Monday, December 2, 2013

Out With the Old, In With the New?

by Kate Collins

I started two new traditions at Thanksgiving this year. For the first one, see last week's post here The second was a brand new stuffing recipe chock full of veggies and sweet Italian sausage. Radical! If your family is like mine, you know how hard it is to buck tradition. But this new recipe, given to me by a friend, was an immediate hit. Not only that, but they voted it back next year.

Now on to Christmas. It was always my custom to put up a huge tree that would hold the gazillion ornaments my family had collected over decades. But this year I ordered a pencil tree a mere 24 inches wide at the base, because that's how big the space for it in my new house is. So I'm betting 3/4 of those ornaments aren't going to fit on it. How do I choose which ones to cut? Would it be better to do something new?

And then there's my Santa Claus collection -- big, 2 foot high Santas that were all over my big house. Now, poor Santa and his buddies have no room. So out all but two go. In fact, many of my old decorations just don't fit in my new house.  Yet I feel guilty getting rid of these things that have so many memories attached. So the dilemma is, do I put them back in the box on the shelf or donate them?

Change is hard, especially when you didn't choose the change. But as I've learned since I lost my beloved soulmate, change happens whether we want it to or not. So I'm making the choice to donate the old and embrace the new -- while still hanging onto a few very special pieces.

What traditions would you like to change? And what will you never change?

21 comments:

Heather Blake Webber said...

Italian sausage stuffing sounds yummy! As for your ornaments, maybe check with your kids before donating? I know I'd love some of my parents' ornaments.

SueAnn said...

We were the same way, moving to a smaller home 3 yrs ago- bigger yard...smaller living space!! And...we had a yard sale, donated..LOTS of things....we would prefer a smaller Christmas too....all we did, we did for the kid! For us..we don;t need all the fuss....we put things for him, in a big box..he can decide.....Life does change....it is a moving thing...and we have to move with it..like it or not.....and I see...where next year, I will be donating more ...did'nt do enough!! LOL!!!

Laineshots said...

This weekend we are staying in a very tiny, absolutely charming village that was built and settled by Germans (for decades, exclusively). They're holding their Traditional Christmas celebration, and I've observed quite a few things since we've been here. The people who live here, most of whom are descendants from the original settlers, not only respect tradition, they live with it. BUT--they are not slaves to the past. They teach and pay loving homage to the traditions their ancestors held, but they practice only the ones that add to their lives now without taking something away, and they form new ones, too. I've learned from them. Life evolves, and so must we.

Anonymous said...

I have this affection for vintage (think Shiny Bright) Christmas ornaments. I keep "rescuing" them at yard sales. Um...I seem to have collected about five dozen more this past summer. I have a BIG TREE, but I already have far too many ornaments for it. I've actually entertained the idea of having two trees. Where would I put another one? I have no idea ... but I sure like the idea.

Kate Collins said...

What a beautiful place to be. It sounds like the people there are very down to earth. Great lessons.

Kate Collins said...

That's the trend now, Lorraine. A tree for the front hall, perhaps?

Katie Johnson said...

When my mom downsized, she gavd each of us a number of "our" ornaments and then told us to take what we wanted from the other decorations and that slimmed down what she had to store and gave us the ones we wanted - luckily no fighting among the adults on choosing items that still get isplayed just in other houses.

Pam L said...

We were forced to make a big change in our Christmas decorating when we decided to have cats. Less is definitely more. We purchased one of those trees with a very tall trunk. Bought unbreakable ornaments, bows and some natural curly twigs etc. So much less work as we are getting older too. We also buy a real tree and put it on our deck with lights and plastic decorations. Really pretty when it snows!

Sally R said...

In 2008 I lost both my parents, survived another hurricane, had to make some career choices. I told my husband I simply could not face the ordeal of a Christmas tree. He was broken hearted and while I was away for something, went out and purchased a 4 foot lighted tree. It is perfect! Only the favorite ornaments go on, and every year I get rid of more and keep myself from buying more. I do have to figure out where to sell some of the sterling silver ornaments because I am so over polishing. It feels good

Leslie Budewitz said...

Try putting some of those favorite ornaments in a crystal bowl on a table, where they will still shine and remind you of the fun times and the people they represent.

Tarri said...

If it is an ornament that you are not fond of, I say donate. But if it is a treasure, wait a few years before you give it up. You can always hang the ones not selected for the tree on wire or ribbon around windows and doors, on wreaths or use them to decorate packages.

Kristen said...

I'm a sucker for keeping traditional items. Very hard to let go. Marginal ones are easier to get rid of, but special ones? How about converting an old window screen? Glue festive ribbon around the edges and hang the other ornaments on it and place in a window. Lets the light in, looks festive and doesn't take floor space. :)

Rachelle21 said...

It is a lot easy when you do not celebrate Christmas. Since we have cats, I bought an electric menorrah- a lot easier to deal with than trees. I did have a small tree when I taught that was artificial.

HelenF said...

Take pictures of anything that you do give away. That way you still have a record of it and can bring back the memories by just looking at the picture. But then again it just might make you weep or regret that you actually gave it away. It's a hard decision.

Peg Cochran said...

We (and by that I mean me) have a boatload of ornaments that my late husband and I collected on our travels. The girls loved getting them out every Christmas and hearing the stories behind them. When I remarried we still had a big house but when the girls left for their own places and we downsized to a lovely condo. And last year we only had a small fake, pre-lit tree that we used to put on the landing over the front door of the house. And everyone survived! I think it's time to start doling out the ornament collection to my girls.

Elaine Klingbeil said...

We are living in a motel this month. My husband is retiring at the end of the year, we are moving to another state into my mom's basement (she doesn't want to move off the farm and into town so hopefully we can help her stay there longer.) All the Christmas things, except one string of lights, are packed up and stored. I am not sure when I will ever use any of the decorations again. So far I have been too busy packing and moving and cleaning to think too much about it but I think I am going to be missing the stuff that helped make memories.

Kate Collins said...

Great idea, Katie!

Kate Collins said...

Pam, my friend is down to a few ornaments way high on her tree because of her cat. Your solution is great. I'll pass it along to her.

Kate Collins said...

Sally, I understand where you're coming from. Decorating for Christmas isn't the joy it was when my husband was here. Now it's more like a duty. It helps to have new things to put out.

Kate Collins said...

Love it.

Kate Collins said...

Elaine, don't throw away the important pieces. I donated way too many things before I moved, then found out I did have room for more.