Shiny Brite Christmas

Red birds, in particular, are hopeful when skies are gray.
Red birds, in particular, are hopeful when skies are gray.

I don’t have a lot of happy childhood memories of Christmas. My dad, who just happened to be a fallen-away Jehovah’s Witness, hated the holiday, and without meaning to, he often spoiled things for everyone. I won’t bore you with all the gory details, because they are the same old story acted out in many homes. Alcohol mixed with melancholy makes a nasty brew.

I probably go over the top at Christmas, but I don't care.
I probably go over the top at Christmas, but I don’t care.

Christmas is always a challenge, but I decided, long ago, to enjoy it. In fact, I celebrate it with gusto. This year, however, is particularly challenging. I keep thinking of  the poor people of Newton, Connecticut–their hopes and dreams like shattered glass. As a parent, I am anxious about my own children’s safety. I know the rest of the country has similar nightmares. I combat the overwhelming sadness with my belief in God. I am making the holiday as bright as I may. Bowls of mercury glass ornaments adorn most surfaces. Sadness melts away when you gaze into something so simple and beautiful, and yet, you know everything and everyone is fragile.

Shiny Brites and other vintage and reproduction ornaments are lovely in glass containers.
Shiny Brites and other vintage and reproduction ornaments are lovely in glass containers.

These glass bells, balls and reflectors dotted with mica remind me of all that’s good in Christmas. It is a time of beauty and cheer if we wish it so. If we decide to do what matters and hold our families close, we will find joy in the smallest things. When I was very little, a box of Shiny Brites cost all of 45¢. Even my very-young and poor mother, only seventeen, could afford a box from T.G.&Y. or Spartan’s. I distinctly remember pink and red balls and glass bells striped with mica. By the time I was old enough to pay attention to such things, Shiny Brite had already closed its doors because plastic was more durable. Uglier too. We must not be like plastic, all durable and unfeeling.

The nativity.
The nativity

All of us are sad this Christmas over what might have been, but I do believe those who weep and mourn will be comforted.

Let us lift up all those who are hurt. Let us bind up their wounds and offer the light of friendship and love. The little child who came over 2,000 years ago wouldn’t want us to despair. May all of you have a shiny and bright Christmas, the best way you can.




  1. I have fond memories of shopping at a TG and Y. :o) Happy holidays and I’m so glad you embrace Christmas. Good memories eventually become stronger than the bad ones.

  2. What a wise and thoughtful message, Dee. Thank you. I hope your Christmas was wonderful, and I wish you all the best in 2013!

  3. Rose says:

    Such a beautiful and heartfelt post, Dee. I am sorry I didn’t read this earlier, but I hope you had a blessed Christmas. I know I hugged my grandkids a little tighter than usual this year.

  4. Carol says:

    Merry Christmas, Dee. Beautifully written, too.

  5. Greg says:

    Thanks for that Dee. It was very encouraging. You know after moving back to Kansas/Oklahoma, I do not miss these high humidity winters. Ouchh.

  6. Dee what a most heartfelt and beautiful post that made me smile…I have been so heart broken since the shooting…as an educator I just could not feel anything but grief and then of course I miss my dad this tie of year…but maybe you do have the right idea…make it bright for a while and celebrate the heck out of it as I know my dad would have and all those beautiful children who are now angels in heaven…thanks Dee!!! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  7. Les says:

    Thank you for the shiny and bright wishes. As you know, Christmas can be a two-faced holiday for many people, let’s hope more see the good side.

  8. Oh! Was just typing ‘Happy Christmas’ when the box vanished. I’d pressed the ‘post comment’ button too soon. Can’t miss that bit! HAVE A VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS, DEE! a VERY happy Christmas!

  9. To list all that’s wrong in the world would be endless. The Christmas story inspires us to remember the frail, the homeless, refugees; persecution and suffering. But the sheer gaudiness of the season also offers us a moment to look away. And we need that looking away – even if only momentarily. I’m not a great fan of tasteful Christmases. Glitzy and bright is right for a few days in the year – it buoys us up for all the rest.

  10. Rose says:

    Love you, Mom

  11. Emily says:

    Dee, Your message came at exactly the right time. Stress was starting to consume me tonight with all the things still on my Christmas “To Do” list. I was frustrated in having to do most of the family preparations by myself, and I actually threatened to leave the decorating to the men in my family, which means it would not get done. But that’s not the Christmas spirit, and your spirit has inspired me. So, tomorrow I will decorate and even get out my nativity collection that hadn’t seen the light of day in years. Thank you for reminding me that we can each create the joy and spirit of Christmas for ourselves, no matter what others in our families do or don’t do to participate.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Emily, I’m so glad. Merry, Merry Christmas.~~Dee

  12. Randy says:

    Merry, merry Christmas, Dee! Hugs-

  13. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I too am one of the over compensators. Since my children have grown and have their own homes I have learned to truly relax and enjoy the holidays. I see by your shiny bright that you too can do this. I hope you and yours have a great Christmas and all is shiny bright during your holidays.

  14. Shiney Bright were an icon and they look great in your vases. Been missing you in my comments but I think I have a post to bring you back. Merry Christmas, Patrick

  15. Helen says:

    Beautiful and loving message, Dee.

  16. Christmas is love. Enjoy the love of those around you even if sad thoughts come at times. Christmas is also what you make it and it sure looks pretty and special at your house.

  17. joey says:

    So many memories … beautifully written, dear Dee, that brought more than one tear to my eye. Your home speaks of warmth and love … your family is truly blessed.

    And wishing you a shiny bright Christmas too, treasured friend!

  18. CurtissAnn says:

    This is beautiful, dear friend. A few years ago, I still had a box of ornaments in a box bearing the name of T.G.&Y. I could remember buying them in OKC. 🙂 Love to you. Thanks for sharing the inspiration and hope.

  19. Cynthia says:

    Over the top is good, Dee. That shiny bright attitude more than compensates for the darkness. It sets it ablaze and renews hope. Thanks for the good words. ;^)

  20. Frances says:

    Christmas in your home, dear Dee is indeed shiny and bright and fuilled with love. It is beautiful.

  21. Sonia Kirk says:

    Beautiful post Dee,
    This year I think people will appreciate their families more. We should never take them for granted. We expect that people will have accidents and have a terminal illness, but no one expected what happened in CT. Will take a while to heal.

    I hope you enjoy your shiny brites! I actually saw a box of shiny brites in T.J. Max or Ross !! (shopped too much that day to remember which store)

    Merry Christmas
    Miss Bloomers

  22. Gail says:

    Thank you Dee for your warm and loving wishes for a shiny bright Christmas. I wish the same for you. xoxogail

  23. Leslie says:

    Dee, you said this so beautifully. Thank you for the feeling of hope and love offered here.

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