Back In The Bobby Era

When I was a kid, our standard Christmas decorations included Santa cups for every member of the family. Each of the kids had his or her own mini-cup, suited to small child hands and carefully labeled in festive red ink with our names, and Mom and Dad had cups that were larger, about the size of a coffee cup. The Santa cups went out in a line on the dining room credenza and then were put in front of our place settings at holiday meals. Mom loved to put out M&Ms for birthdays and holiday occasions, and I think she may have filled the cups with those little chocolate candies.

Amazingly, the cups survived years of excited Webner family Christmas celebrations without being broken, although my Santa cup has its paint rubbed off here and there. When Mom moved out of the family house years ago, she distributed the labeled cups to each of the kids, and now it is one of the Christmas decorations we put out in our house.

Of course, in those long-ago days I was called Bobby by everyone in our extended family. That was fine with me until I got to be 11 or 12, when I concluded that “Bobby” sounded childish and I asked everyone to start calling me “Bob” instead, which sounded a lot more grown up and adult. For some reason, it seemed very important to make that change at the time. Since then, I’ve gone by Bob, so there was a clear line of demarcation between the Bob and Bobby eras.

Now, looking at the Santa cup always makes me smile and reminds me of the long-lost Bobby days, when things were simpler and more innocent, and the appearance of a set of Santa cups on the dining room credenza was part of the build-up for the excitement and fun of a Christmas to come.

Treeless

I suppose you could argue that anyone living in a place called German Village should be required to have a Tannenbaum, but Kish and I have never had a tree here. My Grinch-like attitude is that, while Christmas trees smell nice, they’re really too much of a hassle to bother with unless you’ve got kids at home and lots of presents to stash under the boughs. I should add that the one memorable year when the family dog couldn’t resist trying to slurp water from the tree stand and repeatedly knocked the tree over, crushing ornaments that had been treasured heirlooms, crumpling presents underneath, and leaving the family room in our old house strewn with pine needles and glass shards, undoubtedly influenced my anti-tree sentiments.

But even if you don’t have a hulking, rapidly dried-out green object in your living room, you can still be festive around the holidays. Kish is good at adding the little touches that remind you that Christmas is just around the corner. Some snow-dappled pine cones, a Santa-themed holder for holiday cards, a few poinsettias and strategically displayed individual ornaments, and voila! –you’ve captured the Christmas mood.

And no risk of dog-related incidents, either.

No Tannenbaum

IMG_7623This year, Kish and I have decided to go tree-free for the holidays.

It wasn’t a hard decision, really.  We considered getting a tree — briefly — but quickly concluded that it would be more of a pain to deal with than we really wanted.  It may come across as Grinchy behavior, but we figured that we certainly weren’t going to get a fake tree, and we didn’t want the sappy mess and falling needles and dog drinking out of tree holder and tree-falling-over-after-you’ve-totally-decorated-it-and-breaking-family-heirlooms issues with a real tree.

So we’ve gone in an alternative direction with our Christmas decorations this year, with some poinsettias and lots of pine cones and the really beautiful dining room table runner that Kish found at the Golden Hobby senior craft store just down the street, shown above, and the rockin’ Christmas tree op art plate that picked up a few years ago, shown below.  We like being tree-free!

O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum

We’ll do without thy branches!

Your needles fall, in constant flow

You topple o’er, and bulbs doth go

O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum

We’ll do without thy branches!

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Seasonal Reflections

IMG_7518In downtown Columbus, you know that the holiday season is here when they place enormous red globes in the flower pots.  I like crimson balls, because they add a welcome spot of color and because they give you a red, fish-eyed view of reality — which often can be a helpful perspective during a Columbus winter.

The Season’s Last Gasp (II)

IMG_2834Here are the Hyatt Arcade in downtown Cleveland, the Christmas season is still in the air.  The bunting is hung on the bright metal railings, the lights are strung along the facades, and down at the far end of the arcade is the Christmas tree, still fully lit and adorned with a star.  Christmas is more than two weeks past, but I don’t mind holding on to it a little bit longer.

The Season’s Last Gasp

IMG_2782When I arrived at the Mayflower in Washington, D.C. today, the staff was taking down the Christmas decorations — a sure sign that the holiday season is over, a new year has begun, and it’s time to get back to work.  I did manage to arrive before all of the flourishes were removed, however, and therefore got to enjoy this very pretty arrangement of Christmas trees adorning the gleaming first floor ballroom hallway.

North Of Woods Christmas Lights, 2012

IMG_2198Many of our neighbors in the North of Woods section of New Albany have put up their holiday lights, and the neighborhood looks great.  Kish loves Christmas lights, and I agree with her — seeing the pretty displays in the morning and returning from work in the evening makes the world seem a bit more bright and cheerful.  I’ll be posting pictures of some of our neighbors’ colorful creations between now and Christmas.

Elemental And Ornamental

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My sister Cathy has lots of energy and, lately, has become a huge fan of Pinterest.  She found an idea there to hang Christmas ornaments from ribbons as a holiday decoration and tried it out on Mom’s window.  The result looks pretty good — but mostly because displaying the ornaments closer to  eye level gives you a chance to take a closer look than when the ornaments are, say, two feet off the ground.  I particularly liked the very pleasant expression of holiday cheer on this coffee pot snowman