Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Tree Memories

We began the month of December by decorating our tree as a family.
While sipping hot chocolate and munching on sugar cookies I read aloud a book by Aliki,"Christmas Tree Memories."
It is a sweet story of a family that gathers around their Christmas tree on Christmas Eve and,while looking at their ornaments they remember past family moments. The kids remember making pinecone ornaments with their grandmother and making spool figures with their mother while having chicken pox. After reminiscing about each ornament they go to bed thinking of beautiful memories and knowing that they will be making more on Christmas Day.
We then pulled out our boxes of ornaments, one box for each of the children filled to the brim with ornaments collected since their birth.
It is our family tradition to give the kiddos an ornament each year at Christmastime. We try to select something that is representative of an accomplishment or a memorable event that took place throughout the year.

Other ornaments found within the boxes would be those gifted by other family members and those made by the kids at school, church and home.
I, of course, have multiple boxes. Some of my ornaments were given to me by my mom and by my granny. Some of them I have bought to commemorate an event and others are just cool vintage ornaments that I just can't resist.

All of these come together to create what I believe is the most beautiful sort of tree - a family Christmas tree full of family memories!

I have made note of each of the kids ornaments, who gave it to them and the special significance, if any, behind each of them. One day I would like to create 'Christmas Tree Memories' books for each of them. In the meantime, those scribbled notes and these journal entries will have to suffice. The motorcycle ornament was given to Bishop as a toddler. He so loved motorcycles; noticing them and looking at them in awe everywhere we went. Motorcycle was apparently quite a mouthful and, for the longest time, he would call them "momocycles." The pirate ship was given to Maceo last year because he had been pirate in the community theatre's production of Treasure Island.

And, of course, there are memories in the form photos on our tree. There is a picture of Keegan as a sweet little four year old, Maceo with the children's choir at church, and Maceo after having participated in basketball camp. I love those smiles! are some sweet ornaments. Maceo has a love of all things Native American (he actually collects Indian pottery) so I got him the totem pole one year to document that love. The ornament with the owl and books was given to Christian in honor of his high school graduation. Mickey Mouse was a gift to Christian from his paternal grandparents. Keegan has a Minnie. On the far right you can see a smidge of the Liberty Bell ornament given to Herb to represent his time spent in Philadelphia. And, the blue vintage ornament is one of a set of four that my brother gave me after finding out that I love kitschy vintage ornaments. There is a scene found within that ornament, a wiseman kneeling before the King.

Oh how Christian loves his San Francisco 49ers. This ornament takes a place of honor each and every year. The airplane ornament was a gift for Maceo the year he took his first airplane flight. He went to Philadelphia to visit Daddy. Just prior to taking this trip Maceo had developed an interest in the NFL, he memorized the names of each and every team, and he insisted on asking EVERYONE what their favorite team was. In Philadelphia he continued to survey everyone and found that everyone in the city of Philadelphia is an Eagles fan. Surprise! The ceramic sheep was a gift from Grandmama and in the top right hand corner you will see an ornament created by Christian for Herb. This ornament is a true gift, as Christian thought of what would be meaningful to the recipient regardless of what he really thought. Christian, the 49ers fan, actually wrote "Go Steelers" and "Steelers are #1" on that ornament. The vintage ornament found just above the 49ers ornament is really very special to me. This ornament belonged to my granny. The last Christmas she was alive, she allowed me to choose one of her ornaments to place on my own tree. At that time I was a mother of one and pregnant with my second. I sat on the floor at her feet as she sifted through her box. I think she knew that this would be her last Christmas. It is a precious memory and a treasured ornament.
The poseable Santa was given to Maceo for his first Christmas. He was only four months old and looked at it quizzically. Bernard the mouse was a rare gift directly from Grandaddy to Christian and dangling off the bottom branch are a pair of crocheted ice skates created by my Granny.

With each year that passes these ornaments become even more special to me.
They remind us of the things we have done, the places we have been, and the people who are most dear to us.
Taking the time to decorate the tree together, chatting as we go, telling stories of the ornaments on the tree help bond us together as a family.
How I treasure sweet Christmas tree memories!

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