Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Most Precious Tree of All

Oh, Christmas Tree... Oh, Christmas Tree...  I have a thing for traditions.  They are so important to me.  And the Tree during the holiday season is probably one of the most important for me.  It's a symbol of one of the reasons the holidays are so, so important to me-- family!  For as long as I can remember my family had two important holiday traditions.  #1.  We picked our own real tree.  #2.  Each year we got a new ornament.  I can remember Dad filling a five-gallon bucket and filled it with stones from the drive way to hold up the tree.  Some years they were beautifully round and full, and some years they were a little patchy, but it was our tree.  Ours to care for and decorate.  Mom always made sure we had a new ornament each year to hang on the tree.  When I went through my "Victorian" phase in the early 90s I got tea cup oranaments and fancy shoe ornaments.  When I became a teacher I got an Angel Tree teacher ornament.  The year I brought home my new husband there was an ornament with our picture in it.  Sigh.  It makes me so happy thinking about it. 
Now that I have my own little family I've passed that tradition on as well.  Tomorrow afternoon my entire family (Mom, Dad, my two sisters, two brothers-in-law, two neices, a new baby nephew, my husband, and own precious babies) will head over to Adams County.  Pick out three perfect trees and load them on to the back of my Dad's pick-up and he will deliver them to each house.  Then Ysmaille and I will put lights on the tree and Amirah and I will hang the ornaments.  This year I've decided to only use metallic ornaments.  What? you ask.  What about all your precious ornaments that you've collected over the years?  Those ornaments, those precious pieces of memory-keeping plastic and metal and clay have a place of honor all their own.  Those ornaments go on the ornament tree.  When Ysmaille and I first moved to the States from Haiti we were so very poor.  We really struggled those first several years and couldn't afford and didn't have room for a real tree.  We bought what some might refer to as a "Charlie Brown" tree.  That tree is now home to all my "real-life" ornaments.  And now my two children have their own ornaments-- some handmade, some bought by me, some bought by others who love them as well.  It is full to overflowing and a little crazy.  Last year it got knocked down more than once.  It is a beatiful representation to me of past, present, and future.  Full of memories and hope for the years to come. 
Here's the ornament tree.  Excuse the unsightly wires in the background.  Those will soon be covered.  My decorating is currently in the beginning stages where everything looks a little crazy.
This holiday season may you can continue old traditions and make new ones with the ones you love the most. 

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