Today is the Epiphany, which marks the day that the three Wise Men arrived in Bethlehem to meet the baby Jesus. A lot of people (my Mom included) wait until after January 6th to take down their Christmas decorations for this reason.
I didn't wait to take mine down, with the exception of these three...
...meet Caspar, Melchoir, and Balthasar, otherwise known as the Magi, the Three Kings, and/or the Three Wise Men.
These decorations were made from a mail-order kit by my Mom when I was around eight or nine years old. I have a core memory of climbing down into the empty ditch that ran in front of the local golf course to collect the sand that fills the empty dish detergent bottles that comprise the bodies of each King. We were never allowed to go into the ditch when it wasn't running (it was an irrigation ditch that served local agriculture, so it only ran at certain times during the year), so the mission to gather the sand was a Big Deal.
I also vividly recall Mom hand painting the faces and arms of each King, as well as sewing the garments that each would wear. The materials seemed so luxurious to me, despite being scraps leftover from other projects that Mom had scrounged up.
The jewels on the robes of the Kings were pieces of costume jewelry from Mom's old jewelry box, and the trimming is all scrap pieces of inexpensive rickrack also scavenged from Mom's sewing scraps.
I was in awe of the finished project and looked forward to seeing them come out of their box each Christmas, joining Mom's nativity set on top of my Grandmother's old piano. I loved them so much, Mom gave them to me when we pared down her holiday decorations for her move in October.
This year, they were front and center in my holiday decor and I will cherish them, and the memories they evoke, always.