My family had an elf on the shelf long before the Elf on the Shelf book was first published.
Since the elves came before the book, it means the story about them has to be true, right? Christmas magic is real.
Also real? Christmas obsessions.
My brother and I both veer perilously close to the “obsessive” side of Christmas, but our sister isn’t quite as extreme as either of us. (That said, you know it’s the holiday season when Lisa starts “glinging” Christmas tunes. Glinging is ideal if you can’t remember the lyrics – just sing “gling.” Repeatedly.) But it’s really not our fault. It’s hereditary. And according to family stories from Grandma Bussey, we can trace it back to our grandfather.
Grandpa Bussey died way before any of us were born, but left a wonderful legacy. I have tons of Grandma and Grandpa’s old ornaments on my tree, even if you can’t see them all here:
Grandma loved bells, and pretty much every bell on my tree used to be on hers.
In the basement I have a heavy, old, battered tree stand. It only holds about a cup of water (that’s before the tree is added), so it’s not exactly practical. Grandma said she hit the roof the year Grandpa bought that stand – which at the time had poinsettia lights on its decorative base. It was expensive even by today’s standards. One day I’d love to see it restored, but poinsettia bulbs aren’t easy to find.
Grandpa Bussey didn’t just buy things, he made things too. I’m told he made this wooden Santa that’s so cool I leave him standing in the stairwell year round. It makes me smile to see Santa waving at me when I go up or down the steps.
He’s a little hard to see by the tree, so here he is in broad daylight….
And check out the log fence Grandpa made for beneath the tree (hey – one of Grandma’s bells got in the shot):
Grandma said Grandpa collected all of those branches on their property (which she referred to as a “farmette”), cut them to size and assembled the fence. It even folds up for easy storage. The fence is made of ten 12″ sections that are hinged and can be positioned however you like. It still has faint remnants of “snow” on the top of each rail, too.
I never got to meet my Grandpa, but his love of Christmas lives on through us – and the cool things he made.
What are some of your family’s special holiday keepsakes or traditions?