One of my favorite December movies (besides Holiday Inn) is The Homecoming: A Christmas Story. This was a made for television movie first broadcast on December 19, 1971 as a pilot for the long-running popular television show The Waltons. I remember watching it in 1971. I have the DVD and I watch it every year. Like Holiday Inn, I can repeat much of the dialogue from memory and I can tell you during which scene I’m likely to fall asleep.
In the beginning of the movie, Olivia Walton goes down into the basement of the family farm to see if there are any apples to make her “applesauce cake.” While she is rummaging around, she finds her Christmas cactus, which has gone from dormant to blooming. Although her heart is heavy with troubles (after all, it’s The Depression) the beautiful plant cheers her and she starts to sing a Christmas carol. The Walton children are upstairs, sitting around the kitchen table, and Mary-Ellen says “Momma’s got the Christmas spirit!”
Saturday was a snowy day; the weather puppets hadn’t properly predicted this bit of weather, and everyone made the best of it. Traffic was slower and people seemed to have a bit of Christmas cha-cha in their step. I made my way slowly north to Lisbon Falls, stopping at a craft fair at the high school. Then I checked in at The Motel (aka my parent’s house) and ate some lunch my mother had saved for me.
As the afternoon progressed, my mother seemed quite busy. She was pulling boxes out of closets and from under stairways; little sprigs of holiday cheer started popping up everywhere. Some of the decorations were things she’s decorated our house with ever since we were little, like two ceramic angels. They seemed special then and they seem even more special now, merely by virtue of the nostalgia. There were Christmas carols on the radio, too.
Helen’s got the Christmas Spirit!
My father was watching college football and I decided to join him. I heard the ironing board squeak open and I knew my mother was ironing something. It was the simple satin ribbons she likes to tie around things like candle sconces and lamps, tasteful and perfect.
My mother has a large assortment of holiday decorations she’s collected over the years. Each one of them strikes a different nostalgic chord and brings The Motel to a whole new level of cheery. The Santa bell which always used to be in the kitchen is still missing, but I’m sure Helen will find it this week. One new addition this year is a picture of my brother’s visit to Santa, at Peck’s department store.
The weekend’s snow and ice melted during some Sunday night rain, but it was just the right ingredient to get my mother cooking up a house full of beautiful. I won’t be quite so elaborate at The Coop, but I might just unearth and blog about a few decorations I’ve got tucked away.
Deck those halls, bay-bee!