Monday, December 28, 2009

Memory Tree

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 wrapping up the Christmas ornaments 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 families Christmas collection.

As the years have gone by, I’ve added a few new ornaments every year. This year I picked up a souvenir ornament on my 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 "Rayer Reunion, 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 I 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.

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