My enthusiasm for seasonal decorating is waning. I still love the house to be decorated, I’m just tired of all the work involved. So, I find myself starting later, simplifying the process, cutting corners and generally trying to avoid baking altogether. But my kids will have none of that. Charis and Christa, especially, are my early warning alarm system, sounding off about the time that the first Lebkuchen appear in stores. Lest I forget my true purpose in life and think for even a moment I will escape recreating exactly the aura of Christmas’ past, they implore me to put up the advent stockings in time for the First of December, nag me to finally get around to doing the top of the piano and the bay windows, and with almost photographic memory, insist even on the specific placement of certain Ornaments. This year I was taken aback and began to ponder the deeper psychology of this behavior, after Christa grabbed one of the stockings and forcefully insisted, “We have to hang this one on this door, that is where it was last year. It has to go here!”
“Oooohkaaaay. Weird. What’s that all about?” Suddenly I saw us meticulously following a recipe, aligning all the pieces in just the right place, so that something would happen. A kind of time machine made out of one family’s collection of handmade ornaments, which, if set to exactly the same coordinates as previous Christmas’, would teleport the anticipatory joy, the warm glow, the comfort and good cheer of the past Noel into our experience of the present season. A kind of magic ritual to conjure up for our current pleasure that part of our past experience which pictures and videos were not able to capture. An almost desperate attempt to grab these fond holiday memories by the tail and pull them back up from the abyss of history to once more satisfy our nostalgic longings, conserving them like pickles in the mason jar of our annual holiday rituals. That is when the penny dropped: my children are CONSERVATIVES!!