Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Remembering Christmas Past

Old white cupboards, hand-crafted primitive signs, and Christmas socks. Fa la la la la....(Photo from Pinterest)

I am feeling very nostalgic this week thinking about Christmas. Slow to put up my decorations, I have spent too much time on Pinterest looking at holiday photos. I pin my favorites to my Christmas board and am amazed to discover that while my life has had many changes, my idea of what a Christmas house should look like, has remained the same. Pinterest has reminded me of this, where in years past, collecting photos I loved out of decorating magazines showed me what I loved.

The magazine photos (from Country Living, Country Home, Victoria, my choices years ago of favorite magazines, before so many new ones hit the market) and my Pinterest board tell me I still dream of a story-book Christmas, filled with children's toys, antique books, garden items, and Charlie Brown trees.

As a former antique dealer (I've removed that title 'antique dealer' from my list of accomplishments, labeling it 'former', but still put in bold letters - COLLECTOR RUN AMUCK.) I loved setting up for the Christmas extravaganza at the old Lakewood Antique Show at the fairgrounds south of downtown Atlanta. That show was the best and I was at my best during the few years I was a dealer there. My husband was still alive, my friends set up with me, I sold like crazy on Ebay so I could buy like crazy at the show. Selling was never the point of doing the show (this is why I wonder how I ever called myself an antique dealer in the first place) - the friendships and opportunity to spend Wednesday (my set-up day) to Sunday (when I skipped out early to avoid the rush at closing) in an environment I loved surrounded by every delight imaginable from old painted furniture, art, quilts, old toys, vintage garden items, antique books - and a food court, with its individual food trucks, preparing junk food at its finest, highlighted the reason for doing the show. In summer you could melt from the heat, in winter you could freeze your butt off. It didn't matter, it was the best of times. I wrote about Lakewood in The Unfaithful Widow. The transition from federal employee to antique dealer, sitting in the stinking hot summer air, listening to The Pina Colada Song on my cheap radio, was heaven to me.

The show I remember most, where I wanted to take my small booth home with me, was the last Christmas extravaganza before Lakewood closed its doors. I had searched for months, storing away my treasures, falling in love with my merchandize, until that Wednesday I loaded my van and my husband's van, and our tiny caravan to the Fairgrounds began.

The antique chipped red paint twin size iron bed was the main attraction. God, I loved that bed and wanted to keep it, but there was no room at the inn. Piled high with quilts it looked ready for a cold winters night. Three tall Christmas trees (purchased at Kroger, of all places) with metal bases, tall trunks leading up to funky green branches filled with white twinkling lights, sat on top of a green painted book shelf. Pitiful trees that defined a Charlie Brown tree to perfection. An 1800's Cottage Dresser, brown, with gold leaf scrolls and tiny roses on all the drawers, sat next to my red iron bed. The booth was filled with all my favorites - old painted chests, a rocking horse some Dad had made for his children, folk art angels, and shiny brite ornaments, some still in their vintage boxes.

My house took on the same feel at Christmas as it did when I was in the thick of being an antique dealer who didn't sell but played a good game of it.  You would think over the years my style would change, evolve, but it hasn't. I still love all the things I've always loved. Sometimes, something new catches my attention and I work it in, like old tinsel trees and vintage-style white trees. But the basis of my Christmas decorating still revolves around the magic of childhood.

I've dilly-dallied enough.  Today I will pull out my treasures and start to decorate. Check back for photo updates this week. In the meantime, enjoy the photos from Pinterest!

I have a collection of angels just like these! (Photo Pinterest)
Old shiny brites displayed on my favorite shade of blue primitive chair. I'll take that one please. (Photo Pinterest)
A simple table-top tree in an antique German base. (Photo Pinterest)
Antique toys make the very best decorations. (Photo Pinterest)
My love of all things garden related is evident every season! (Photo Pinterest)