Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Tree and me


The weekend of Thanksgiving has become the much-anticipated time when we put up The Tree. It is so sacred and important in my children's lives that, yes, it deserves to be capitalized. If it were within Hannah's power to declare the day a national holiday, rest assured it would happen.

Over the years our tree has evolved from a poor, starving student tree containing only a few ornaments (most of those handmade) to a rich, ornament laden tree that is full of memories. Each ornament tells a story of Christmases past. They've seen the babies come, and looked down each year, watching as we've grown. Each and every one has silently witnessed us rub sleep out of our eyes on Christmas morning, and heard the squeals of joy after wrapping paper is torn.

I cherish all these ornaments with a slightly uncharacteristic attachment.

There are ornaments that I don't remember acquiring, but love nonetheless. Like these chunky, carved wooden candy canes.


There are ornaments that I DO remember getting, like this treasure brought home by my-then little kindergartner:


This year's favorite addition was a set containing all the main characters from Peter Pan, including the notorious Captain Hook:


And my personal favorite (and doppelganger), The Croc:


(Because I frequently walk around the house, eyes bugged, tongue wagging, and toting an alarm clock. What?)

Some of our ornaments really ought to be thrown out (and have actually won Ugliest Ornament Contests in the past. Celia, doing it again this year?). We have the baby Jesus eraser, eternally slumbering with his ball-point pen face:


And probably the truest ugly on the tree is the Star of David made out of straws. Somehow, I am sure this ornament offends Christians and Jews alike, but I can't bring myself to part with it. It makes me laugh too hard each year when it comes out of the box:


Slightly more tolerable (but just as ugly) is our disturbingly vast collection of wood colored nativities from the preschool days:


Yet somewhere in the middle of all the homespun ugly are ornaments that I love. Ornaments that have adorned our tree since our very first Christmas together. Like this one, brought back from Austria by the Husband's parents:


And this hand-carved rendition of that sacred first night:


And this one, hand-stitched by an awesome sister-in-law:


At the end of the day, I think our tree is a lot like me. Fatally flawed, pretty ugly in some spots, but greater than the sum of its parts. When put together properly, with the right lighting, it looks pretty damn good.


Tristan said...

I love your tree! Ugly or beautiful ornaments the same :) It is always fun to decorate the tree and bring out the ornaments that hold memories. Loved this post!

jen@odbt said...

My favorite kind of tree - full of memories. Good lighting is key though :)

Thelma said...

Great tree. You have wonderful ornaments but I think I'm partial to the ugly ones. I want to get me one of those stars of David. I also got your Christmas card yesterday. Beautiful.

ellen said...

I think it's beautiful! I love all the red. :)

brooke said...

You and your tree are beautiful. I love the Peter Pan ornaments. Where did you get them?

Annemarie said...

I will forever more be comparing myself to a Christmas tree. You are brilliant.

danandcindy said...

I vote for the ornament with Mary wearing leggings.

Julianna said...

Love your tree. My Christmas tree is adorned with pictures. Every year I find my favorite moments and frame them into ornaments for the tree. About 3 years ago, Almost Hubs and I started getting ornaments from every place we traveled. It's a great reminder of where we've been and where we're going. :)

yogurt said...

I love your ornaments. They're all equally beautimous. Reminds me of mine. I love the picture ornaments. Seeing my little babies on the tree is such a heart squeezer.

Emily said...

Yes it does, sister. Yes it does.

Heidi said...

I have those chunky candy canes! I get happy hanging them up too. Isn't it good that Josh has a beautiful Memory Lane with you, rather than the Memory Lame he had before you?

Liz said...

I love your tree, and as is so often with our blogs, I could paste and copy your words right into my corner of the internet and they would ring true. As long as I replaced your pictures with mine.

I write the year that the ornament was acquired in a discreet location. Our ornaments truly are a time capsule of our lives.

Lauren in GA said...

I love the photography here. Your photos even bring out the beauty of the Star of David fashioned out of straws.

I wasn't kidding. I love the photography.

So did someone in the family tell you that The Croc reminds them of you?

Travelin'Oma said...

Love the ritual of watching you put it all together while we sit in comfy chairs and say ooh and ahh.

Lala said...

It's lovely! The Star of DAvid is truely hideous though. So funny.

Woman Interrupted said...

awwaahhh....posts like this one are why your blog is one of MY favorite things. (We will be stealing the baby Jesus idea.)