She asked this a day or two before we bought our Christmas tree. I love a live tree, so that's what we get every year. It's messy, it drops needles, as well as ornaments, as it slowly wilts. But there's nothing like the smell of it, or each tree's uniqueness.
As I started decorating I think about our life. Our Christmas tree tells the story of our lives. Decorating the tree reminds me of EVERYTHING we've gone through. There are the ornaments on the tree that I made for my parents in preschool. There are ornaments that my kids made for me and my husband in preschool. There are the ornaments that my husband and I bought our first year of marriage at the dollar store, when we were terribly poor. There's the ornament that my grandmother made for our family when I was little and it makes me miss her. There are the photo ornaments of my children as babies with their toothless grins, and I have to smile.
Now, when we go on vacation, one of the souvenirs that I try to always bring back with us is a Christmas ornament. That helps us keep the memories of that trip alive. We have countless ornaments from Disney World. There's a crawdad with a crown and mardi gras beads from New Orleans as a reminder of the one and only trip my husband and I took by ourselves after we had kids. This year we took a cruise to Mexico, and I didn't find any ornaments while on the trip, but while I was Christmas shopping I did buy us a burro pinata ornament to remind us of the trip.
There are also the ornaments that just remind us of everyday life. The black lab ornament for Molly, the chocolate lab ornament for Hershey, the cat for both cats. We have a Santa constuction company ornament with Santa in a hard hat on a steel beam for the house we built in the Outer Banks. The fish ornament my best friend in the Outer Banks gave me. Almost all of our ornaments mean something to us.
I really don't understand how people can just decorate their tree to look pretty. Our Christmas tree is our time to reflect. It reminds us of where we've been. I'm hoping to pass down the tradition to my boys. I've already started to separate some ornaments out for them to use on their own trees, though we have a few years before they'll have their own trees. But my wish for them is that at least once a year, they remember their lives when they were children, and how much we love them. And that they pass it on to their children.
Now it's time to take the Christmas tree down. That will stir up all those wonderful memories again. I guess that makes it twice a year that it stirs up memories! That's what Christmas is all about. Happy remembering!