Nostalgia and Common Sense

When I was about 10 years old, I thought my mother was cheap when it came to Christmas tree decorating.  We had only 2 or 3 boxes of ornaments — and I didn’t like any of them!  I always wanted her to buy us more.  After working on the lights this evening, I’ve changed my mind.

I strung 3 long strands of lights, making sure each strand lit before I wound it around the tree.  I had finished about half the tree when I plugged the three strands together.   Sparks didn’t fly, but I did hear one strand pop.  The string of lights was gone, filler for the kitchen trashcan.  The strings were old so I wasn’t surprised that one of them didn’t work.   I just wish it had happened before it went on the tree.   With not enough white lights to finish the tree, I had to switch to strands of the multi-colored lights — after I removed the strands already on the tree.

By the time I checked another 5 strands of lights and placed them on the tree, I was tired. But, since I had opened one container of ornaments, I dug deep to find the motivation to get those 100 ornaments on the tree.   One hour later, my tree, while not finished, looks okay.  I may leave it as-is.

Why?   I’ve reassessed my mother’s tree-trimming days of my childhood.   I think that the small allotment of ornaments she owned was not due to frugality.   She wasn’t cheap; she was tired.  We had exactly the number of ornaments that she had energy to hang once the kids grew tired of decorating the tree.

Hanging ornaments this evening, I thought about those ornaments and grew a bit nostalgic over them.   What happened to them? I wondered.

And then my senses came back to me:  those ornaments are still ugly and I don’t have the energy to put out all the ornaments I already own!


3 responses to “Nostalgia and Common Sense

  1. Fantastic artwork and GREAT story. Also I kinda like the notion of a “patchwork” tree by having to finish the tree in colored lights. It reminds me of the time we had to wear patches on our clothes – not so much that we couldn’t afford new clothes but because our parents wanted us to get all the use out of the old ones. Besides is frugality bad? Not when mixed with common sense. And I’m sure that we can find common sense in almost all our parents actions now where we couldn’t when we were younger. If we’ve inherited common sense then God bless our parents because it seems that common sense is sadly missing in todays world. Thanks for this post. Merry Christmas.

  2. your post made me laugh. I guess it’s unavoidable that as we grow up we don’t agree with our parents’ ways of decorating the tree, like many other things, but I say that there are more important battles to pick than this one. I love when nostalgia doesn’t cloud everything and common sense kicks in!

    • I was thinking the other day as I decorated the tree about my 24-year long project to buy a few ornaments each year & label them with the year. Someone had given me this suggestion at my son’s first Christmas. “And then, when your children are grown, they can have their ornaments to hang on their own tree.” Nice idea. Although he may want them at some time in the future, I can’t imagine him wanting them for many many years. Maybe if I had had a daughter and she was now grown with a home of her own. I should be glad that if my son has any holiday decorations in his apartment that I haven’t seen them because they probably involve Go cups from some local beachside bar. Or Dr. Who. 🙂