Have I mentioned that I’m a sad, sappy sucker? I think I have. I’m super sentimental. I have boxes of papers I wrote and awards I won in elementary school. In elementary school, people!
No, I’m not a hoarder but I do attach sentiment to a lot of the things I surround myself with. Especially at Christmas time.
Growing up, Christmas was always one of my favorite times of the year. We would pull out our two big brown cardboard boxes that housed the various pieces and parts of our artificial Christmas tree. Half the fun was putting up the tree and the other half was actually playing in the big boxes.
My sister and I staked a claim on each box and thoroughly decorated the inside of each one. Every year, it was a sentimental journey as we stepped inside our boxes. Maybe it’s why I have a soft spot for Pinky Dinky Doo and her story box.
We also put our plastic Frosty and Santa on our end tables. We put our plastic giant candles outside our front door. We put fake snow on the windows and sprayed our tree with artificial pine scent. Then my mom wrapped our front door in metallic wrapping paper to make it look like a giant present.
But my favorite part was decorating the tree. Every year, pulling out the ornaments made me feel like we were rediscovering them all over again. There was the angel my oldest brother made out of yarn. There was the walnut shell I covered with glue and red glitter to make it look like a strawberry. We all had something to contribute. We all had favorites and we got excited about them every year.
Now, I’m a grown up. I guess. And I have my own artificial Christmas tree. No big boxes and it sure looks a whole lot prettier than the tree we had in the 70s. But I still get excited every year pulling out the ornaments. These are my ornaments. These are my grown-up memories and this year was special for me.
Evan is almost 4 years old and I’m realizing that he doesn’t remember Christmas from any other year. Everything is brand new to him. He’s so excited about all of the decorating. He helped me hang ornaments. I gently told him how to evenly distribute them so they aren’t all clustered together. Ah yes. The boy has an eye for design.
The best part was that he asked me about so many of the ornaments. I loved sharing stories with him even though he probably didn’t understand most of them (e.g., where the heck is Paris?).
So between his curiosity and Cecily K recently talking about her ugly Christmas ornament collection, I thought it might be fun to share the journey of my adulthood, as seen through the eyes of my Christmas tree.
This is my Energizer Bunny ornament. Is it special to me? Not really. But it was one of my first grown-up ornaments ever. I was working at a drugstore and they had a special ornament giveaway when you purchased batteries. There were so many left over I took a few to decorate my meager tree.
My very first attempt at being craftsy. Cross-stitch is about as easy as they come. And somehow, it has stood the test of time.
Not the prettiest ornament in the world but it was given to me by one of my students when I was a middle school teacher. I’m not sure if they thought I was really awesome or if their mom made them give it to me.
I started my love affair with travel almost 15 years ago. I did actually get this ornament in Paris when I spent the Thanksgiving holiday there. I have never actually seen Pere Noel climb the Eiffel Tower though.
As my tastes changed and interests developed, I felt the need to reflect that on my tree. So I decorated one year, and every year since, with two of God’s gifts: Brie and Champagne.
I wish I had purchased these myself. These were a gift from my older brother that he picked up for me while he was visiting Russia. He lives in China now. Yeah, he’s world class.
Then, my husband entered the picture. And I dragged him into my sentimental journey. This was a Hallmark Keepsake ornament commemorating the year we were married. Here’s a secret: this ornament is like a time capsule. Inside, we have a little scroll that details how we spent our first year together.
Luckily, he has the travel bug too. We try to pick up ornaments on our major trips. How many people can say they have a Christmas ornament from Haiti?
Or China? No, no, no. I mean, an ornament bought while visiting China. Not an ornament made in China.
And then there were three. Having a child upped the sentimental factor. I found this ornament 2 years ago and thought is perfectly captured our little family of three.
Instead of finding brie and Champagne on our table, you are more likely to find peanut butter and jelly. But they all peacefully coexist on our Christmas tree.
And finally. This year marked the year we all started really traveling again. And what better way to commemorate than a 2010 ornament from our family vacation to Disney World. (P.S. Mickey’s nose fell off).
That’s just a quick tour around my Christmas tree. It’s just a fraction of the ornaments I have. Yes, it’s a very crowded tree. But there’s always room for one more.
Know what would be a great gift to me? If you share your favorite holiday ornament with me. Tell me about it. Or better yet, upload a picture to my Facebook page. I’d love to see it!