Christmas Cleaning Frenzy | Eastern North Carolina Now

I know, I know, we just finished Thanksgiving, but Christmas is right around the corner, and I always want things a bit neater around the house before I start decorating.

    Publisher's note: Please join me in welcoming our newest contributor to BCN, Kathy Manos Penn, a native of the "Big Apple", by way of the "Peach City" - Atlanta. Kathy is a former English teacher, author of The Ink Penn blog, and a communications professional in corporate America. Now with Kathy on board, I advise all other contributors to mind your punctuation and syntax.

    I know, I know, we just finished Thanksgiving, but Christmas is right around the corner, and I always want things a bit neater around the house before I start decorating. Add the fact that I'm having a small gathering at my house soon, and you'll be able to visualize the state of my home.

    Boxes of decorations have come out of the closets and up from the basement, and some Christmas items have already been taken to the consignment shop. Those not suitable for consigning will soon be on their way to the thrift shop up the street. You too probably have a few items you'd describe as "I like this, but can't seem to find a place for it." I decided to get rid of some of those, but naturally I've ordered a few new items, like a lighted swag for the porch.

    I've always loved decorating for Christmas and for most of my adult life have decorated my home to the hilt. When I was a child in New York, we always had a tree and outdoor lights and the occasional decorated windows, but I think that was the extent of our decorating. Remember putting artificial snow on windows? I'm sure I'm dating myself with that memory.

    I'm convinced my love of Christmas and my extreme love of decorating came from my other mother, my mother-in-law who enjoys everything Christmas. My boxes are filled with Christmas items she made and gave me over the years: the quilted tree skirt, the crocheted angel tree topper, stockings and aprons, you name it. We've always laughed about her having to have a roaring fire Christmas day, even when it was 75°. Believe it or not, Atlanta temps can range from a chilly zero on up into the 70's. I recall a particularly frigid Christmas morning, back when I was in my twenties, when it was only 5°.

    My collection of decorations grew by leaps and bounds when one of my girlfriends started visiting every year with her children to help decorate my tree. She was a master at making bows, so my home began to fill with bows, garlands, wreathes and more, plus whatever unique holiday knickknack she brought me each year. I now have so many decorations that I just pick and choose what to put out each December.

    I have more ornaments than I can possibly put on one tree, but still I have a hard time resisting new ones. When my mom stopped putting up trees, I inherited her collection of U.S. Capitol Historical Society ornaments and her original glass Woolworth ornaments. All of those go up every year. Then I have a friend who uses ornaments as place settings for our annual holiday gathering, so that's another 50 or so ornaments I've collected through the years. That's why I also have a four foot artificial tree to go with the big one. Yet here I sit contemplating going to a local Holiday Artist Market, where I'm sure to find something else I can't live without.

    First, though, I must get through the cleaning frenzy, which has now extended to the kitchen counters and cabinets. To clear the counters, I must make room in the cabinets. Do I really need the gazillion glass vases that have come my way over the years or all the Glad ware that seems to multiply? I think not. It may even be time to donate at least one set of silverware to the thrift shop. There's no telling where this frenzy could lead, but I do know it will end, at least temporarily, before the first holiday guest arrives.
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