A Special Christmas Decoration
November 22, 2011
I like to decorate – at least a little – for the holidays. But my children are grown and the grandchildren live too far away to come in unpredictable winter weather, so I haven’t put up a tree in a long time.
I usually put out just a few of the many decorations I’ve collected over the years. That makes undecorating – something I really don’t like to do – that much easier. It doesn’t take many decorations for me to get into the mood for Christmas.
But there is one decoration I put out every year without fail. It’s a small candle mobile my mom gave me. It belonged to her grandmother and is most likely over 100-years-old.
It’s made entirely of tin. The three-pronged base has a candle holder at each end. A shaft in the middle supports a tin “roof” painted green with gold stars. The roof is cut into eight tilted segments. Four little cherubic angels hang from it, each holding a metal rod.
Branching out from the center shaft are holders for three half-circle shaped bells. Setting against the shaft is a tin piece painted with the nativity scene. Around the scene in German are the words, “Glory to God in the highest, peace on Earth, and good will to all men.”
When the candles are lit, the rising heat causes the tin roof to twirl around, and the rods held by the angels strike the bells. The tinkling sound is magically soft and melodic.
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Mom told me her grandmother set the chime on top of the stove in her house where the rising heat made the top revolve without the need for candles.
I’m sorry to report I’ve lost a few of the little pieces that used to make the roof of the decoration twirl easily, so it no longer works that way. But I still put candles in it and set it up every year. It’s become an important tradition and a way to remember my mom.
Perhaps my daughter feels the same way about a nativity set I once made out of little plastic dolls. I sewed all their clothes and added yarn beards to some figures to make Joseph and the wise men. I carefully melted the plastic legs on the Mary doll until I could bend them so she could be seated. I did the same thing to make the shepherds kneel.
My father-in-law made a tiny wooden cradle for the even tinier plastic Jesus doll. I found a twig on our lawn for Joseph’s staff. I made wise men’s gift using tin foil.
When my daughter grew up, she became interested in doing ceramics. So one Christmas, she made a beautiful white ceramic nativity scene for me. I was happy to use it instead of my homemade set.
But, by that time, my daughter had come to love my old set. So now she uses it each Christmas. I’m happy she does. I put so much work into it that I would hate to see it thrown away. Maybe she’ll pass it on down to the next generation – just as Mom did with the decoration I love so much.