It started innocently enough. I remember very clearly (although Becky denies this), when she was a young girl of about 10 or so, Becky picking up a nutcracker in a store and proclaiming something along the lines of "oh this is so cute?" "How come we don't have one of these?" I was some what surprised by the comment as I have always found nutcrackers to be fairly ugly and creepy with their nut eating mouths. None the less being the attentive and resourceful mother that I am when after Christmas I spotted a package of 4 small nutcrackers, each about 4 inches tall and a good 50% off, I picked up a box as a special surprise for Becky the next year. Much to my dismay the following year, Becky picked up the package of nutcrackers and proclaimed them to be " the most hideous things on the planet". "That is what I have always thought" I said in my defense. And of course this was followed by her next question of "then why would you ever buy them". I launched into my explanation of being a good and resourceful mother and that it all traced back to her original comment, but she of course wanted no part of it and denied that she would have ever uttered such a thing. And so the question of what to do with the nutcrackers quickly arose. A solution was found (and I can't honestly say who started this) when they began to show up with regular frequency in unexpected places. I found one buckled into my car, dangling from the chandelier, hanging around my pitcher of Ice Tea, and inside my purse while I was out shopping. The next day (or more likely later the same morning) I put one under her pillow, hung one on the shower head, put one in her school backpack and one in her shoe. Revenge came fast and furious with no one in the house safe from being "nutcrackered". We surprised each other with them daily for the rest of the holiday season, and started a family tradition that held steady for each of the following years.
Becky lived at home her first year of college, but I was already formulating a tentative idea for the next year. Unfortunately Dale and I had to take a trip during the month of December and we were gone for over a week. When we returned home Becky and Autumn had been very busy turning our bedroom into a nutcracker wonderland. Nutcrackers proved to be rather expensive but they had come up with the clever idea of making them from terra cotta pots, but when this turned too expensive they used paper cups stacked on each other and painted a pile of them to look like nutcrackers. Hideous as they were it was also all very charming and of course I was stuck with them in my bedroom for the rest of the season.
I knew that by the next Christmas Becky would be in her own place so being the resourceful and lucky mother that I am, when I happened into Target on the day of their 90% off clearance of all Christmas items and saw their piles of leftover nutcrackers too hideous to have already been purchased, well I just had to get me a cart full. Oh the post holiday joy I felt loading that cart full of true treasures all at 90% off, why that was practically free, and so I felt completely justified in hitting up the next closest target for another cart full. I had a lesson to teach...don't mess with Momma! I also happily came upon (After a great deal of searching) on some nutcracker fabric with nice sized nutcrackers that could be cut out and appliqued on just about anything....and so I did. Pillows, potholders, kitchen towels, stockings...whatever I could get my hands on. That year I rang in the preseason with a lot of painting projects too. Her apartment had a loft which I thought would be the perfect place for a nutcracker arcade..and so I created a few clever games all with a big ole nutcracker painted as the target. I scored a bin full of nutcracker ornaments all heavily discounted prior to that year too. With the help of her roommate who left the key out for me to get into her apartment (and later regretted this decision) her apartment was bedecked with wreaths and trees and swags of nutcracker garlands and nutcrackers everywhere! Such a merry good time.
The following year was rather busy with Becky's impending move to Chicago and not a lot of nutcrackering was done, but as a happy coincidence of that move out of her last apartment, I am now in possession of all of the nutcrackers. What to do, what to do? Becky's current place is well within a nutcrackering driving zone, and she has bemoaned her current lack of decor in the place..........still she has said she feels the place is a little bit dismal and really wants to use the holidays to fix it up cute. The fate of the nutcrackers this year is yet to be determined but I guess I just want to point out to her the warmth and value from strong family traditions. Traditions are what the holidays are all about....try to keep that in mind Becky!
Is it just my imagination...or does Becky look more and more like a nutcracker every year?