Christmas time is a time of so many great traditions. Some you keep. Some you adjust. And some you replace with new ones. Today I almost let one go. But, then, I saw it for all that it’s worth to me. I share it with you in case it can have the same impact on you and your children as it has on me and mine.
Each year as a child, I received a Christmas ornament from Santa. It wasn’t just any ornament. It was an ornament that depicted something important, special or memorable that happened to me that year.
There was the year I received a volleyball player after making the volleyball team. Or the graduating bear the year I graduated. Or the year I was given a mother and baby reindeer after caring for my younger siblings a lot that year.
This year, as I put up the Christmas tree and saw each of the ornaments, I was flooded with memories as I put up each memory. I love putting up the tree. It’s more than just decorating. It’s remembering, reflecting, laughing, and loving. We continued the tradition in our family today- The ABC block when my oldest learned to read. The snowman on a swing when Elizabeth was obsessed with swinging. The juggling clown when I was struggling to juggle life with 4 kids. The snowman with wobbly, dangling feet when Jayden learned to walk. The police car when my husband got 3 speeding tickets in a month’s time. Just think. Without that ornament, we’d never be able to retell that story year after year. A memory that would just be forgotten (though he wishes it would be :)).
Even the string of popcorn makes me remember the year when we had no money to decorate our bare tree. The kids and I sat for hours stringing popcorn onto thread. We don’t dare throw it away. We never want to have to do it again. But, more importantly, it’s a memory we cherish.
I’ve always loved the beautiful trees with the color-coordinated ornaments, bows, and ribbon. They’re majestic and inspiring. But, the tree I love the most is the one we gather around, the one we tell stories around as we spot ornaments that remind us of memories of the past. It’s a tradition I was going to stop this year. Afterall, it’s not always easy to find ornaments that reflect a memory. But, after walking by my tree today and being reminded of one more memory, I think I better not. There are too many memories I want my kids to always remember.