Next door I could see the shape of my neighbor, so I crossed the grass and asked her what was going on. It's Toys for Tots, she said. They do this every year. The fire truck leads a procession including Santa and reindeer, and makes stops in different neighborhoods each night to collect toys for needy children. The well-off neighbor tots were running out of their houses to donate gifts and get a chance to hop up in the sleigh for a picture with Santa.
Sure enough, I read the several days-old newspaper when I came back indoors and found out that this has been going on under my nose--or in my front yard, to be exact--for many years. I'm embarrassed to let on how out of touch with the town events I am. My nose was in a book or sniffing a pot of soup, I suppose. Or maybe we were driving around town with the children to see all the houses with their fancy light displays.
I have been enjoying the beginnings of decorating. So many of our beloved tree ornaments have been gifts from someone, and I usually can't remember who! The little Czech doll at top I know came from our dear little Czech lady friend, no longer with us, and the the lamp-shaped glass ornament is very old, having been used by B.'s family for decades before it came to our house.
When the children were young, they and I would make various kinds of ornaments, and one of the early projects was a choir of angels made from wood shavings. They have been very durable and the largest always graces the top of the tree.
But for the last several years my favorite ornaments are real or glittery glass pine cones, and birds, like this staring owl given me by H. Much if not all of his plumage is made of bark and other plant fibers; she's also given me wooden birds whose feathers are real feathers.
So...I've gotten started installing our traditional and longstanding Christmas decor. I hope soon to show my newer cozy and festive elements. And I have to say, I've been enjoying looking at photos of Christmas all over Blogland. Thank you all!