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Memories of Christmases past hang on our tree

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By Cindy Beamon
Columnist

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

One of my favorite things to do at Christmas is to spend time gazing at our decorated tree.

In a way, it reminds me of watching a fire.

We have a few blinkers among our assortment of old-fashioned colored lights that have a way of putting me into a trance. There’s something peaceful about watching them in the dark at the end of the day.

The Christmas ornaments are also reminders from different periods of our lives.

One of my newest ornaments is a reminder of my job as editor for the Albemarle Life section. I became more aware of all the great shops downtown while doing a story on Small Business Saturday, and began shopping there with family. Since then, I usually receive a gift from Tina Clancy's Art & Antique Connection each year. One is an ornament — an iridescent purple painted with silver icicles and silver sequins — that friends from our Sunday School class gave me.

I also have some really old reminders of Christmases past.

There’s a wooden bride and groom that Bob’s sister gave us when we were newlyweds more than three decades ago.

I have a few ornaments that are even older than that one.

The penguin on a sleigh was given to me by a childhood friend and a needlepoint snowflake was made by one of my cousins.

One of my favorites is a handcrafted gold and white bell made entirely of sequins that my late mother-in-law gave us. I am less fond of a barbed wire-looking steer she also gave us – as I recall it was a memento from a cross-country trip they made.

My sister-in-law for a time gave us some crystal angels from their trip to London. I rarely see her anymore, but each year, I remember her when we hang those ornaments.

We also have plenty of reminders of our children. We’ve kept a few of their handmade creations – clothespin Rudolph, oyster shell Santa, and lace angels they made in Bible school.

We have lots of violins -- reminders of all those violin lessons and Christmas concerts we attended.

The girls delighted in giving me one of my most unusual Christmas decorations – a big pink Hello Kitty. In those days, I was totally immersed in all-things-children and familiar with all the cool toys.

We have a whole plastic bag filled with clear beaded icicles given to us from a little old lady I met through my parents and all their mall-walking friends. The group used to delight at seeing the girls arrive in their strollers and when the girls got older, they gave them quarters to ride the indoors merry-go-round.

My mother gave us two giant Santa Claus ornaments that are great for filling bare spots on the tree.

The list goes on…a “B for Bear” ornament from a student, a “Silent Night, Holy Night” ornament from an ornament swap, a glittery sand dollar painted soft blue that my niece made….

The twinkling lights only add to their charm.

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