I absolutely LOVE Christmas. I love everything about it: the smell of a freshly cut Christmas tree, the scent of baking that lingers in my kitchen for over a month, the warmth of a fuzzy snowman-adorned blanket, the crisp air that stings your nose when you breathe in, the lights, the decor, AND the music. Christmas makes me happy. The kind of happy that you felt as a kid as you waited for Santa to arrive on Christmas Eve. The kind of happy that you feel when you discover something new in a world of familiarity. I feel just pure bliss when surrounded by snowflakes, snowmen, moose, reindeer, and Santa.
One of my favorite things during Christmas, is getting the Christmas tree put up and decorated. I also love going to stores and other people’s homes to see how they decorate their trees. I envy the Martha Stewart-types who put up beautifully trimmed trees with ribbons, sprigs of sea oats, beads, and white lights. I ogle over the trees that look like they just jumped from the pages of “Southern Living” into someone’s random living room. I lust after the trimmings and trappings of country-inspired decorum placed thoughtfully here and there.
But my tree is one of memory. Each and every ornament on our tree is inspired and brings back memories. We sit around the tree with Christmas music playing, sipping hot cocoa, while we unwrap each ornament individually, then guide the ornament to its temporary home on our tree. We briefly talk about each ornament every single year, walking down memory lane as we trim. We remember the person who gave it to us, and almost always the very specifics of the gift. Our lights are multi-colored because white would not match the vibrant and eclectic personality of our tree. I look forward to this walk down memory lane every year and it is a tradition I hope never fades. I would love to have so many ornaments on our tree some day that each branch is weighed down with a memory.
Our favorite this year was an ornament given to my husband by the family dog as a Christmas gift last year. It is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with a halo and angel wings. “Farley” passed on to greener pastures and softer rugs this year, and the irony of the gift did not escape us as we had a laugh and then a moment of silence when the ornament was unwrapped.
Maybe some day we’ll have a house big enough to have an elegant tree and our tree of memories, but if given the choice I’d always choose our Christmas Memory Tree. Unfortunately, in the haste of moving a few years ago most of my ornaments were lost. I now live vicariously through my husband’s ornaments while I slowly rebuild my own collection. The tradition is no less wonderful now, though. I love hearing his stories and recollecting my favorite, now lost ornaments and their tales.
What are your Christmas tree traditions? I’d love to hear about what goes into decorating your trees and maybe even see some pictures.