We bought them together. It was back in 2010. She had just arrived to this cold and sparsely populated country, and everything was new to her. Especially Christmas. Our apartment was relatively small, so we got a plastic tree at the same place we got the ornaments. It wasn’t expensive ornaments. They just came from one of these budget stores we have in this country. But, she was pleased. I was pleased too. We had just bought ourselves our first Christmas ornaments. We were slowly building common ground, a common life even – always intertwining our lives with possessions, interests and traditions.
I taught her my way of doing Christmas. My familys way of doing Christmas. When to do what – like decorating a Christmas tree – or what to eat. Perhaps we came too much of an indoor couple nursing our interests. Her academia and my growing in-depth history research. We decorated our tree on the 23rd of December. She seemed pleased. Actually, more fascinated than pleased. And so those cheap ornaments became one of our first common tradition with Christmas. They became rooted in our little family of two (later two and a dog – then another dog). Whenever Christmas came, I would bring out our small tree and those dark red coloured ornaments and decorate it. It was almost our first family heirlooms! As an added bonus, my mom hand made several ornaments herself, and gave to us as gifts.
Briging someone into a Christmas holiday is tricky. Everything I connected with this holiday didn’t mean anything to her. The TV shows I used to watch as a child did not ring any bell with her. The outdoors activities on skis were out of reach to her. And so large part of Christmas sort of obliturated without me noticing.
I kept decorating our tree with the same ornaments for seven years. Until I moved out. She asked me if I wanted the ornaments and handed me a plastic bag. Yes, I wanted them. One of the very few things that actually reminded me of Christmas. Of course I wanted to decorate my tree as always the coming Christmas.
In the end, I didn’t. I didn’t bother decorating anything that Christmas. Maybe it was because I was too lazy. Maybe it was because I didn’t feel like decorating anything to no one. Maybe it was because the ornaments reminded me of her. But, everything stayed in it’s plastic bag in a closet. It was the same the coming year, but that year I was barely home and celebrated a good Christmas with other people.
I brought the ornaments with me when I moved house once more. I had no specific plan with them. I didn’t reflect about what would happen if I decorated a new tree with my new family with the ornaments. Of everything that had been going on the past two years, the ornaments were at the bottom of that list. But I brought them down from the attic anyway just to og through them all. Maybe my girlfriend wanted to use some of it. Perhaps some of my mothers hand made ornaments would come in handy.
Of course she didn’t like them. She had our own tradition. Her own ornaments. Her own way of looking at Christmas and how everything should be. And so we decorated the tree I bought (where did that plastic tree actually end up?) with her ornaments. Nothing of mine. In fact, bringing it all down from the attic seemed to raise her level of panic to a certain degree as it suddenly became «too much Christmas stuff».
A colleague came to me a few days before Christmas and asked if I had some old ornaments I didn’t use. She wanted to use them in a prank at the office. I thought about it, and remembered my ornaments now firmly placed back into the attic. Sure, I had ornaments. I went back up to the freezing attic, grabbed my bag of ornaments and gave it to her. She used them in her prank. I’m not sure what happened next, but they most likely ended up in the garbage after that.
And so that’s where our Christmas ended up in the end. As a prank. A joke. The ornaments we bought together and decorated our tree with for so many years. I just gave them away. Anything else would have been silly. They will never have been used again. And, I can always just get some new ones in the future. It’s not like they cost anything.
A plastic bag full of ornaments is just one more object from my former life that is now gone. Parts of me and my past slowly but always continuously wethering away. Things that meant something to me.
There’s almost nothing left of them now.