Decorating the Christmas tree I realized that it tells the story of my adult life. The ornaments hanging from the branches each bring back a memory of the 34 years John and I have been married.
The only ornament from my childhood is an angel purchased during our family’s first trip to Disney World in 1973. This angel started the tradition of decorating the Christmas tree with ornaments inspired by memories of the year.
In 1979, the first Christmas as a newly married couple, we decorated our tree with homemade ornaments on a tree we cut down in the Ocala National Forest because we couldn’t afford expensive decorations. (We were probably just too cheap to spend money on a tree, lights, and dozens of ornaments, but in any case we strung popcorn and made ornaments creating a special memory.)
The Jackson County Courthouse reminds us of our years in Cullowhee at Western Carolina University where John and I met as well as the summers spent in North Carolina camping, hiking, and tubing.
Of course there are shells, beach chairs, and a sea turtle on the tree. It’s hard to think of a year without at least a few days at the beach.
Not only turtles, but whales, alligators, moose and bats adorn the tree since so many summers seem to revolve around animal adventures.
The sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church brings back wonderful memories of over twenty years of Christmas eve services as well as Easter services, LOGOS, confirmation, Wednesday night dinners, and Camp Montgomery.
I’d venture to say we’re the only family with a key chain, a rock, and an alien on their Christmas tree; but what better way to remember Las Vegas than the famous Vegas sign or a trip to Bryce Canyon and Zion than a rock (purchased, not pilfered from the park) and what’s New Mexico without an alien?
My favorites: bear bells from a trip to Yellowstone.
And from Muir Woods National Monument, an ornament that represents the Redwoods we traveled across a continent to see and the final trip we took as a family of five. Funny, this one ornament cost more than we spent on the tree and all the decorations that first Christmas!