SF1One of the cool things about decorating for Christmas is pulling out the boxes of decorations and rediscovering the things that make the season special year after year.  It occurred to me that the innate ritualistic aspect of taking out the decorations for a festive season is really why it is so great and could be adapted throughout the year.

In addition to special “things” – I have tried to add little rituals into my every day life. These things range from insignificant things that make me feel good to more extravagant gifts to myself. Small things: when I used to work in Quincy, MA and walked by a statue of favorite son John Adams frequently, I always said “Good afternoon Mr. President” or some related greeting.  Big things to treat myself: traveling to London once a year, for example

But it is the items that we surround ourselves in our home, like the Christmas decorations, which can bring rituals into our lives in an easy and inexpensive way. 

When I moved into this old house, I brought everything I owned and also had go through the stuff that was already here.  I wanted to resist the urge of finding a place for everything, yet at the same time follow a rule of “use what I have” – meaning not purchase anything new for the place.  There are many examples of this practice which I will blog about over time.

However, the idea of rotating things in and out with the season, and/or just for fun, is top of my list. So that is what I have been doing.  I have mixed things of my own with things that I found in the house.  I have also rediscovered some of my own things that I had not see for a while and brought them out for a new life.

With summer quickly waning here in New England (it was 41 degrees when I woke up this morning) I was thinking of some of the things around the house that are symbols of the season that will be put away and taken out next year when summer arrives again, and the first thing I saw were these summer candles that make me smile every time I see them.

Several years ago, a friend of mine gave me a couple of these candles as a joke.  He had found them in the clearance bin at a local discount chain.  What he did not expect was how much I actually loved them.  This led to a tour of the chain’s several stores seeking every last one of them.  I ended up with a couple of dozen, which I brought as host/hostess gifts everywhere I was invited that summer and they were a huge hit.

I ended up keeping six of them for myself.  Over the years as I brought them out every year, I found that paint was chipping and pieces were falling off here and there.  In time three were lost to the transfer station.  However, these three survive, and I have them on a window sill on the back screen porch where they keep an eye on things.

I will admit that I never treated these summer candles especially well in the off season.  I think they actually spent more than one winter outside with the container garden stuff.  Now, as I realize how special they are to me – bringing back memories and good cheer – I will be putting them away with great care – but not until the first frost.  Sadly, I think that day is way too near.