Yesterday I unpacked a tote from the attic and when I reached in for a beaded garland….
….something else fell out.
Something that made me giggle.
Something that made me gasp.
Something that reminded me of all the Christmases that had gone before.
I’m laughing now. All these years later it seems even more hilarious.
But at the time?
Umm. Not so much.
I just have one word for what happened.
With a story on top. 🙂
A long time ago in a land far away (otherwise known as California), I was a brand new wife celebrating Christmas with my brand new husband.
We were newlyweds and renting an old farmhouse that had seen better days. All we had to our name was wedding china, some blue and white vases and a few pieces of furniture that our family had given us.
The only thing I had to decorate our home with for Christmas was a box of shiny red ornaments and a little ribbon. We were living on love without anything left over for Christmas decorations.
We couldn’t afford a store-bought version of a tree, so we went to a neighbor’s farm and cut one down. It was kind of a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, there were big branches missing and it kind of leaned and looked like at any moment–without the slightest bit of provocation–it would topple over.
But I didn’t care. To me it was beautiful.
I loved it.
It was my first Christmas tree and I made ribbon bows and tucked pine cones in it and hung those shiny red ornaments on every branch.
And then–for the finishing touch–the icing on my Charlie Brown tree, I baked dozens of gingerbread men. They weren’t very fancy. They looked more like ginger blobs than ginger men, but I loved them anyway. I decorated them with gusto and Christmas cheer and raisins.
I hung them all over the tree with ribbons.
And when the tree was full?
I hung them in the windows and doors and from the back of chairs and cupboards.
I hung them here, there and everywhere until every inch of that old farmhouse was covered with grinning, bright-eyed, bow-tie-wearing, gingerbread men.
An entire farmhouse decorated for the holidays from almost nothing.
It looked so beautiful.
I was so proud.
Gingerbread men? Who knew?
About a week later my husband called me into the kitchen.
“Why did you make the gingerbread men with only one leg?” he asked in a puzzled voice.
We both turned to the smiling bedazzled gingerbread man hanging in the window.
I just shrugged.
“It must have broken when I hung him up there,” I said with a smile. “But at least he’s cute.”
We smiled at each other and our little one-legged gingerbread man in our little farmhouse festooned with homemade Christmas decorations.
Decorated with love.
I was so busy over the next couple of days with wrapping and drinking hot chocolate and window shopping and watching “Prancer” on television that I forgot all about the gingerbread man with the missing leg.
Until I saw another one on the tree…..
…..missing part of his head.
And another one–missing part of his arm.
And then—I heard a gingerbread man as it dropped to the ground…..
….completely chewed to pieces.
And jumped on a chair.
Wildly hopping around and hands waving and yelling for my husband to get every gingerbread man out of our farmhouse as quickly as he could and to take them as far away as possible.
Because those half-eaten gingerbread men? They were no accident.
It seems we had plenty of friends.
Of the furry four-legged whiskered variety that were enjoying Christmas at the farmhouse, too.
So when that gingerbread man ornament fell out of the tote? Of course I giggled to myself.
I can laugh now.
Now it’s hilarious.
Now it’s so silly.
Now my gingerbread ornaments are made out of fabric and the only one eating any gingerbread cookies around here…
….is Santa. 🙂