There are many clichés about home, from “home is where the heart is” to “you can’t go home again.” We each have a wide range of memories about home, starting with our own childhoods. Probably the ones that are most familiar are those associated with special events and holidays.
Right now, with Christmas looming, “home for the holiday” themes abound, from the ads we see to the TV movies that strike a nostalgic chord about home. Those “Norman Rockwell” images used to grace the covers of popular magazines.
My childhood was full of TV families in their homes that came into our own homes, creating an image of home and family— from “Ozzie and Harriet” to less conventional ones, like “The Beverly Hillbillies.” One such TV family’s existence owed its life to a holiday special about home, which then expanded into a TVseries. Remember the voices calling out in the evening? “Good-night, John-Boy!” Of course, you say, “The Waltons”—they became almost an institution, with those homey scenes. Those poignant tones calling out at the end of the day conjured up nostalgic images. Even if you never had “home-like” experiences like those.
Some of you missed out on those particular scenes, growing up after shows like that faded away. But for us “Baby Boomers,” our younger days were replete with these shows.
In my own life, my homes have been varied. Growing up in a farmhouse surrounded by fields and country roads, I had a different kind of experience from my own children, who lived in all kinds of houses, including apartments and townhouses, as well as suburban ranch style or English tudor ones. We even lived for awhile in an A-frame cottage in the foothills. But in each “home,” their fathers and I brought our own little piece of home into the physical dwellings, and encircled our families with our traditions.
These days, I live alone, but grown children and grandchildren come to my home periodically, so I have created still another version of home for the holidays with these special visitors in mind. I have collected a few holiday-themed items over the years, but have none of the ornaments from my own childhood or my children’s. Instead, I have more recent acquisitions that are themed to evoke childhood memories, like my Disney collections. They were selected with the goal of reminding me of special childhood feelings and memories.
Referring to these collections as part of my “second childhood” series, because of that aspect about them, I can fantasize to my heart’s content and create the ambience that I seek.
Two days ago, my grandson Noah helped me pull some of my special decorations out of their boxes, and we surrounded ourselves with the “home for the holidays” theme, Disney-style.
Here are a few of my favorites.
This first one says “hearth and home” to me, while the second one says “welcome,” with the miniature tree covered in ornament frames of each of my grandchildren. Then, instead of hanging my stockings on a mantle, you’ll see them on my folding screen. One of them belongs to my son who is not going to be home for the holidays, because he lives in Europe.
Then, on my largest bookshelf, I have clustered various Christmasy Disney images, with a family of Christmas bears tucked away underneath, next to the giant Mickey Mouse. In the final photo, Mr. and Mrs. Santa cozy up to a birdhouse, a birdcage, and some more bears.
So there you have it! My current version of “home for the holidays.”