Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Few of My Favorite Things, Part Three: Christmas Tree Ornaments

The Christmas trees of my childhood were nice but unspectacular. My father would go cut a tree from the woods on his home place. We would decorate it with colored lights and with what we called “icicles” but what most folks would call tinsel.

My mother and I would engage in annual conflict over the icicles. She wanted them placed individually and rather daintily on the branches; I preferred to grab handfuls of them and lob them grenade-style onto the tree. Her way was better.

The ornaments on our tree for the most part held no special meaning. We would use boxes of round ornaments that were either red or gold. They were very round, very plain, and would have been very boring had they not been on the Christmas tree under which were all the presents.

I remember only two ornaments that were special in a personal way. One was the little green stocking that I mentioned in yesterday’s post; I still have it. The other was a snowman that I had made in elementary school out of flour and water and other ingredients. It lasted a few years but finally cracked up.

Things are much different in the home that Debra and I have established. We have no generic or boring ornaments hanging on our tree. We did in the beginning, but over the years we have built up a vast collection of ornaments, all of which mean something to us. To take them out of their boxes and place them on the tree each year is to relive the wonderful life together with which God has blessed Debra, Joshua, Sara, and me.

Some mark momentous occasions. Among those are the ornaments from our “First Christmas Together” in 1978 (celebrated in Macon, GA), Joshua’s first Christmas in 1984 (celebrated in Louisville, KY), and Sara’s first Christmas in 1987 (celebrated in Adel, GA).

Some recall the plays in which Joshua and Sara appeared. We have a pig ornament because Sara was in Charlotte’s Web, a hot rod because Joshua was in Grease, and Lucy and Charlie Brown ornaments because both of them had lead roles in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

Some cause us to think about activities and interests that have been important to us. So, there is a “karate kid” because Joshua studied karate, a ballerina because Sara took dance, a Phi Mu ornament because that is Sara’s sorority, an I Love Lucy ornament because Sara loves that old TV show, and a Yellow Submarine lunchbox ornament (complete with a thermos) because I like the Beatles.

Some bring to mind institutions that have been important in our lives, including Mercer University, LaGrange College, and Augusta State University.

Some commemorate trips that we have made over the years: a Liberty Bell ornament from Philadelphia, a needlepoint egg from Cabo san Lucas, and Buckingham Palace Guards from London.

There are many others but you get the idea. Our Christmas tree ornaments tell the story of our life together. That’s why they are among my favorite things.

No comments: