I put the Christmas tree up last weekend. We have a fake tree. As much as I love the smell of freshly cut evergreen, I like not having the mess even more. The ornaments on our tree trace the history of our family. The following is a reposting of the third post I made to my blog almost two years ago.
December 28, 2009
I took the Christmas tree down today. Each ornament holds a memory of a past Christmas. My mother died at Christmas two years ago. When we cleaned out her house, I kept several of her ornaments. I think of her as I wrap the tissue around a small plush crown with rhinestones. Ours was not an easy relationship, but as I’m wrapping up the Christmas ornament it’s not the challenges that I remember. Together we would shop the after Christmas sales for half-price ornaments. I have fond memories of teaming with my mom against the crowds to score my discounted decorations. Our bargain hunting treasures were the start of my family’s Christmas collection.
As the years have gone by, we’ve added a few new ornaments every year. This year we picked up a souvenir ornament on our retirement cruise to Alaska, It hung on the tree alongside the green salt dough dinosaur one of the kids made in kindergarten. My son will be thirty this year; his “baby’s first Christmas” ornament dangled alongside the double-decker bus from the Rayner Reunion in 1997. The decorations document births and deaths, major life changes, and the spirit of Christmas past. I remember the love as I put each shiny or tattered ornament in the box.
When my grandchildren were born we started the tradition of buying each of them an ornament every year. I try to find one that reflects their current interests. This year I bought my oldest granddaughter a cow, because she says, “the cow is my favorite animal.” I hope years from now, when she is putting her own tree away, she will remember when cows were her favorite animal and how much her Nana loved her.
Update: I helped my granddaughters decorate their tree this year when we were in Austin for Thanksgiving. We hung the cow ornament on the tree, but the cow is no longer Megan’s favorite animal. When she was four and was asked why the cow was her favorite animal, she always answered “Because they’re tasty!” Now when I see that cow ornament I am reminded of that time in her childhood…and how quickly she has grown up. I haven't bought this year's ornaments yet. Maybe I should wait for the after Christmas sales?