• Kathryn Hills

Shiny Brites and Other Ghosts from Christmases Past


It happened a few years ago before Thanksgiving when my family home of seventy years was sold. Everything had to go. Decades of happy memories...gone through, divided up, donated, or thrown away. My two siblings and I chipped in to tackle the monumental task. From the musty basement to the eaves of the attic, we sorted through our parents’ and grandparents’ lives along with our childhood belongings. There were laughs, countless stories, and more than a few tears. Parting with a beloved place is rough.


Then came the task of taking what we wanted back to our own homes. Cars were jam-packed. Every remaining box, scrap of paper, and old cloth was used as packing material. Two moving trucks later, and we were on our way. It’d been a long time since any of us had moved on such a grand scale.


Some things are still packed away, but others immediately became a part of my family’s holidays. My mother’s dining room furniture, for example. That china closet still takes me back. The sound of it opening, its rattling glass doors, the scent of old wood. Childhood and the first home I’d ever known. It’d been my job as a kid to dust and wax that furniture whenever my parents entertained. I can’t smell Lemon Pledge without reminiscing.


From the dusty old attic came Christmas decorations. Shiny Brites! Some so old and fragile there is no way they’ll hang on a tree again. I purchased glass jars and antique crystal vases to display them. So pretty that way...


But the best part was that first Christmas morning after moving all those things. I was up alone and early with my dogs. Those treasures from the past were all around me, nestled into the hush of the winter morning. I sat with my coffee, gazing at our pretty tree and all the new “old” things. And I could feel my ghosts of Christmases past. They’d found a new home with me, and it was perfect.


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