O Christmas Tree

Tonight we decorated the Christmas tree and, as always, placing the ornaments on the tree took me on a trip down memory lane.

When I was a kid, we always had live trees. Even when I was living on my own, I managed to drag home a live tree each year. The first years of our marriage included live trees, but they were finally pushed aside when I received my first aluminum tree. It was a small 6 footer, but we loved it. The first year we lived in our current house, I managed to score an 8 foot aluminum tree off eBay and concluded we would probably never had a live tree again.

The best part of the tree, regardless of the type, is the decorations. I’ve been collecting them since birth and all of them have special memories for me. I love unwrapping them and thinking about the Christmases past. I remember living on Weller Street and having the tree tied to the curtain rods with macrame rope. I remember getting out the lights and plugging them in to test them (one of my favorite jobs). I remember the record player being full of Christmas albums, actual vinyl, and laughing at the songs that always skipped. Even when we upgraded to a cassette player, I still had recordings of the skipped songs.

Several years ago, my dad gave me some old glass ornaments that were my grandmothers. They aren’t the most beautiful and most of them are chipped or scratched, but I lovingly place them on the tree each year. I remember the tree she had in her beauty shop that was adorned with pink glass balls (I think I have some of those now). One year, if I remember correctly, she had a white flocked tree with red ornaments. They may have been blue, but I know she had a theme. When my sister and I were in grade school, she gave us her old artificial green tree so we’d have one of our own to put up in the playroom between our two rooms. It was one of those terrible fake trees, but we loved it.

As a child, I loved coming home and seeing the glow of the colored lights around the porch and windows. I loved my special ornaments with my initials and the year I received it written on them. To this day, I enjoy guessing which year I got which ornament. I’m usually wrong, but figure if I guess the decade that’s good enough. During our marriage, Steve and I have added several special ornaments to the collection. Last year, we decided to start giving each other a new ornament each year.

I’m glad the tradition of receiving a new ornament each year has been passed on to my nieces. I hope that someday, when they’re on their own, they’ll cherish the memories those ornaments hold for them. I know Steve and I will be adding to their collection as we add to our own. Merry Christmas!

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