Chickens in the Basement

I love to write and I love to laugh. When I write, I get to the point quick. My stories would fit on the back of a postcard. They usually make me chuckle. And you know what they say, "It's all about me!"

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Twelfth Day of Christmas

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my Granny gave to me a tree full of ornaments she made. From the time I was 8 or so until she lost vision in one of her eyes, I must have been 38, Granny spent all of her free time sewing.
She collected various colors of felt, pom poms, sequins, thread and any other pieces and parts she could use to decorate. Birds were one of her first designs.

She scoured coloring books, cartoons and our lives for patterns and ideas for ornaments. If we got a new dog, an ornament in their likeness would soon appear on our tree.

These are my favorite Christmassy ornaments that Granny made. There are hundreds of others she created. But, for the Twelfth Day of Christmas, the traditional red, Santa clothes, reindeer, wreaths and mice show up so well on the Christmas tree.

Some were designed with children in mind while others were meant to appeal to everyone.

Granny was a constant in my life. We spent Christmases at her house until she downsized to a small apartment. Then, she came to our houses. The cousins would get together every year (and still do) to exchange gifts. All of our trees look similar...covered in ornaments made by Granny.

Now that Granny has joined the Chorus of Angels, her presence is especially with us at Christmas. As I decorated the tree this year, I remembered which ornaments she gave me when I graduated from college... The ones she gave me when the boys were born... The ones she made because the boys liked Sesame Street.

It's appropriate that Granny died on Mother's Day weekend. Her daughters and favorite niece were together with her on her last day. Whenever she remenisced, her family members were the focus. With three daughters and 11 siblings, not to mention all of the grandchildren, there were plenty of family stories to tell.

Granny and her sister, Martha Edna (always pronounced MothEdna), worked together to create so many of the ornaments. They sold their ornaments at various craft fairs.

This Santa ornament was also made into napkin rings. This pulled the Christmas decor from the living room into the dining room.

Some of the last designs Granny came up with were like this one. I love that Santa is holding a bird.

Even though I know this is Mrs. Claus, I always thought of her as Granny. She was the inspiration for so many of our Christmas traditions. While I thought she was the glue that held our extended family together, we have continued our celebrations together.

While many think of Santa as the focus of Christmas, I know that family is the most important tradition of Christmas for me.

Make your family the focus of your holidays.
Forgive those who have disappointed you.
Give the gift of time...share stories, laugh, play games.
You'll have no regrets!
May your Christmas memories warm your heart this and every year!


Chicken Boys said...

I have so many wonderful family Christmas memories, as it will be again this year. I got a new niece the other day I'll share about in a blog. One year my aunt made tons of ornaments just like your granny made, and our whole tree was decorated in them, including home made stockings for the whole family.

Jenny S said...

Awwwww, Merry Christmas!! Your "Granny" ornaments are BEAUTIFUL!

aBohemianMarket said...

i am not sure how I came to your blog yet what and enthralling story about your Grandma!!! I like hoe you say Aunt Martha Edna : )
I love all of the ornaments you can cherish and think of them : )
I do not have to fake Happy and it is obvious you don't either!!!
I love the photo of you with the chicken on your shoulder.
Happy day to you, Merry Christmas and peace

Vintage Christine said...

Oh gosh, this just made me cry. This is the first Christmas without Mom and I didn't think I'd be getting depressed about it, but I am. She used to make little ornaments like your Granny's and they mean so much more than anything else on the tree.

Yarni Gras! said...

Anna, these are simply lovely. My grandmother Peppy made many of the things I adore most at Christmas. You worded it all so beautifully, I'm sure she is so proud of you.

Merry Christmas

Anne~fiona and twig said...

I love your Granny's ornaments, so much better than store bought!

Wishing you and yours a most blessed and Merry Christmas!

LemonyRenee' said...

Those ornaments are precious and I'm so glad you see them that way, too. How special to have your life chronicaled by the art of your grandmother.

Merry Christmas!

Lisa said...

Love your ornaments, how lucky you are to have them! Thanks for sharing. May you and your family (and Skippy) have a Merry Christmas!

Natalie said...

"Chickens in the Basement?"
How have we not met?
Merry Christmas fellow chicken woman.