It’s not unusual for our nights in our home to end in our living room, watching television for a few minutes before we go to bed. I love those nights even more this year when the lights from our Christmas tree fill the room. It just makes everything comforting. I catch myself each night just staring at our tree and the ornaments we have collected since we got married.
I married into a family that loves Christmas ornaments. My sister in law introduced me to the excitement of Hallmark ornaments and there has been no turning back. But beyond Hallmark ornaments, I have collected ornaments from just about everywhere. Our tree represents our family- our trips we’ve taken, our family, our personalities, our milestones and memories. And maybe that’s why I love it so much. Our tree doesn’t have generic red and green balls and gold ribbon, not that there’s anything wrong with that. It has ornaments that each tell a story.
If you were to see our tree this year you’d be able to tell a lot about our family, starting with the top. At the top of our tree, just beneath the star are five hospice bells, representing each of our grandparents that have passed away. I still have to get a bell for my grandfather who passed this Thanksgiving, but I have an angel in his place. Those five bells are there reminding us of our loved ones, and family that are not here to celebrate with us, but are always here in spirit and thought.
You would see crocheted snowflakes, handmade by my grandmother. These are no doubt my favorite part of our tree each year. I could decorate the tree with just these snowflakes and absolutely love it. The fact that she made them make them one hundred times more special.
You would see ornaments from NYC, the Biltmore Estate, Charleston, representing trips we’ve taken, memories made.
You would see a scrub top ornament, and a tiny workbench which both represent our careers and passions, healthcare and homebuilding.
You would see Our First Christmas and Baby’s First Christmas taking note of our major family milestones.
There are choo choo trains, old tractors, and vintage trucks for John and Landon- some from John’s childhood, and some are newer ones for Landon.
You would see lighthouses, because of our love for the coast of North Carolina.
You would see our favorite classic Christmas movies, A Christmas Story, Charlie Brown, Christmas Vacation, and the Grinch.
There are ornaments that represent our favorite childhood things, like John’s old John Deer tractor, and my Little Tikes Cozy Coupe car and a Barbie.
You would of course see ECU represented with football helmets, a pirate Santa, and ornaments from John’s college department Christmas party, one of our first “real” dates. Those ornaments represent where we met, fell in love, and started first our life together over ten years ago.
And you’d see tiny churches, angels, and doves that remind us of the true reason for Christmas, the birth of our Savior.
I sit here looking at our tree, and I am reminded of just how blessed we are. They’re not just ornaments, they’re tiny reminders of each memory and milestone we’ve made together, and everything in between. This Christmas I am so grateful for my life and family, for my job and our home, for memories we’ve made and those yet to come. I’m grateful for each one of those little ornaments that represent something so significant and bigger than just a tree decoration. And I am beyond thankful for the birth of Jesus Christ, that Mary’s little boy came to save the world in the strangest of ways. For love, and faith, and joy.
Merry Christmas Eve, everyone.