Preserving Memories

I once saw in a movie how the late Hawaiian Princess Ka’iulani kept a sack of seashells and attached a memory to each (Princess Kaiulani, 2009). My family often treats Christmas ornaments the same way. Each represents an event in our family or our own life. Some were bought; others were handmade.

"My Christmas Tree" by wolfsavard; image from Flickr.

“My Christmas Tree” by wolfsavard;  image from Flickr.

One ornament I treasure is an old, fragile, plastic Donald Duck. It, several more like it, and those representing other Disney characters used to hand on the Christmas tree at my Aunt and Uncle’s. One Christmas my Aunt allowed me to take one for my tree. Why did I pick Donald Duck? My Uncle Vince used to do the best imitations of Donald Duck. He often entertained me with them when I visited. Uncle Vince would pass away a year or two after that Christmas when I was only nine. My strongest memories of him are his imitations and of the Sunkist gummy discs he used to give me as snacks (I like the pineapple best). Every Christmas that old, fragile Donald Duck is hung on my Christmas tree. Every Christmas I have to reinsert the plastic pin it hangs from, but I make sure it joins my other “memories” hanging from the tree.

The holiday season is upon us this month. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or another holiday, remember it is a time to spend with family and friends. Too much today is commercialized and it’s important we step back and remember what is truly important. So next time you hang an ornament or light a candle, remember your family and the good times you had. That’s what the holiday season is about. It’s not about the gifts you want the most.

Cherish the memories and protect the physical reminders of them that cannot be replaced using archival methods, such as using tissue paper to wrap fragile items instead of newspaper* and storing them in protective boxes.

With the next two Monday’s being holiday eves, there will not be a post on those days. However, I’ll bridge the gap with a post the next two Thursdays. I’ll be spending time with my family and friends. And there is much baking, decorating, and visiting to do!

Happy Holidays to all!

*Newsprint is too acidic and both the acid and ink can transfer to items. If located and cost-effective, acid-free Japanese tissue paper is best for wrapping material. If you can’t find the Japaneses paper, use white tissue paper with the unbuffered (not shiny) side facing the items.

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