White Christmas
By Karen Parr-Moody

 

The famous Irving Berlin song “White Christmas” sends us dreaming about an old-fashioned Christmas, complete with sleigh bells in the snow. GasLamp always puts the “old-fashioned” in this holiday, distilling memories through the treasures in its booths.

 

One need barely walk into GasLamp before stepping into a romantic “White Christmas.” Within the first few booths of the original GasLamp store, one arrives at Booth B-104, where the décor glistens like snow under the midday sun (photo, right). Within Booth B-104 one finds this beautiful pair of white, carved wings (photo, left; $195 for the pair). The wings are perfect for Christmas, but can also be left up year-round.

 

This nativity scene, below right, is a cream-colored charmer with gilt details ($28.95; Booth B-210). But it has a deeper meaning – and history – than mere beauty. The nativity scene, or crèche, dates back to St. Francis of Assisi. As described by St. Bonaventure in his “Life of Saint Francis of Assisi,” written around 1260, St. Francis staged a live nativity in 1223 in a cave near Greccio, Italy. He did so to remind the people of the real meaning of Christmas; they had fallen into secular materialism, it seems.

 

Long before one hears the jangling of Santa's sleigh bells, it’s time to set up for Christmas. Some people opt for subtle glamour while others create festive holiday visions. If you fall into the latter camp, then this tree is for you (photo, left; $24, Booth B-115). Covered in shiny, iridescent bulbs, it will surely bring whimsy to any room.

 

Nesting dolls are a classic gift from Russia. So why not cover an all-white tree with them, as someone has done with these two in the photo at right? Matryoshka (also spelled Matriosha or Matryona), a once-popular Russian name, comes from the Latin “mater,” which means “mother.” This is why the nesting dolls all looks so robust; they represent fertility.

 

We all know that in the classic Christmas tale, “The Night Before Christmas,” only a mouse stirred in the house. Well, this milk glass mouse in the photo, below left, will certainly get someone’s heart stirring ($30; Booth B-230 in the Showcase room). This charming fellow belongs to a group of light bulbs made for the original C6 strand of lights.

 

C6 bulbs were the first Christmas tree lights to be widely used in the United States; while the original electric Christmas lights appeared inthe 1880s, they were too expensive for most households. Introduced in 1919, the C6 light was popular through the 1940s. While many such lights are conically-shaped, colored bulbs, others – like this mouse – were made into figural shapes of all stripes, including Santas, snowmen, popular cartoon characters, animals and children. Tip: If you want your bulbs to stand at attention, look for vintage “alligator clips” to attach the strands to tree branches.

 

This is the one time of year where we all get to be kids again, giddy to untie that first Christmas day bow. So don’t be shy about it: Get to GasLamp and decorate like a proper elf.  

 

*Photos one, two and four by Susan W. N. Ruach.

 

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