Sunday, December 4, 2011

Random Giveaway #2: Favorite Holiday Decorative Items

As I've been preparing for the second giveaway this holiday season, we've been busy decorating our tree and putting up lights at our house. The act of seeing all the Christmas decorations come out from their bins spurred thoughts about some of my favorite decorative and personal items that I enjoy seeing during this time of year. 
*Image source here
Almost two decades ago, I found some adorable faux-grass reindeer in a craft store that I absolutely fell in love with. I was going through some rough personal stuff just as the holiday season hit and I wasn't looking forward to Christmas at all, but these silly reindeer (that cost close to nothing), helped me smile when I really didn't feel like even getting up some mornings. It seems silly to me in some ways that something so insignificant could change my outlook, but I recall quite vividly that they always put me in a better mood. I put them out every year after that first one, and while in some ways they reminded me of a tough time, more importantly, they helped me remember that the holiday's can be fun, and that there is always something good in life. I truly treasured these little reindeer, and every time I put them out, I would smile. They were one of the few decorations that made me happy every time I saw them all sitting together. Unfortunately, I lost them several years ago (another story, for another time), and was never able to find any that I loved as much. That memory of those little reindeer lives on though, and every year I think of them fondly, knowing that an inanimate object really did help me through a difficult holiday season.

While I realize not everyone has such a tale of a particular holiday item, I think many of us have a special personal or decorative holiday item that we look forward to seeing, wearing, or using this time of year. For this giveaway, please share your favorite personal or decorative holiday item in the comments, and briefly why this item is special to you. Contest #2 begins now and continues until Monday, December 19, 2011 at 4 p.m. MST. I will once again use the time stamp from the comment submission form as the cut off point. The gift for this round is a $50 gift certificate to (winner's choice) either Rivendell Bicycle Works or REI. Please do read all of the rules here before entering. Good luck, and I look forward to reading about your favorite holiday item and what makes it special to you.

13 comments:

  1. I'm still establishing myself as a young adult with traditions of my own. But my most meaningful holiday item is probably our tiny artificial Christmas tree. We travel to visit my husband's family every Christmas, so we're never at home for the big day. And we have two cats that are enamored by the dangling ornaments. So it never feels right to buy a big, real tree. Instead, I quietly set up (and tape to a super-heavy dumbbell--see above about the cats) the tiny artificial tree. And then it feels like Christmas. :)

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  2. My favorite holiday item is a Christmas clock I just randomly purchased at Walgreen's about 20 years ago. Every hour on the hour the clock chimes a different Christmas carol. Every year my husband and daughter groan at first sight of the clock but I think they secretly like it. The house may be decorated but it doesn't really feel like Christmas until I hear the clock chime the first few bars of Silent Night.

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  3. Ah, Liz... though we don't have cats, I can say that I understand the dangling ornament dilemma. One of our pups always thinks that the round ornaments are fetching balls and does her best to attempt to get them off the tree. You'd think after 5 Christmas' she'd be used to ignoring them, but apparently that isn't the case. :O)

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  4. My favorite Christmas ornament is an 18th Century manger that was in the family on my mother's side since 1832. It is italian made, all the figurines are made of painted wood.

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  5. My family has an ornament that we've had for as long as I can remember. It is a globe with three animals ice skating on a lake. The lake is reflective and rotates to make it look like the animals are moving on their own (and I couldn't figure out how it was done when I was younger). I just love the ornament and like remembering how I couldn't figure it out for the longest time.

    (And Liz - We have five cats and only one of them so far is particularly interested in the tree. She likes to climb up in it and hide in the branches, and we've lost a number of ornaments to her. My boyfriend's family, who has always had cats, used to tie the tree to the wall because it was inevitable that cats would be all over it.)

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  6. My favorite item is Chicago's holiday train. Our public transit system decorates a train inside and out with Christmas decorations. They pipe in holiday music. A CTA worker goes through all the cars passing out little candy canes. Santa sits on a sleigh shaped train car at the end of the train. It's even better when you're not expecting the train to pull up (there is a set schedule) and it's just a nice surprise when you can't be on your bike.

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  7. My parents have always had this amazing Christmas carousel type thing. I always got to help re-assemble it every year.
    It has tiers with little figures of wise men and angels and whatnot. Around the bottom are spots for small candles, and the top has paddles (propellers?). When you light the candles, the heat rises up and catches the paddles and all those little people spin around. I always thought it was the coolest thing.

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  8. I'm really wishing you had a picture of your reindeer! They sound like they might be the same as my special Christmas item. I had two reindeer made out of some material that kind of resembled an artificial christmas tree/chia pet thing. I absolutely loved those two, but unfortunately, my cat Baxter did as well. I woke up in the morning and he had used them as scratching posts; they were pretty much destroyed. Both Baxter and the reindeer have been gone for a long time now, but about 6 years ago, I walked into a dollar store and saw a little 6" reindeer, just like the two I loved! He now has a prominent place in my home and makes me happy every time I see him!

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  9. Cathey, I should go through old photos and see if I can find the reindeer. I may very well have a picture of them somewhere. Of course, now I'm going to be on a hunt in dollar stores for a new version. :O)

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  10. My mother has a round ceramic house which sits atop a base with a light bulb. The "snow-covered" little house and it shrubbery are dotted with colorful bulbs (and the house has windows) which glow when the inner light bulb is on. I've always loved that cheerful little house, and I beg and plead for her to give it to me someday.

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  11. Well, a few years ago I found one of those ceramic xmas trees with the "lite brite" plastic bulbs that are lighted from within. I found a green tee w/multi lights, and a white one w/blue lights. I bought the green one, then went back a couple days later for the white/blue, but it was gone. Since then, I have acquired four more trees. A big white one w/red lights, two smaller ones w/multi lights, and a weird unfired green one with clear, cracked marbles instead of lite brite-esque thingies. I position these throughout my house for the holidays. It's my thing!!

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  12. I collect ornaments, so I have lots of favorites. I started with the ornaments I inherited from my grandmother. I was pleased to get them because I had happy memories of helping her decorate the tree with the delicate glass balls and birds. They weren't fashionable at the time, but I was fond of them, and soon I noticed them in thrift stores and bought a few more to keep my grandma's ornaments company. I acquired even more at the end of the Christmas season when they were marked down - sometimes as little as 10 cents a box. I sort of felt like I was rescuing the sad, worn ornaments. Of course, now vintage and antique ornaments are popular and more difficult to find in thrift stores, but I still look for them. I particularly like the ones that appear to have been used and loved.

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  13. I'm not sure how the tradition began in my family, but when I was growing up, the box of tree-trimmings & ornaments contained 5-10 turkey wishbones that had been painted gold. We would perch them on branches here & there around the Christmas tree. I've continued this practice, saving both turkey and chicken wishbones through the year. After cleaning/drying/sanding/painting them, one goes on our tree -- with the year written in permanent ink -- and the rest are given away to friends. (My husband still finds this all rather charmingly weird.)

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