Well, hello there. It’s been a little while.
For those that may have missed this weekend’s facebook post, I shared this quick picture:
This is the top of one of many ornament boxes. In it is my collection of gold and red hearts. Growing up, my mom and dad always had gold hearts at the top of the tree. When I moved out on my own, and got my first Christmas tree, this was the first thing I purchased, and they have adorned the tree every year since.
Before I go picture crazy, and share some of my most prized possessions, here is a little history about our Christmas tree tradition. You may want to get the coffee or nog, it goes a few years back.
The first piece to this puzzle is my Oma would regularly rearrange furniture in her house. She always called it Poor Man’s Decorating. There is significant truth in the title, and many of us have contemplated is this a type of decorating genetic disorder? If we haven’t, our husband’s sure have. I say this because you will not find one woman in our family that is not regularly moving furniture, rugs, wall hangings, and more around a single space or room to room. If they are really feeling like going next level, there is a bucket of paint involved.
It’s important to share this fact with you because when you move out of your parents home into a studio box, an apartment, a town house, a colonial, a split level, a rancher, whatever it may be, the first question we all lead with is, “so, have you thought about where the Christmas tree is going?” It could be December 26th, or 95 degrees in July, inquiring minds want to know. If you haven’t decided, we all have an opinion, so it won’t be long before it’s decided. You know a lot of us start thinking about this right after Labor Day because there is a flurry of texts, pictures, the request for “keep your eyes out for…,” and every picture you see right where the plans for the tree are. Yes. Before. Halloween. Once the tree comes in, there is no time for where it might go. You can imagine with all the talks about where the tree will go, what that means for what it looks like, and how it is decorated.
Five years ago, I had a painful conversation with L&L’s pediatrician. It went like this.
Dr. O, “You’re going to have nix your real tree?”
Me, “Excuse me? I am pretty sure I didn’t hear you correctly.”
Dr. O, “The boys are allergic. It’s what is making them sick the entire time the tree is in your house.”
I will admit, I was not happy. It took me long time to work thru no Christmas tree farms, no real pine scent, no 1800 lights that had to be hand strung, no cutting out the limbs in the way, no vacuuming pine needles, no remembering to water the tree. Even more than that, it took awhile to find an artificial tree that looked like the tree I grew up with. To be honest, this is our fifth Christmas with this tree, and while it’s not exactly the way I would like, it’s pretty remarkable. So, let’s get to it.
I mentioned above about the hearts. Here is close up. Six gold, and three red on this tree. Go to my Mom’s she has the same. Trees are generational I think and I love this tradition.
When I was a child, my Aunt Boots made these pea pods for each of her siblings. I loved it. I moved out. Got married. Had L&L. No pea pod. I may have expressed several times how much our tree needed one too. She gave me this two years ago. This guy gets top billing on our tree.
Some string popcorn, some string beads (I wish I had this skill), some put on silver tinsel (that doesn’t really work on an artificial tree that is saved year after year), I put on icicles. This year, there are four different types. Next year, I am tracking down the old school tin ones too. Here’s looking at you etsy.
You know those ornaments on your tree that really may only have special meaning to you, but every time you look at them a flood of memories, or may be just one memory returns? That’s what these are. The angel engraved was my third Christmas. I am not even sure you can get anything like it these days, and this only one of two ornaments that I took from the “childhood tree,” all the rest are still there, and my mom puts them on her tree each year. The second ornament is actually fairly new to me. My parents traveled to Germany a fews years ago, and my mom brought this back for me. (It was July, so it’s true what our family says, we are always thinking about Christmas.) I love this ornament for two reasons, one it honors my family’s German heritage which has been taken to the next level at Christmas time. The second it is reminiscent of an ornament that we had as kids that I always loved. (When the CT (childhood tree) goes up, I will update this post with a picture of it.) You maybe asking about the second ornament I took. She was a pretty angel and she bit it.
I love, love, love decorating the tree with L&L. This precious kiddos love the tree as much as me, and they have been collecting, and making ornaments for several years now. They each have their own box to cut down on ornament confusion, and to keep them busy while I am hanging things not meant for little hands.
The first year they helped, I was a bit tortured. I wanted to rearrange all their ornaments, so I did. That was a mistake. They both questioned me for days about it, and I realized it’s their tree, as much as it is mine. They are getting better with spreading out the ornaments, and are certainly taller, but L2 didn’t let me down, and this branch wins this year. That’s five ornaments.
There a lot of special ornaments on our tree. Each one a story. These are Plain Jane, but I look forward to the years of looking back. LT is almost 1, L2 was 1 because there wasn’t enough sleep from the time he arrived home until his first Christmas. I have them hang them, and they try to match their hands, but those days are long gone.
Yes, I was marking time. Then they get out their own hand crafted ornaments. They have stories too. L2, “Mom, I made this in the heart room with Miss Caitlin.”
LT, “Mom, this was the snowman on my class tree with Mrs. Buckley.”
Then there is this silly guy, and this even sillier tradition. I googled this because I wanted to be sure I had my facts straight when I said, “The pickle is a German tradition, and the first child to find it would get a prize.” Guess what? It’s. Not. True. It’s an American tradition. Too funny for me. Needless to say this year I didn’t even have a prize because in the past I always hid it for my niece, so L2 hung this bad boy right in front. Alexa, you won’t have any issues this year.
If I had to guess, well, I can’t. I have not idea how many ornaments we have. Shot in the dark? 200, give or take. Like this Santa I bought the year LT was born. Or the Le Bien I have been collecting for half of my life.
I could go on for days, but I have to keep somethings just for me, and let’s face it you would be bored to tears.
And finally, her she is.
I truly hope as you are putting your trip up and decorating it, so many wonderful memories are created and even more come flooding back to you. Merry Christmas!