear about to roll down my cheek).
Some of my most treasured possessions come out at Christmas time, namely my Grandmother Biscomb’s manger scene (right) and glass tree ornaments (below).
My grandmother died in August of 1994. On the top of the box she kept the manger scene store in, she had written, “Manger Scene. Last used 1993. A.B.” She had not been diagnosed with cancer at that point, but at 82 years old, she knew something the rest of us did not: she was dying. She knew that would be her last Christmas on earth. I wish – oh, how I wish – I had known that too. I was a freshman in college down in Tennessee, and made no effort to visit Grandma in Michigan that year.
This Christmas will be very different for me. I will spend it in a city I have never visited and with people I have never met, and I’m delighted to be doing so, because I’ll be with the man I love and his family, who have already welcomed me warmly from afar. During this particular Advent season, though, these few small tokens from my family’s history are more precious to me than ever before.
What are some of your favorite Christmas decorations? Do you have heirlooms that are particularly meaningful to you?