Decorating for the holidays is an event that has always held many fond memories for me. As a little girl I thought it was such a magical process! Decorating for Christmas was not just putting lights on the tree and hanging ornaments, it was an all day event! The day would start by drinking hot spiced cider and trudging through the cold, wet, and muddy hills outside of Portland at a festive tree farm looking for the perfect holiday tree! That evening, mom would set out a decadent spread of appetizers and finger foods, open bottles of champagne (or sparkling cider), turn on the Christmas toons, and we would spend the evening decking the halls! It was the most festive cocktail party, and it was just us!!
After the tree was decorated with the angel lit sitting majestically at the top as if she were keeping a watchful eye throughout the holiday, and the stalkings were hung on the mantle, my dad brought out one of the most treasured of holiday decorations ... "Santa"! It's hard to write this story without sharing all the family history and dynamics, but to share just a bit, grandpa William John Prendergast, Jr. used to love to hand sketch caricatures and cartoons! In college, he would decorate all of his love letters to his sweetheart and future wife Marjorie with sketches inspired by some of his favorite cartoonists! In 1948, at the request of his wife, William John Prendergast, Jr. sat down and sketched "Santa", modeled off a holiday card they had received that year. Eventually, that sketch was brought to life with paint, and a few years later it was beautifully framed and has hung over a family mantle at Christmas every year since! My parents still hang the original each year, but last year they had the painting lovingly and meticulously copied by a specialist, and those copies framed to match the original antique frame. All the children were gifted these incredibly meaningful pieces of art, so now all the Prendergast kids and grandkids have "Santa" to enjoy!
Grandpa passed away when my dad was a little boy and I have always missed the opportunity to know him. But I feel his love come through "Santa" every year at Christmas with his jolly smile, his rosy cheeks, and the twinkle in his eyes! As a parent, I love sharing holiday traditions with my two beautiful children! Every year on the evening we decorate, the four of us can be found singing Christmas carols, eating appetizers for dinner, sharing toasts to our family and to the season ... and hanging "Santa" above the fireplace!
I hope you are able to enjoy family traditions throughout this holiday season ... or perhaps make new traditions of your own!