December 23, 2013

Collecting memories, traditions

Holidays perfect time for antiques, collectibles, traditions

The holiday season is the most sentimental time of year and there’s no better way to celebrate traditions than with antiques and collectibles.

Cherished ornaments, often passed down through generations, are once again hung on the tree. Vintage dolls, toys and train sets are taken out of storage and lovingly arranged around the house, giving it a nostalgic feel. Heirloom linen, china and crystal will soon find its place at the table once more as friends and family gather for festivities.

At the Robards home this season, granddaughter Rylee Kay has been busy helping with the baking and decorating. In between batches of cookies we take a break for a tea party with the miniature antique china we found a few years ago at a yard sale. The pint-sized white tea set has a charming little pine cone motif on it, and the bottom of it is marked “Made In Japan,” which dates it between the first and second World Wars. Since we’ve had it, the tea set has seen lots of use with Grammie and Grandpa — and Rylee has learned to play with it carefully. After each use we wash it, and then she gently wraps each piece in tissue paper for storing in its own special box.

Tea party aside, another of Rylee’s favorite things to do when she visits our home is to play with a menagerie of antique celluloid toy animals that live in a large colorful box under the tea set. Over the years she has learned to count as well as recognize colors and sizes from playing with these delightful little critters. This year we decided the animals should climb onto the branches of a small fiber optic Christmas tree that changes color every few seconds.

We put a celluloid Santa on the top and then filled the branches with everything from reindeer and elephants to lions and tigers and bears. Rylee arranged all her favorite swans and ducks around the base and it is quite a sight; the most modern of plastics technology (fiber optics) decorated with the very oldest of plastic toys — and it’s just perfect for an excited 4-year-old and a grandmother who wants to instill in her an appreciation for treasured keepsakes.

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