I love our Christmas tree. I honestly, truly, and deeply love our tree.
Our tree represents our lives. Jay’s, Emily’s, Julia’s, and mine – all hanging there beautifully displayed on illuminated branches. It’s not theme-y, it’s not color-coordinated, it’s not classy. But it’s us, 100%. Now, I love a beautifully decorated tree – the trees in Tiffany’s at Christmastime make me drool like crazy, and these trees over at Bower Power always make me smile. But our tree is us – and every single ornament on it holds a special meaning for at least one of us.
There are ornaments that capture bits of our personalities, like the Kermit the Frog ornament my parents bought me to capture the memory of the closet doors I painted for my room (it even plays “Rainbow Connection”!):
Some of the ornaments on our tree have been hanging on Christmas trees for decades and were passed down to us from our parents:
There are also ornaments that I’ve personally stitched myself. Jay gave me the Santas to stitch for our first tree as a married couple (there are three in all). And when each of the girls was born I bought a cross-stitch kit of 30 stocking-shaped ornaments. Each year I stitch one for Emily (with red felt backing) and one for Julia (with green felt backing) so that when they have their own Christmas tree one day they’ll have a bunch of ornaments to start off with, all stitched with love. ❤
Likewise, the girls have a few ornaments they’ve made for us too:
Some of our ornaments hold special memories, like our first Christmas together, a Santa from this year’s Ornament Exchange, a handmade beaded star from a Jars of Clay Christmas concert, and Mickey Mouse ears from our recent Disney cruise (it’s a tradition of ours to grab an ornament whenever we are on vacation).
I’ve been collecting Lenox for a while, and I’ve received a few Lenox ornaments from friends and family over the years:
And we love these ornaments (usually found in mall kiosks) that you can personalize with milestone events in your life. We’ve got one for each of our pregnancies, one for the first home we purchased, and each of the girls received one for their first Christmas. There’s also the first ornament I received as a teacher:
And of course, we had to get a family-of-four ornament once Julia came along and completed our family!
Probably the ornaments with the most interesting story are my Mary’s Angels collection. My mom used to love buying ornaments from Hallmark, and every year she’d fall in love with a new collection and start it off for either my dad, my brother, or me. Sometimes we’d all get a new collection. But every year it seemed that Hallmark would discontinue a collection, and three years in it would be done. In 1988 she started the Mary’s Angels collection for me, and 27 years later it’s still going. We are both shocked that it’s still going, and I’ve got a tree full of sweet, child-like angels.
I think my favorite ornament is this mermaid, given to me by Jay’s parents early in our marriage. I love mermaids, and this is just gorgeous – painted metal, with all sorts of aquatic trinkets attached to her outstretched arms… a little clay crab, a note in a glass bottle, a golden anchor. I just love her flowing hair and her pearl necklace, but what I love most is how well I felt like my new in-laws knew me. ❤
Add in some strands of silver beads, white garland, and white lights, and you’ve got our tree. We love talking about all the ornaments and reminiscing about them as we decorate the tree, all throughout December, and again when we pack it all up after Christmas. Indeed, O Christmas tree, how lovely are your branches.