Christmas brings out the sentimental optimist in me. It’s the time of year when I see the world the way I wish it was, or the way it could be. I put on my rose-colored Christmas glasses and suddenly I live inside the pages of The Saturday Evening Post.
This year has been an especially bittersweet one, as I’ve spent the past 10 months sifting through my mother’s things, learning a lot about vintage collectibles through hours upon hours of research. I know more about 1940s and 50s ceramics from Lefton, Napco, Holt Howard, Commodore and Relco than I ever imagined there was to know.
I started selling vintage, too, at flea markets, estate sales, to antiques dealers and on eBay (my mother had A LOT of stuff.) Then, this will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me, I fell in love with vintage things and started buying them.
That’s how my new Etsy shop, Fiddle Dee Doo Dah, an homage to vintage from the 30s through the 60s, was born.
While I’m still in the process of cleaning out my mother’s house, my own house is now filling up! I never thought I’d hear myself utter these words, but I actually told Ezra, my husband, “I don’t think I’ll put up a tree this year.”
The thought of packing and unpacking (which is virtually all I’ve done since June) seems overwhelming. But we’ll see how long I can hold out. The front porch has been decorated for weeks already.
However, that hasn’t stopped me from enjoying all my new vintage treasures. No one need send me any Holiday cards this year (you’d better…I don’t want to be like Charlie Brown!) because I’ve been ordering bundles of used Christmas cards from the 1920s through the late 1940s from eBay. If you’re a graphic designer, then I hope you won’t miffed with me when I say, “they just don’t make fonts like they used to.” Ohhhhh, I could rhapsodize about the amazing forties’ fonts for days.
Or the postmarks! Don’t get me started on the postmarks. When I hold a card in my hands that’s time and date stamped December 23, 1920, 3:10 p.m., I feel transported to that time and place. It’s magical. I can’t imagine a time when you could simply write a family’s name, city and state on an envelope and it would find them. But there was one. And imagine the outrage in the mid-thirties when the cost of a stamp went up from one cent to a cent and half!!! The nerve! How does one pay a half-cent? Something I’ve been pondering for weeks.
During the month of December, I’ll feature some of my favorite vintage Christmas cards on Instagram. I’ve been repurposing a couple of them, that were falling apart, but that feels kind of wrong to me. I’m holding someone’s life in my hands. Yet, I’m giving those treasured memories new life, too.
This Christmas season will be different for me in many ways. Yet through all of these tangible remembrances of Christmases past, that still contain some of the love and good cheer their original owners felt so many decades ago, I feel inspired. There are many new Christmas memories to be made. And maybe, if I’m lucky, someone will hold one of my cards in her hands some day, and wonder about the person I was, and the Christmases I had, long, long ago.