Sunday, December 5, 2010
The Christmas Gallery
It was just a dusty old box at the bottom of a plastic bin from the garage. Tired and surrounded by the annual Christmas chaos I call “decorating”, I thought I’d found a puzzle to set out for the season. Instead, I realized what I was holding was a select collection of Christmas gifts saved for the last twenty years. Fine art disguised in construction paper. Though they're too priceless to lose track of, it's been ages since they were displayed on my sacred gallery, the refrigerator door.
I pulled them out of the box one by one, handling them so gently you'd have thought Picasso himself painted them. The Christmas Tree shaped by Katy’s five-year-old fingerprints lay on top of the pile, followed by Lee’s seven-year-old version shaped by two inverted cutouts of his hands atop a brown tree trunk. I recognized our son’s reindeer drawing immediately. For years his artistry was made up of ovals and lines that, if rearranged, could also pass as a pretty respectable “skah-worpion”. Our daughter’s drawing style was distinctive, too. The Holy Family in her Nativity with their double-sized heads are, nevertheless, posed in a reverent position before either a baby in a manager or our family's pet beagle, Harmony. I still haven’t figured out the meaning behind Joseph’s green mohawk, but that’s art for you.
Each drawing was wrapped in bright paper at a Christmas long ago and placed with excitement under a tree by my children. As I worked my way through the stack of pictures, I remembered the joy on my kids’ faces as I opened their handmade present. And just like the dust that fell away from the puzzle box, the years evaporated for a few minutes as I relished again the feeling of holding my young children’s gifts.
There’s a new art gallery in our living room this Christmas. A large frame that holds all these treasures has a place of honor on the wall next to our Christmas tree. And I have a new appreciation for the guy who invented construction paper. The stuff is practically indestructible. I’m so grateful.