Around Christmas time, as a designer, I sometimes hear comments that my Christmas tree at my home must be beautiful. I admit that I have one spectacular tree that stands out every year at my house, but this tree is not decorated by me alone. It is still a tradition in my house for my kids to come over for tree trimming right after Thanksgiving.
It started since Chelsea, my first child, was born. Every year though their college years and sometimes a few here and there, I have given an ornament to each of my children relating to something they were experiencing, or a remarkable achievement they achieved that year--school plays, sports, braces, graduations, etc. They also received ornaments from family and friends, and almost every year in grade school they would make an ornament which usually included their school picture.
Starting when they were old enough to help hang ornaments, I would organize these ornaments along with any they received into piles for each child, my husband, and myself. From those piles we would decorate the tree. The tree is left the way it was decorated--never changing a thing, never going back and fixing it to make it look better.
The memories of each ornament, of who gave it to them and why, is remembered every time they place it on the tree. The tree has changed every year from the beginning where the ornaments were arranged all together in a group when the kids were very young. Then as they got older, the tree ornaments were hung at certain levels corresponding to the height of each of my three children and how far up the tree their arm span could go. Or when they were even older and didn’t like some of their school picture ornaments, they hung them hidden in the tree at the back that faced the wall, but they were still hung. Some ornaments are frayed, torn, others broken and glued back together, each one a part of each of my kids’ lives.
Each tree different, each tree unique, each tree full of memories! I also started collecting ornaments from our vacations, more memories. Then a sad year where we hung a remembrance ornament for my husband’s father and papa to our kids, taken from us for too early. Still a memory and one to cherish!
Today, my kids still come to our house, and along with my husband and I, we decorate that tree! There is much laughter, goofiness, shenanigans and of course the memories talked about, laughed about, remembered!
This year will be a little more difficult as we will be hanging a remembrance ornament for my dad, and my kid’s papa. But we will be together as a family, handling that moment together.
Because of all those memories, all those moments, it will be a glorious tree, a beautiful tree--OUR tree--which makes it special and the most amazing tree I have ever seen!