06 December 2016
bells of christmas.
growing up, christmas was magic. i realize that statement alone makes me utterly blessed. my grandmother was an alchemist of sorts, brewing christmas magic from a closet in the hall where she stored eucalyptus stems and balsam wreaths, candles and snow globes, velvet red ribbons and cinnamon brooms. over years and years, she collected the porcelain pieces of a dickens village -- i remember fluffy snow, a post office, twirling ice skaters -- and arranged it aside her fireplace each december. her tree glowed with white lights and chiming bells, a wooden train rounding the skirt below. she would cook for days and we would feast like kings.
between my grandparents' divorce when i was in high school and losing my grandmother two years later, all of those traditions halted by the christmas i was eighteen. new ones, lovely ones, sprang up, of course -- they always do -- but the threads of childhood become part of your fabric in a way few things do the rest of your life.
objects are not memories has become an oft-repeated mantra of sorts for me in recent years, as i've navigated some of my family's more painful moments. it's true, objects are not memories, and while sentimental trinkets do not heal an ache or bring anyone back, they can certainly make us feel rooted.
so while i can't lay my hands on the exact bells that chimed on my grandmother's tree, i can start anew with my own family and traditions to call ours, delighting all the while in found treasures: noah bells -- handmade, hand-tuned, sought across the world, and discovered this weekend, in all places, on the upper west side -- and a sweet husband that made my hunt for bells of christmas, his hunt. comfort & joy, indeed.