Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Christmas Tradtition

Remember a while back I said I wish that I had the creativity, money and style to have a tree that looked like this?  Well, I've changed my mind.  Not about having creativity, money and style - still need those - but about giving up the unique creation that is our Christmas tree.

When our children were born, I began a collection of ornaments for each of them.  We added one ornament per year for each of them, with the idea that when they had their own homes they would have a start on their own Christmas decorations.  We tried to find an ornament that represented a part of their life that year.  Now, after twenty Christmases, we have a tree filled with an eclectic assortment of keepsakes that would never make it onto the pages of Better Homes and Christmas Trees.

There is a brown bear from the year Mitch went to Yellowstone with the Boy Scouts, a ballerina from Amanda's dancing period, Scooby-Do playing baseball (little league), a mouse with a pen and bottle of ink (Amanda's first year of school), a violin (they both played), Santa on a motorcyle (Mitch's first motorcycle), a giant pink disco ball (no one knows why, Amanda just HAD to have it!), and a police car that represents Amanda's senior year (she had some speeding issues).  

Mixed among the annual ornaments are: 
  • souveniers from vacations
  • hand-crafted ornaments made by friends (knitted, crocheted, sewn, and cross-stitched)
  • a beautiful gold ornament my grandparents received for their 50th anniversary
  • four (left from a set of six) white ornaments with doves and "Peace" on them (purchased at Wal-Mart in 1982 to decorate our first tree)
  • a Mark Martin (Nascar) ornament because he's Dave's favorite driver and he used to be sponsored by Viagra.  (Purchased for him by children with a warped sense of humor.)
  • paper candy-canes, handprints and ornaments decorated with school pictures - all created by our little artists.
The collections end with an ornament representing their college. Last year we added a pewter FHSU Tiger and this year we will add the final ornament - something representing KSU - and the countdown begins to my beautifully decorated, themed, color-coordinated, professional-quality tree.  Or so I thought.  But then we decorated the tree this year and began playing "remember when" as we hung each ornament, and I realized that I'm actually going to miss seeing those pieces of their childhoods.  That crazy, offbeat tree is our life - for better or worse, that's us.

I still haven't given up on the idea of a designer tree.  But even after the kids have their own homes and their ornament collections have moved on, there will be a small tree somewhere in my house that holds the childhood memories they leave behind.  And it will warm my heart to know that somewhere out there, there are two NEW homes with wacky Christmas trees.


  1. I love Christmas trees and a few years ago I had the same desire as you so I now have 5 trees in my home. I love them all. My largest tree is a now themed tree and I still hang all my memory ornaments on it even though the kids have all left home. I also have a "grandkid" tree. This is a tree that they can play with and redecorate all they want. Each child has a wooden photo ornament that they painted. I update the photo's each year taking the old ones and making a scrapbook page with them. The Christmas ornament scrapbook is a favorite book to look at during the holidays.

  2. My mother started off with the same intentions - except now she can't bear to part with any of "our" ornaments! Her tree just explodes with them. It is truly incredible to see. She instilled in us a love of ornaments - the funkier the back story, the better. They each tell a special tale and make decorating the tree a joy rather than a chore. My personal favorite ornament was a gift from a co-worker at a tree trimming party my roomie and I had in our apartment one year. It is a little clay crafted man holding a black kitty - yet he happens to be completely naked - with his "junk" prominently displayed and a big smile on his face. We hang him up near the top of the tree so the little nieces and nephews aren't distracted ;0)