Our family has this great Christmas tradition that we still practice even though we are all adults now.
Growing up, our parents would give us a new ornament each Christmas. This was partly so that when we grew up and moved out, we would have ornaments for our own trees. But it was also to celebrate or remember an event from the previous year. Sometimes they were a surprise, and sometimes we helped pick them out.
Like the year that my first cat, Muffin, died. We were out shopping and saw a little gray cat ornament with angel wings on it. We bought that one on the spot.
Then there is the raccoon ornament with a little string of lights around him. He’s a reminder of all of the raccoon troubles and escapades I had when working at summer camp.
As a 3-year-old, I loved Sesame Street. So that year I got an Oscar the Grouch ornament with his little can decorated with lights.
The year we lost my dad, I received a form from the organ donation foundation in the mail that we could fill out to get an ornament in remembrance of him. So we have that on our tree each year, too.
A beautiful snowflake represents a particularly snowy winter we had… and got snowed in.
When I lost my sweet grandma-like-figure, Marilynn, I found beautiful glass hummingbird ornaments as a remembrance of her.
And of course, my mom kept all the handmade ornaments we made throughout the years from school.
I wish I had pictures to show you of these special ornaments, but since they are currently at my mom’s house I cannot get pictures of them. But this is our tree last year mid-decorating… with the faithful ‘supervisor’ keeping an eye on things.
And as you can imagine, it takes us forever to actually decorate the tree. As we place each ornament carefully on the tree, we tell the story that accompanies it. It is usually a most-of-the-day process. We also keep track of each ornament by writing down who gave it, what year, and any other significant bit of information about that ornament.
It is one of my favorite traditions that we do in our house. I think it is a great way to remember the significant stories of your family as you grow and change.