Hooray! The Christmas Bell is hanging in its rightful place and The Season has officially begun at our house!
The bell is an artifact from the early nineteen hundreds – something my mother and father ran across when they were cleaning out cupboards and attics after they first moved into the house. That was when they retired to Oysterville in 1971. They made a lot of ‘discoveries’ during those moving-in days, but I don’t think any of the treasures they found pleased mom more than the old paper, accordion-style, Christmas Bell. She remembered it from her childhood. And since she would have been 102 on November 13, the bell is probably close to a century old.
As you would expect, it is fragile and has been carefully repaired at least a dozen times over. It’s always the first decoration we put up for the holidays and, once it’s in place, the countdown begins. There are presents to wrap, cards to send, a tree to find and decorate. To say nothing of the boughs of greens and holly for the mantles, the baking to be done… No! Wait! We don’t do Christmas cookies. That’s because our neighbor Carol and her daughter Betsy have been the Christmas Cookie Elves since we moved here more than a decade ago. And, says Carol, “It will be Christmas as usual again this year.”
Of course, I’m never quite on top of everything on my list of to-do’s. Last year I bagged the Christmas cards entirely. (So far, none have arrived in our mail this season and I’m thinking it may be payback because we skipped a year…) I wonder what will be eliminated or forgotten this year.
Every once in a while I think it might be good to plan ahead the way some of my highly organized acquaintances do. Really ahead – like my friend who shops the after-Christmas sales to stock up on wrapping paper and ribbon for the next year. I have tried buying gifts for people as things catch my eye throughout the year. But when the time comes and I dig out whatever clever gift I thought I had purchased, my reaction is usually, “What was I thinking???”
Nope. I need the Christmas Bell in place and the nip of frost in the air to get in the Christmas spirit. Oh Boy! Peace and Joy and Hurry and Scurry. ’Tis all part of the Season!