In my previous post, I alluded to the idea that the Christmas cookie creating was the least favorite of all our Christmas traditions. It’s not that I don’t like Christmas cookies, because lord knows everybody loves cookies. However, even the brightest and most colorful cookies will pale in comparison to my favorite holiday tradition. My all time favorite family tradition is that of our Scrapbook Christmas tree. (Trying a new trick here… go ahead and humor me. Click the link.)
Each year, we decorate our tree mostly in ornaments with a very special meaning. When our family does something special and meaningful, we do our best to buy (or somehow create) special ornaments to help us remember those times. I have ornaments to recall special trips we’ve taken. I have ornaments to recall pets we’ve adopted. I have an ornament to celebrate the purchase of our first home. I have a special “Bronner’s” bulb for each of us. I have the traditional “1st Christmas” ornaments for Jake, Ben and Ryan. There are ornaments we created to remember Ryan and my own first disc golf tournaments. I also have homemade ornaments with pictures of our grandparents, parents, sister (Heather) and nieces and nephews, so that even when we are far away we can keep the people we miss most in our thoughts.
I have been eagerly anticipating this Christmas because I am fairly aware that it’s the first year Ben is old enough to understand, and perhaps the last year it will be ‘magical’ for Jake as well. I have been thinking that the presents this year should be extra special. What I did not expect is that they are also both becoming old enough to share my sentimental ideas…
As we put up our tree this year, Jake and Ben were fascinated with the story behind each and every ornament on the tree. They eagerly got their own ornaments and excitedly placed them on the tree. When Jake came across his Great Grandfather Russel’s ornament, he noticed it was different. I reminded him that Great Grandpa Russel was in heaven, and he nodded at his father in understanding. Again when he found a “grandchild’s first Christmas” ornament, I reminded that his Great Gma Rae had bought that for him, and that she had loved him very much. He said that he had loved her, too, and that he missed her also. When he found the ornament that we bought to celebrate our beloved but passed kitty, Sheila, his eyes teared up.
Ben was excited to put Evan up on the tree. He was also excited to put Grandpa Wayne on the tree. He fought Jake to put up each picture ornament, because he wanted to tell me who they all were. (Even Great Grandma Jean. Was she really a dancing machine?) He was amazed that his father’s 1st Christmas ornament was 31 years old! He enjoyed reaching the more delicate ornaments as high as he could on his tip toes, and putting the little less fragile ornaments low for the kitties to get at them.
Overall, I was really excited to see how the boys were starting to engage in this tradition with me. I was excited that they both danced around the tree, and that we all recalled memories and shared happy thoughts about people we loved and missed. I look forward to adding additional ornaments through the years as they grow. Even when Santa finds my boys too old to visit, I know they will still have some meaningful things to look forward to during the Christmas season.