Every year as we decorate the tree, we remind each other of the signifcance of each ornament.
“Here’s the skating moose from our trip to Banff!” or “That’s the Santa starfish your old girlfriend painted for you,” or “Oh yes, the Mardi Gras mask from New Orleans–pre-Katrina.”
Why? Because I love ballet and took lessons into my young adulthood. Because I took my children to the Nutcracker when they were young. Because the music is marvelous and evokes Christmas every time I hear it.
I also love the ornaments my children created when they were wee little things. Some were constructed in school, like the famous double Dixie cup dangle:
Some were spontaneous outbursts of creativity, albeit not necessarily talent, such as the blue sticker star:
My children are always trying to persuade me to throw such priceless artifacts in the garbage. However, I continue to treasure them and hang each one with misty eyes.
Another ornament no one understands my attachment to is this plain blue ball:
I cling to it because my roommates and I bought a box of them to decorate our suite’s Christmas tree in my sophomore year at college. Seeing it brings back wonderful memories of stringing popcorn and cranberries until our fingers were bloody, while we sang carols off-key. We were all so young then.
This little reindeer was the first ornament I bought with my own paycheck from my first job, a major milestone.
My family has their own favorites, of course. My daughter’s beloved ornaments all involve cute puppies, such as this one:
My son has a crush on Emma Watson so this dubious likeness of Hermione Granger is his personal fave (it certainly doesn’t do the glamorous Emma justice):
So decorating the tree becomes a trip down Memory Lane, a catalogue of our passions, and a time to share all of them with each other. Just another reason I love the holiday season.