The Christmas tree dilemma I have all the time stems from a tradition I grew up with and love. You know the amazing Christmas trees out there - the ones that used to only be the fancy department stores or at the town ice skating rink? The perfectly lit up ones with matching decorations that fit a theme. I LOVE looking at them. I love seeing them at our local Festival of Trees and what creativity people have used. However, over the years, those trees have become more the norm around me and I see less and less homemade ornaments, popcorn strands and classic trees. So my dilemma lies in loving the idea of a beautiful dressed tree and wanting to celebrate the simplicity of Christmas and my children. Last year, I finally gave in. I had all the fixings for a GORGEOUS tree and we kept all of our homemade decorations in their boxes and proceeded to decorate the fanciest tree we'd ever had. When it was all done, something was missing. And we all knew it. It wasn't our tree. It didn't hold our ornaments that we had collected over the years and the love that those ornaments represented. SO.. we actually pulled everything down and re-decorated our traditional tree and it was magical.
In this post I'll share another tradition I grew up with -- I know Christmas has evolved into glorious trees and fancy decorations. But my parents had a tree that was a little different than the rest down the street. Our tree had every branch heavily weighed down with ornaments of all sorts, sizes, and styles. What made this tree so special was that every ornament had a story behind it. Below is their tree. But growing up, this had 200 more ornaments!
Each year, the children got one new ornament. An ornament that represented a passion, talent or activity they had been a part of that year. It may have been from a family vacation. One year I got a piano for my passion of music and another year, I got a constitution because we were studying U.S history in school.
Here is perhaps the oldest ornament on the tree, one my mom received from my grandma growing up.
And this reflects my dad's love for The Wizard of Oz since he remembers this classic film coming out.
I adore this ornament because my aunt who passed away hand made them for our family when I was younger. What a treasure!
We each had a notecard that we kept a list of the ornaments, what year we got them and what they represented. Each child kept their ornaments in their own tote to pull out and decorate each December.
When we got married, we each took our collection of ornaments with us to start our own tree with. My kids LOVE looking at my ornaments and asking the stories behind them. And I love glancing over at our tree and seeing the handmade ornaments and stories we have made of our own.
Now perhaps you can't part with your beautiful decorated trees, and I can see why not. They are so visibly appealing. If that's the case, I suggest possibly having a second tree. It can even be a smaller kid's tree that the kid's keep in their own room. The kids can have ownership to their tree and their season by placing their ornaments up and enjoying their childhood joys as well. And if you don't want the undertaking of an ornament a year, undoubtedly you will collect ornaments over the years that children make at school or receive as gifts.
I promise, it will mean the world to your kids!