13 December 2017

A Musical Interlude

Jingle Bells!

I have had this music box since I was quite young (1960's). The angel is missing her wings, some of her hair, and she should be holding a little Christmas tree. Also, there is a small tree missing from the base. But it still plays! In fact, I just set it out on the mantel and the start pin slipped out enough that it started on it's own.

I can remember taking the base apart to "see how it worked" when I was a kid. I'm glad I didn't tinker with the moving parts and break the music box.

In the background you see a small feather tree that is about the same vintage, and one of the lamps that used to grace my Grandma Dixon's bedroom dresser.

09 December 2017


Ancient and decrepit these pinecones may be, but they've been part of the tree decor for many decades. They are made of some sort of metal foil. Through the years they've gotten a little crinkled, but I still love them.

06 December 2017


 A few old favorites are sparkling on the tree today. I love these little glitterers.

I have a few of these elves and birds. No clue how old they are, and I don't remember when we got them, but I think they're pretty "vintage" by now.

05 December 2017

Basement Baubles

Season's Greetings!
When my Dixon grandparents hosted a family gathering at their house in Roselle it was held in one of two locations - in the backyard for warm weather gatherings, or in the basement for cold weather parties. When the family gathered at 1023 Thompson for Christmas it was down to the basement.

We had all of the amenities there, surrounded by green cinderblock walls. There was a  stove to keep the food warm, a bar which the kids used as a play space and the adults used for adult beveredges, a stereo for music, a big trestle table and benches for seating, and we even had a bathroom down there. Like I said, all of the mod cons (that's modern conveniences, not groovy criminals) that a person could ask for.

The red plastic reindeer.
And of course, at Christmas, there was the Christmas tree. Small, artificial, and because there were young children and pets, decked with plastic ornaments. Naturally, I still have some of them. And they still dominate the bottom of our tree, where a happy tail wag from our pooch is not a recipe for disaster. These suckers bounce, and bounce right back.

Here's a peek at the party in progress, Christmas 1961 or 1962.

The best part of any holiday - the family! Second best, the food! Those ladies could cook.
From left to right : Alice (Rimkus) Karvoius, and her daughters : Tess, Estelle, and Sophie.

 Here are a few more baubles for you.

This one says "Merry Christmas.
The reindeer were always my favorites.

04 December 2017

Elf, no shelf

One of the originals, before the whole "Elf on the Shelf" craze. You can tell this fellow's been around the tree a time or forty. Just look at the state of that hat. Still smiling though, after all these years.

Why back in my day elves sat on branches, not shelves. Scratchy, piney branches.
This younger generation doesn't know how good they've got it.

03 December 2017

The angels sing

Once more with feeling!

I didn't mean to imply in my previous post that I have something against angels. I actually have one near the top of the tree. I think she's been around at least since the 1960's, but she may be older than that. She's a little bit decrepit now. One of her wings has a pretty bad crease. There's a little wear on the gold flower in her hair. Still, she makes me smile when I gingerly place her near the top of the tree to belt out her tunes, clutching her candle and her evergreen. It's a very operatic pose, don't you think?

The angel on my tree. She's made of paper mache, foil, pipe cleaners, and spunk.
If you don't join in on the chorus she might whack you with that tree.

02 December 2017


You can have your frilly treetop angels.
I prefer the sleek gaudy glamor
of mercury glass and glitter.

This shiny bauble first made an appearance on our family tree some time in the 1960's, I think. It's been around forever, which is to say about as long as I have.

We have occaisionally used other toppers. There was that "rustic" phase with the twigs and twine. There may even have been an angel, long ago, that lit up with multi-colored lights. In recent years, however, I've settled on this one to top our little tree. It's very pleasing to top the tree with something that's been in the family for a good long time.

01 December 2017

It's the most wonderful time of the year

Santa Claus & Me

Hello friends and cousins! As we head in to the holiday season I though I'd kick the month off with this - my one and only photo with Santa. I guess Mom decided one bout of that childhood trauma was sufficient.

Me and Santa, off to a rocky start. December 1961, probably at a department store in NJ. Collection of E. Ackermann, 2017.
My mug shot with Santa, Christmas 1961.
I still have that rabbit. We both survived the encounter.

This photo makes an appearance on the mantel every Christmas. I think it's awesome, and kind of funny. The numbers in front make it look like Santa's holding me up for a mug shot. Honest, I didn't steal that bunny! I also love the look on Santa's face. Stoic. Resigned. Hoping I don't yank off the beard. Wishing for the end of his shift so he can get a drink.

Despite our rocky start, I'm totally into Santa. I saw him and Mrs. Clause driving through my very town last year around this time in a sporty little SUV. They were rocking the red suits and fur trim! So, yeah I'm a believer.

Wishing you a great December, no matter what winter holidays you do or don't celebrate.