My husband and I started the process of decorating for Christmas. Informed that our neighborhood goes “all out” at Christmas, we realized we’d need to step it up a bit this year.
We headed to the store and picked up a few items we knew we’d need. A few new strings of lights, some extension cords, and a spotlight for a new cutout we have to set out in the yard. Then when we got home, we dug out all the boxes of decorations we already had.
I started to go through the boxes, getting a few things out to go ahead and put up in the house and getting other things ready to put up later. As I dug into the biggest box of decor, my heart sank.
Earlier this year, our basement flooded with about two inches of water. I wasn’t the least bit worried about the big plastic tote we had our decorations stored in safely. Everything would stay dry.
I had no idea, the bottom of the tote had cracked. Decorations that hold countless sentimental memories for me were either covered in mold or their boxes were practically eaten through with mold. I briefly reminded myself that this was nothing like the May 2011 flood that people went through here in Nashville, but still… as I threw out a few items that just couldn’t be salvaged, my heart broke a little. As I carefully cleaned the nutcrackers that were my grandmas, I realized there is a good chance this could be their last year if I didn’t get it all cleared off their bright red and green painted uniforms.
Several ornaments that were salvageable had boxes that were not… boxes that had the years I’d gotten them written on them. I threw the boxes in the trash with a sigh, but was grateful the ornament inside was okay.
Tomorrow I will go through ornaments that look okay from the outside. I’ll find out if they’ll join ones that weren’t okay.
Oh, I know I could look at it as an excuse to buy new decorations. But for me, Christmas is more about MAYBE buying one or two new items, using the old, well-loved decorations year after year. It’s a time to remember our past and the loved ones tied to those items. Ornaments exchanged with friends through the years. Decorations passed down from my parents and grandparents. Newer ones, bought or received as newlyweds. Christmas isn’t about whats new… its more about what’s old to me. Making the day’s mold discovery downright devastating.
It’s not the end of my world, though. I salvaged well over 3/4 of my decorations, but I am braced for some to not make it another year in case any mold was missed in my cleaning. I’ll just enjoy them extra this year, and reminisce to my heart’s desire.