A Tree Tells a Story

We each may have our holiday traditions this time of year and our family is no exception. Growing up, it was so exciting to get out the Christmas decorations and transform our home into a festive site with colors of reds and greens prominently displayed. Santa Clause, reindeer, candy canes, mistletoe, Christmas wreaths and candles which smelled of fresh cut pine. Christmas music was in the air as I delightfully danced and sang to Andy Williams’ Christmas Album playing on our old 38 record player. It was “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, indeed.

While the old 38 record player is gone and CD’s, iTunes and mp3’s have taken its place, I still delightfully dance and sing to Andy Williams’ Christmas Album each year. It will forever be my favorite Christmas music and each time I listen to it, I am again transported to a special place in time – picturing myself as a little girl and feeling the excitement of Christmas.

Another special tradition each year was putting up the Christmas tree. Our trees have changed throughout the years, as well. Early on we had live trees and soon realized what a pain the mess was to clean up! For most of the years, we had an artificial tree which seemed to expand in size each time we bought a new one. My dad worked tirelessly to untangle the lights and shape the tree to perfection. Each year he would say, “I’m not doing this again next year!” And of course, next year rolled around and he engaged in the process all over again.

No longer do we have the sparkly garland surrounding the tree and the different color lights have been replaced by white lights to fit the “traditional” look these days. What never went away since I was a baby girl, however, were the ornaments that filled the tree.

Our Christmas Tree told a story. Each ornament brought back a special memory, whether it was a place my mom and I visited, a childhood friend, my time in Brownie’s and Girl Scouts, church friends in Paducah, hobbies our family has had throughout the years, and special, special remembrances of my Grandmother and Granddad who have since passed. We have collected these ornaments, these stories, each year – some of them nearly 50 years old. They are true and simple treasures.

It is the simplicity of them all that touch my heart. A simple gift of love – an ornament – that can flood you with enduring memories.

We will not have that particular tree up this year as my family is coming to our place for Christmas. While I will miss that tree and the stories those ornaments tell, we will have a smaller tree with ornaments we have collected the past eight years. They also have their own stories and we are continuing the tradition.

Sometimes we can get so caught up in the commercialism and stressful moments of the Season that we forget to take time and appreciate the simple gifts around us. What simple tradition do you treasure? Let it fill your heart with gratitude and joy and experience the wonder of Christmas.

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