Especially when December’s black darkness settles like a woolen coat over the landscape, and all of the lights inside the Warehome have been shut off, the twinkling bulbs on the trimmed tree can take me back to any Christmas of my life in their reassuring continuity.  Some of the ornaments hanging from our tree’s crooked branches have belonged to our families for more than 30 years, and as I place them on the tree, and tell Honeydew their stories, or vice versa, there is a time capsule feel to the whole event.


Here is the wooden tree Howard made in preschool; here is Honeydew’s favorite rocking horse; here is the gold star for my family’s long-since-dead German Shepherd George; here is the only ornament we’ve ever bought together, a delightfully ugly armadillo we picked up at a bee convention in Galveston; here is Maggie’s 1st Christmas ornament; and here is the newest one, that arrived yesterday, a link to my heritage:


As we string tinsel and curse at lights and warble along with Bing Crosby and She & Him, I serve spiced almonds and homemade caramels and smoked trout on the Spode china handed down to me by my mother, and I know the only thing’s that really changed for me is my time zone, and the fact that I am in charge, and not assisting.  Still a strange feeling.


Later this month, I will set the table with one grandmother’s wedding china and use another’s recipes for cheese straws, dressing, and coconut pie to heap upon said table.  I will e-mail one aunt to ask her advice about cranberries, and call another for thoughts on sweet potato biscuits and tiny pecan tartlets.  I will start my own traditions with Honeydew and Maggie Rose, too, and further broaden all that December may one day mean to Maggie, as she carefully unwraps the beeswax ornaments I made before she was born, to hang on her tree, wherever that might be.


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