Monday, January 12, 2009

Christmas Memories

By now anyone that reads my posts has heard me mention a few times that I love Christmas. I like the sounds, the sights, the smells and the memories that seem to come to me like gifts to be opened every year.

Every year when we put up the tree and I start to unpack the ornaments, I get to experience so many good memories as I take each ornament out of its box. Some people like to have the perfect decorator tree with the color coordinated ornaments to make just the right statement. I, on the other hand, love having each ornament mean something special to me that makes me think of someone or some place every time I look at it.

I have ornaments on the tree that my sons made when they were in school and I cherish them as if they were made of gold. One that I love is an egg angel that my older son made. It’s an egg that he put a small hole in the bottom of and then blew out the egg. Next he drew eyes and a nose and mouth and glued on paper wings. It’s been on our tree for twenty-five years or so. Another I love is a gods eye that the youngest son made. It’s two popsicle sticks with green yarn woven to make the gods eye. Simple but I love it. And the middle son painted a pre-cast figure of a guy with a santa hat leaning against a cactus and it makes me smile every year when I take it out to hang on the tree. (I think he must have made that one when we lived in Texas.) There are others but these are my favorites.

Some of my other treasured ornaments are those that have been given to me by people that I love. One of my daughters-in-law gives me an ornament every year at Thanksgiving and I always look forward to seeing what she picked out. One year my husband and I and all of the kids and grandkids went to Disney in December. They bought us a huge ornament with the year on it and I love it dearly. It’s a replacement for the original one they had gotten us that got broken.

I have quite a few ornaments that have very special meaning to me due to the reason that they were given to us. Several years ago we put up a huge real tree and it was beautiful but we discovered that it had a crooked trunk. I think it was a pain to do but my husband finally got it in the stand and it looked great. We decorated it and were quite happy with the way it looked when we finished.

The next morning I got up as usual about 5:30 and made my way to the kitchen to put the coffee on. As I was walking towards the kitchen, I looked over towards the family room and there lay the tree with broken glass ornaments all around. I was so shocked that I started screaming and practically scared my husband to death. He came running from the bedroom and all I could do was cry and scream that all of my ornaments were broken.

He finally shut me up and started to survey the damage and sure enough most of the glass ornaments were ruined. The egg angel had miraculously survived. The original huge glass Mickey Mouse that the kids had given us was broken as were lots of others that had sentimental value. After cleaning up the mess, we both went to work where I was a complete emotional wreck the entire day. Every time someone asked me about my red and puffy eyes, I would cry again.

That day when I got home from work I found a wonderful surprise. The bar in the kitchen was covered with new ornaments that the two daughters-in-law that knew about the tree had gone out and bought. The two of them had spent a lot of time choosing new ornaments that they knew that I would love. Well of course I cried some more.

So this year and every year since then I take out the ornaments that they chose and I hold them gently and look at them and think about how much it meant to me to come home to find them that day. That memory is very special to me. I hang them on the tree in spots that I know that I will be able to see them all through the holidays. Looking at them makes me feel blessed to be loved and to have the gift of memories to enjoy time and time again.

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