Memories seem to be a main part of the holiday season. Every year there are bits and pieces that come to mind. Decorating the Christmas tree brings many to the surface. The tree itself brings one of the first things that a couple can argue about in newlywed days. My husband and I had words over the fact that I would never, ever stand an artificial tree. I live in the Maine woods for goodness sake and only have to walk out back on the family property to have a choice of a fragrant evergreen. There was a compromise the first several years. We lived at my grandmother’s house. She was 85, had been ill and family members wanted us to be there with her. Her real tree was downstairs and the tiny artificial tree where our own gifts were stood on a table in our room upstairs. Later when we built our own home we marched out into the woods with two toddlers and cut our own first real tree. When we took it down after Christmas the back had singe marks on it from the lights which put my heart in my throat. We’ve had an artificial tree ever since.
At the top of our tree there stands a small porcelain doll my mother gave me years ago. She is dressed as an angel. The cloth is remnants from the cloth my wedding gown was made from. My gown was made by my mother. Everytime I hold the angel our Christmas time romance comes to mind. We started dating at Christmas time and everything was glittery and special that year so very different from the year before when my Dad had died.
My husband used to lift our little ones up to help him place the angel on the tree. Now they are both over 6 feet tall and the lifting days are done. Time has gone so very fast but we have the blessing of memories of those happy, excited little guys. There is an antique ball on the tree. It is a small glass one and I figure it is about 100 years old. It comes from the farm where my mother started her life. I imagine my grandmother placing it on their family tree. I handle it with loving care along with 3 other ornaments that are nearly as old.
There’s an Avon ornament with two little blue birdies dressed for Christmas in their nest. It’s still perfect for not so newleyweds to have on their tree. Two sweethearts nesting together. Cones from New Hampshire have been on the tree since our honeymoon trip in 1985. I picked them up in the White Mountains. There’s an ornament that was cut off of a cereal box with our little boys photo set into it. Nestled in the branches are each boy’s first pair of baby shoes. There’s a white bell that was a favor at my niece’s wedding hanging from another branch. A football reminds me of my son’s several years playing on a team, loving nearly every minute of it.
Our tree is full of beaded candy canes my boys crafted when they were small. Origami birds, ornaments from my husbands co-workers, my family, our friends fill this colorful tree. There is one ornament that has been missing for some time. It was a glass ball ornament that was a craft project, glued into an ice cream cone. My youngest son who has always been an imp decided it was a real ice cream. I found him hiding in behind the corner of a dresser in his room when he was close to 2 years old. He was munching on the cone, grinning up at me. I still have teeth marks in some of my Christmas candles too.
Our boys were fascinated with the small wooden stable that we kept under the tree for years. It had come from my husband’s parents home. They would lie on their bellies on the floor and talk to baby Jesus. The animals were picked up and moved from the back to the front. One day I heard ‘shooting’ sounds. Their were toy soldiers hanging out with Mary and Joseph at the creche under our tree. I just had to ask you know. And I did. “Why are the soldiers at the manger?” The little face gave me a quick glance then turned back toward the scene, always busy fingers moving the green men next to the manger. “Tecting Jesus”, came the answer.
We will make more memories again this Christmas. Maybe a new ornament or two will show up on the tree. What would Christmas be without the memories? What would it be without a little boy protecting and playing with baby Jesus under the branches? Merry Christmas dear readers. Make some of your own good memories this year.