What happened to Sparkly Santa?
It’s that time of year again. Time for spring cleaning. Time to get busy and dispose of stuff you aren’t using and don’t need. If you’re a fan of Marie Kondo on Netflix, you might already have started re-organizing. It feels good when you get rid of stuff and free up space.
Just be careful. A couple summers ago Peter and I decided to go through our Christmas ornaments and decorations and get rid of the things that we didn’t want anymore. We were ruthless and reduced our Christmas stuff from four boxes to one—just one box filled with the most precious ornaments. Like the Delft Blue ornaments from Holland that Peter’s family had given us to mark the births of our children and an angel with my name on it that my mom gave me when I was a teen and special ornaments our kids had crafted—plus a few from Sweden and other countries Peter and I have visited. One precious box.
That was in the summer. Fast forward to the following December and it was time to decorate the Christmas tree. “Peter, can you get that box of Christmas stuff for me?” I asked.
“Sure,” he said and disappeared for what seemed like a very long time. When he came back into the living room, he had a pained expression on his face. “I can’t find it. I’ve looked everywhere,” he said. “I think I must have taken the box we wanted to keep to the thrift store with the other boxes by mistake.”
I could not believe what I heard. “Are you sure?” I asked. He nodded, but I still didn’t believe him. I started rattling off places it could be: the hall closet, the attic, the garage. He shook his head. I was devastated.
Like little pieces of my life, those pretty things had sentimental value. I suddenly felt a kinship to people who lose their belongings in floods and fires. It really hurts to know these precious things are gone forever. Peter went back to the thrift store, but they said whatever he brought in six months before was long gone.
Of course, losing a few ornaments is not the worst thing that can happen in life. I will tell you that every Christmas is a sad reminder of not having those ornaments to hang on the tree. There were other things in the box, too, like the sparkly Santa my middle son, Jasper, gave me long ago. I remember when we were sorting through everything, I nearly let the Santa go, but at the last minute, I decided to keep it. Or at least I thought I was keeping it. He disappeared along with everything else that was packed in the one precious box.
The only comfort left is the hope that those Delft Blue ornaments and sparkly Santa are part of someone else’s prized Christmas decorations now and that they love them as much as I did.
I haven’t really started collecting new ornaments. My heart’s just not in it. But Peter and I met a couple recently who like to travel as much as we do. They said they buy key chains everywhere they visit and then create ornaments from the small trinkets attached. I love this idea! Maybe now I can get excited again about decorating for Christmas.
So just remember as you do your spring cleaning this season, be extra careful to put the things you want to keep in a safe place. Happy downsizing!