The little elves and I decked the halls last week. Have you ever seen that hilariously accurate meme? The one that goes something like, “Cleaning your house with children around is a bit like brushing your teeth and eating oreos at the same time.” (So. True. Right?) It was kinda like that.
Storage tubs surrounded us. There was all the excitement, grabbing of all the things, asking of all the questions… all the chaos. It took a while, but we moved things around (i.e. cleaned embarrassing dust bunnies) and got everything looking super festive. Then… the tree. We are of the mindset that there can never be enough ornaments. The more (literally), the merrier. In fact, ornaments are quite a tradition in our house. I have received or bought an ornament every single year for Christmas, since like forever, and the tradition has been passed on to our girls.
However, what I never anticipate is the emotional trip down memory lane as we pull each of them out. Each one has a story about where I was in my life at the time. A special interest, a milestone, a memory. Some are just… well, ridiculous, because they are flashy or gaudy and therefore all the more treasured.
- The ones from the 80s – they represent my childhood. The ball from the year I was born (How old does something have to be before it’s “vintage”?) That sweet sled ornament from elementary school in 1986. Another sweet sled in 1991.
- The teen years – Things I love, like Gone With The Wind, the red ladder that marks my apprentice days (This one reminds me of the hours spent in my Daddy’s garage. Put me around power tools and I can hold my own). Some of the “treasured ridiculousness” that my MooMaw got me because they made her laugh (if it was super shiny or had glitter, she HAD to get it for me – that fish and the wiry snow-girl… gaudy fabulousness 💕).
- Our first ornaments as a couple and the ones that mark the first years of our marriage – like the homemade ornament from our wedding and my favorite car with cans (How has it been 14 years?). The train gifted from a long-time friend (that also reminds me of my grandaddy who was a locomotive engineer). Coffee cups that mark the beginning of our addiction (He didn’t even drink coffee before our honeymoon. He took me to Starbucks every single day that week). The boat reminds me of our amazing trip to beautiful Kennebunkport, Maine.
- Some of our firsts – like our first fur baby (our Westie, Raleigh). My S’mores ornmanent with the “Baby” tee that reminds me of what true anticipation feels like. The new home and mailbox ornaments (They remind me we were crazy, finding and buying our first home when I was eight months pregnant. We had some work to do on the house and didn’t get to move in until after I had her. Two weeks post-partum, I cried and cried and cried, surrounded by stacks of boxes. Bless my husband’s heart. Bless the hearts of our friends and family! We were moved in just under 8 hours.)
- Then… our girls’ ornaments with all the retelling of, “And you got this ornament when you were born, on your first Christmas, these boots (because you had to match Mommy all the days). And this one when you were in ballet. And this one because youloooooved cupcakes!”. The family of four ornament (let’s not even talk about how devastating it is to my little Bug every year she processes that she was not a part of the first 5 years of family ornaments. Ugh….birth order!)
Needles to say, I was a teary pile of mush and memories when I was done (grateful to be finished unwrapping the breakable ones). Last year, I dropped two of the extra gaudy treasured ones, and almost had a come-apart in the living room! (My poor beak-less rooster is still hanging proudly!)
So many of my memories are tied up in these little (sometimes breakable) things. Most fit right in the palm of my hand. They take me back to a place that reminds me of precious things – and that just like some of these ornaments, life can be fragile. This season… these ornaments… are filled with heart magic and I’ll always be a sucker for it. Because, just for a time, it reminds me to be just a little more intentional about treasuring all the memories I’m making right this moment.
Is there a special ornament that you treasure above all the rest? Who gave it to you and why does it hold a little piece of your heart?