67: Confessions of a Holiday Hoarder

67: Confessions of a Holiday Hoarder

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Joy of Christmas

Confessions of a Holiday Hoarder

Later is the best friend of clutter.

~Peter Walsh

I live in a modest home, but we have enough decorations to deck the halls of a strip mall. Think I’m kidding? We have two trees, three manger scenes, snowmen of all shapes and sizes, and enough holiday teapots to host the Mad Hatter.

We only actually purchased two of these items — the smallest tree and the humblest nativity scene. We were newlyweds and we had nothing — at least, for one merry minute. Then, recognizing that we had nothing, everyone gave us gifts and hand-me-downs until we had more Christmas decorations in our small flat than I had furniture.

When we became new parents, people gave us “Baby’s First Christmas” items — personalized ornaments, commemorative angels, more snowmen. This repeated with each additional child.

Then, my children entered the bauble and doodad factory that is kindergarten and grade school. Dozens of endearing holiday creations came our way — clothespin reindeers, Popsicle stick wreaths, papiermâché Christmas piñatas. Most bore the monstrous scrawl of a kiddo just learning how to write, often under the wandering inscription of “I love Mom and Dad.”

Ask any parent of a teenager — these things are more precious than gold, frankincense and myrrh.

When our grandparents moved to smaller living quarters, they gave us even more decorations, some very fine and some very corny. But they all have sentiment and meaning to us.

My husband and I are sentimental people but we never intended to be “Holiday Hoarders.” Every January I vow to clean out the maimed and lame, but then I hold onto something my grandmother gave me or something my seventeen-year-old made when she was three.

Heck, I struggle to get rid of the stuff even when it’s broken. The year my grandmother’s tree passed out on the living room floor, she was dying in hospice. I couldn’t bring myself to toss it, so I repurposed it. I took several boughs and used them to wrap around our staircase railing as a garland. That was two years ago and I am still doing it.

To atone for my soft heart, I organize like a curator. Everything has its place, even if its proper place should be the recycling bin. We have our original Christmas tree upstairs and my mother-in-law’s tree downstairs, an ornament gracing every bough. I have a table just for snowmen and another for teapots. I even have my own island of misfit toys for all the decorations that have no theme. The funny part is, when it’s all out, the place looks downright jolly.

It didn’t cost me much, except my crawlspace. And, one day when these kids of mine marry, it will all be theirs. They will probably toss most of it, but then again, they might not. After all, I already gave them something — my genes.

~Nicole L.V. Mullis

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