Branches contain bits of history
It’s a holiday ritual that takes place at homes across the country each year. It’s the decorating of the Christmas tree and it’s one of my favorite times of the year.
It’s not the tree itself, though there is something magical about all those twinkling lights.
For me, the magic comes in the ornaments themselves. Opening the box of ornaments is just like cracking open a time capsule and, no matter how many times you do it, it’s still wonderful.
Our box contains a mishmash of ornaments, some dating back almost 40 years. Some of my most treasured ones are small plastic bells covered in glitter. They were made by my grandfather when he was in the hospital. It was his last Christmas and, to fill time while ill, he made us all Christmas ornaments. He died when I was 7 and I inherited the ornaments when I was an adult. Each year they are lovingly wrapped in tissue and, by tradition, are the first ones placed on the tree.
Some other old ornaments follow. There are ones my brother and I made as children and some I received from elementary school friends. They aren’t in the best shape – that’s been a while, after all – but they are treasured just the same.
Other handmade ornaments dot the tree, too. There’s the purple megaphone we made at a cheerleading party in 1980. There’s the paper bell Derek made for his dad when he wasn’t much older than 4. There’s even the old plastic potato chip lid covered in pieces of colored paper that was proudly shown to my mother when I completed it in second grade.
The tradition goes on, too. Now, our tree contains those precious ornaments that Sutton is making at school. There’s a wreath made of puzzle pieces painted green that she completed last year. There’s one her teacher helped her make that has her photo in the middle of a painted round ornament. And, this year, we added a new ornament on which Sutton recorded her voice.
“I want everything, Santa,” she says.
I’ve listened to the recording a hundred times. The ornament is just the latest treasure on a tree that’s filled with them.
I hope there’s plenty more treasures yet to come. And, maybe one day, Sutton can hang some plastic bells on her tree and tell her children about them, too.