Every single year taking the tree down occurs in either one of two ways. Sometimes it happens the day right after Christmas….usually because I’ve been so overwhelmed with the holiday hype that I’m sick to death of the whole bloody thing and pitching the tree out the back door just feels right. Some years like this one, the holiday season truly was joyous, mainly because all my family was together, all was well, I didn’t overspend and – Hallelujah- there was a Christmas snow! This year the tree was up until January 1st. Taking it down I felt happy about our Christmas.
After packing up Christmas for so many years it’s become rote. But this year as we were taking down the tree I was thinking hard about how all the ornaments on our tree mean something. Many of them are ones our kids made in school…the gold-sprayed macaroni ornament my daughter made in second grade is the crowning piece to our tree every single year (she is 32 now and her daughters are older than she was when she made it). It’s getting fragile and brittle, so every year it’s wrapped in tissue and packed in its own special box.
We have home-made dough ornaments of all sorts. A few of the favorites are the ones we made for our long-gone Boxer dog Tyson, and one blobby-looking Gingerbread man that my youngest son made and that we laugh about every year. There is a paper ornament with his picture on it he made in grade school, and when we went to dinner at the home of some old friends before Christmas, the identical ornament their son made was hanging on their tree! Both college seniors, the boys have been friends since kindergarten. There are paper and yarn ornaments, clothespin Victorian dolls and clowns I made years ago, ornaments that were gifts when the kids were small, and even ornaments made by my granddaughters. There are so many, but every year that passes they become more fragile, more special, more treasured.
I love it that our tree is a testament to our family history. I love it that we all remember that long-gone Boxer just like he was here yesterday when we pull out that old dough ornament the kids made, and I can remember the very day I took that second-grade picture of my only daughter. We’re all done packing up 2012 more carefully than ever awaiting Christmas 2013. Sigh…. What are your favorite ornament memories as you pack them away?