Christmas Ornaments: A Trip Down Memory Lane
Decorating for Christmas
It was just before Thanksgiving and here I was thinking about putting up Christmas decorations. So I enlisted the help of my daughter to get the tree down from the top of her closet. It is one of those pre-lit artificial Christmas trees that we have had now for close to 8 years. It is really is easy to put together. You just stick the pieces together. Some of the lights are beginning to burn out, but unless they are pointed out, you really cannot tell.
I decided to start decorating early for Christmas. I haven’t really been in the Christmas spirit because I am recovering for surgery and need a little extra time and effort to get things done. Fatigue is very difficult to deal with, but we managed to get the tree together.
The next step was to retrieve the ornaments from their location, in the storage shed. They had been carefully packaged and each one placed into a large plastic container for protection. You see, each of these ornaments have special significance for my family.
We used to do the color coordinating of ornaments the first couple of years, but after a while our handmade and precious ornaments took precedence and began to fill the tree. After a while there was no room for any more ornaments, other than those special to us.
The handmade ornaments, and carefully chosen ornaments on our tree, and every other item hung on that tree has a story, some special memory or meaning for us. I am not able to put some of the handmade stuff on the tree, as they are in need of preservation. These include some paper ornaments made by my now 22 year old son, when he was just a toddler. I don’t want to risk losing those so I will preserve them by laminating them first. At first I was hesitant about doing so because I wanted them in their original state, but I know they will be lost if not laminated.
Here are some of our favorite ornaments on our Christmas tree in our home. It is amazing how you can learn so much about someone just from the stories behind th
Do you put up a Christmas Tree?
History of the Christmas Tree
Long before the advent of Christianity, plants and trees that remained green all year had a special meaning for people in the winter. Just as people today decorate their homes during the festive season with pine, spruce, and fir trees, ancient peoples hung evergreen boughs over their doors and windows because in many countries it was believed that evergreens would keep away witches, ghosts, evil spirits, and illness.
Originally called Paradise trees, they were supposed to represent the Garden of Eden.
Check out this short video for an interesting history of the Christmas tree.
While modern day trees have advanced, the thing that has stayed the same is the symbolism that the ornaments play. While most trees don’t have pastries and real flowers as ornaments, they do have expressions of love and celebration.
A walk down memory lane
Decorating the Christmas tree is like taking a walk down memory lane for us.
Our Christmas tree is like an annual monument to the time we’ve spent together, with each decoration marking a significant life event.
All the ornaments on the tree have a story to tell.
- Family stories
- our life experiences
- the places we go
- places we traveled to
- stories about grandparents
- Santa's arrival
- family heritage
- memories of loved ones who have passed on
- Junkanoo memories
- A child's nutcracker obsession
- family vacations
- the birth of a child
- our first home
- favorite movie or show
- a certain family member’s obsession with Elvis Presley
- ornaments made by my kids when they were still toddlers
- gifts given by my former students to remember my hometown
- an ornament to remember the church that I went to in Grand Cayman
- ornaments to represent my youngest child’s Chinese heritage, memories of my trumpet playing days, fascination with the faberge egg history
- my oldest son’s love of nutcrackers
- angels wings that tell of a very personal experience with them
- lupus butterfly to represent my journey with lupus and chronic illness
They tell the stories of our lives. Each baby, marriage, vacation, and milestone is represented. Our lives are messy jumbles of events and joys and our trees have evolved into reflections of that.
...and so on
As I hang each ornament, I think about each of them and we have them as part of the collection. This Christmas tree with dark green needled branches hold dearly those precious memories that we hang from them, and that we so desperately try to hold onto. Childhood memories, dreams and mysteries. A glimpse of a past we cannot visit, except in our minds and by looking at that small item on the tree. For that small moment we are taken back to a time where we were once a child, or to another age of our own children.
A symbol of resilience and perseverance
I am not sure why I love the dragonfly so much, but I have several of them on the tree.
Maybe it's because the dragonfly teaches me several lessons on a daily basis:
to focus on living ‘IN’ the moment
to keep my eyes open
You can read more about the dragonfly here.
My Christmas Wish
Much of the time spent with family this Christmas will have that Christmas tree in the midst. May we never forget just how fleeting that time really is.....and may those moments live very deeply in our hearts and minds, long after the Christmas tree has been taken down and replaced bu the empty space or ordinary items that once occupied that space.
May every corner of the home forever hole the magic of that Christmas tree.
What's your favorite part about Christmas?
Just a few more....
Merry Christmas, everyone!
© 2016 Gina Welds Hulse