Our tree has been up, with lights since the Friday after Thanksgiving. Every time my husband, Brian, brought up new boxes I’d inquire, “Are those the ornaments?” It wasn’t until late Sunday he found them. By then I was too tired. I figured one night that week I’d play Christmas music and deck the halls. But we had a few unexpected evenings out. Then I started this ‘Start Now 30 Day Blog Challenge.’ It’s been worthwhile, but limited decorating and baking time.
On Sunday morning over coffee, my ever supportive husband (noticing several of my blogs have been lists of ten like, Ten Good Reasons to Flex and Ten Writing Prompts for Cocktail Parties) suggested, “I have a great idea for your blog, you could write about ten favorite Christmas ornaments and the magic memories they bring.”
“Ooo, great idea. Oh but I’d have to decorate the tree first.”
“Well, yeah, there is that.” He grinned at me.
Smart, sneaky, and actually, quite sexy. Win-win. I’d get a blog out of it. And he reminded me how much pleasure I derive out of hanging the ornaments; as I unwrap each little surprise I receive the gift of travel, a visit from a loved one, often both. The reminiscing fills me with joy and Christmas spirit, even when I don’t get to be with my family on the East Coast. He’d get a trimmed tree. And a happy wife.
Here are the memories each of the ornaments pictured (and numbered) above.
1. Wise man glass ball
One of my favorites from childhood. I’d gently hang the precious jewel each year imagining his long journey to welcome baby Jesus. I suspect my musings fostered my love of travel. Can you smell the frankincense and myrrh?
2. ‘Lisa’ ceramic bell.
The first ornament I remember receiving as a gift. Made by Ms. Jill, my dance teacher when I was five. One of the first on and last off. I’m not sure I fully realized that this bell filled me with such joy because I associated it with the joy of dance.
3. Beaded angel
Beaded bells, stars, candy-canes, wreaths and more adorn the tree. Each one transports me to a favorite family lake front vacation of swimming, boating, game playing and beaded ornament making with Gram, Mom, Dad and Mike (brother).
4. Golden lab puppy
We planned to get a dog and name him diamond. When I heard how expensive diamonds were, I told Brian I’d rather have a dog than a diamond. We met the cutest golden lab puppy on a vacation trip to Rhode Island. When my allergies prevented us from getting a dog, we adopted this little guy.
5. Santa Booty
To understand this one you just need to see this.
Yes, I adore my guy’s sexy butt!
6. Philadelphia Mummer!
I hear, O, Dem Golden Slippers. I shiver from east coast January chill. I suggest to Brian that we go to the parade one New Year’s Day rather than just recording the highlights from PBS. The first year it was broadcast on the West Coast, they showed it live. It was my first year as a professor. I planned my qualitative research methods class to the lengthy parade due to a last minute class cancellation.
Reminds of Gram. I hear her laugh and seen her smile when I hang this ornament. She must’ve made hundreds of these (and thousands of other beaded and then plastic canvas ornaments and decorations).
8. Poodle kiss
My mom taught me to make this. She made a new ornament every year and put one on each gift for all the nieces and nephews. I made it for Brian, our first Christmas. Then he and Gram bonded doing plastic canvas together.
9. First Kiss
This cute couple on cards and in figurines reminds Brian and I of our first kiss. A story we love to tell. And an anniversary we’ve been celebrating for twenty-five years.
10. Tinker Bell
She reminds Brian of me. We’re mysterious, sassy, spunky and stubborn (aka persistent). And we try to boss around the men in our lives. I feel in love with her when she began to symbolize my nurturing inner voice. For the first part of my adult life (and marriage) I had a harsh, unforgiving voice— with my man and myself. When I first developed a nurturing voice—not to harsh, not to easy—I imagined her as a little Tinker-bell light. Brian’s given me a Tinker Bell gift every year, often an ornament or a t-shirt. Last year it was a new tree topper. First time she’s replace an angel made by Gram. New traditions are nice sometimes.
When you trim your tree what memories and stories do the ornaments trigger?
When you gaze at your tree, do you find your favorites? Share a story or two with your holiday guests.
And when you ‘de-decorate’, transform the chore by reminiscing and/or swapping stories with a loved one as you pack away the treasures until next year. Sure, it will take a little longer, but you’ll strengthen your bonds of love.
And isn’t that what Christmas and life are all about?