October 3, 2010

The Stripey Balls

Above: Just the ornaments out of the closet. Below: Ornaments, paper, boxes, et al, ready to go to the women up North who don’t have much in the way of decorations.

Sorting, organizing, cleaning, discarding….all those forms of busy work always keep my mind away from my thinking. Yesterday I did the Christmas stuff….all of it. My mind was busy wondering why I keep buying these goodies year after year all for just one tree.

We used to do giant Christmas parties…for us. Twenty or so dear friends for dinner and a present exchange. Some brought nothing. That too was ok. We had a giant old plastic tree we had found at a yard sale….with its all red ornaments, that every year we added more, more, more to its biodegrading branches to fill the holes.

That’s where it must have started.

Being a starving student with no money, I started buying used Christmas ornaments first at yard sales then we bought more at estate sales. Several years we bought mountains of things at Target. Just last month, himself bought two boxes of 1950’s stripy balls while I bought six stunning, red pomander balls.


Yesterday I banished most of the silver decorations. I banished most of the gold too. Out went all the boxes, papers, ribbons, and half the masses of stuff that filled the big attic closet space. We haven’t boxed presents for years, and the families and friends do their own Holiday parties now. Then I went through the reds….and got rid of the most worn and scratched red things. Ditto blues. Ruthless was me.

I halved the contents of the closet, but, I confess, I didn’t throw away one single stripy ball. Not one.


  1. I had such fun with this post because I do love to organize. We had a lot of Christmas ornaments, too. When we moved to Hawaii, we got rid of 3/4 of them. I had to buy more when we got to Hawaii.

  2. Your history with such ornaments mimics mine except we never or rarely through parties. I was so busy with kids that cookie exchanges were the most I could manage. Now the only parties we get invited to are fund raisers...oh well.

  3. I love the stripy balls. Glad you did not thrown them out.

    I got rid of a lot of Christmas ornaments when we moved to Oregon and have never regretted it.

    These days I'm big on getting rid of "junk". The crowded look drives me crazy so I work constantly not to let clutter find a home here. It's constant work to monitor that situation.

  4. Gads, woman! You are amazing! I don't sort anything, much less my balls.

  5. Glad you didn't get rid of everything. Even though I live in a fairly small RV, I still carry a small Christmas tree and ornaments.

  6. It can be liberating to free yourself of some of the things that are filling cupboards and selves and garages. I just helped a friend load up a moving truck (can you believe people still do all of this themselves!) on Saturday and thought about all the superfluous things we have crowding up our apartment.

    I agree about the stripy balls though. They are keepers.

  7. For years I gathered - loved the thrill of the find at estate sales, thrift shops etc. Later I gifted - my thrilling finds - to thrilled (and not so thrilled) family and friends. Now the find has to beyond thrilling - otherwise I leave it where it is to thrill someone else. However, I would have to draw the line at stripey balls..just gotta have em!

  8. My kids' Dad and I sarted out making our own ornaments and then when we had kids we bought something special each year, one for each of us so the kids would have a start on it when they got their own trees. Then the little weasels wouldn't take any of them and I can't make myself toss 'em. Oh well, I now have 8 assorted grandchildren, I can sneak them into their gifts.

  9. Yes hang on to the stripey balls. They don't grow on trees:)

  10. I like the stripey balls, too. I think you parted with enough!

  11. I hope that you really didn't throw out your old Christmas ornaments, but gave them away or passed them down in the family or sold them at a yard sale.

    We have been unable to find out what happened to my parents ornaments - many of them looked like the stripey-ones.
    Last Christmas we were in a local antiques mall and saw many ornaments the same as my parents had for $5 to $10 EACH.


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Peter in front of a wall sculpture. We were invited up to Peter Knego’s home to see the latest installation.   Abstract flat ...