The memories we hang on the tree


My Christmas tree is decorated similarly to this, just somewhat less organized

My family’s Christmas tree is a collage of chaos. For one month, hundreds of carefully preserved ornaments are on. Each one has a story behind it. Each one has a meaning and a past. 

A door from 2008 when we first moved into our house, silver bells given as wedding presents twenty-five years ago, a baby, a cupcake, dozens of Santas in various forms, and a multitude of other ornaments. 

Our tree is not curated to perfection. It’s messy and packed too tightly, but it’s beautiful. It has a history. It tells so many stories; some are barely remembered by the people who first bought the ornaments. 

Most of the ornaments hung on the tree in our living room have more history with my family than I do. They were bought years before I was born and will continue to be hung on our Christmas tree long after I move out.   

Decorating the Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving is a tradition involving eggnog, music, and pajamas, not to mention storytelling. 

Our tree is not curated to perfection. It’s messy and packed too tightly, but it’s beautiful. It has a history.

With Bing Crosby singing in the background, my parents give decades worth of history to little glass ornaments that were made ten years before I was born. My parents tell stories of broken glass, gifts from family, and shopping on Dec. 26. 

Christmas traditions that have been passed down through generations of our family are now absorbed by my sister and me. 

The weekend after Thanksgiving is always the same. Although the monotony might be boring to some, I find comfort in our Christmas traditions. It’s consistent year after year. It forms a pattern in my life. The Christmas season doesn’t begin until I have to tread carefully around my living room trying not to step on pine needles. 

For one alarming moment this year, we thought our tree was too small. There was still a whole box of ornaments left to be put up, and three-fourths of the tree was covered. Nobody knew what to do. We finally decided to put the “less important” ornaments off to the side, and not put them up until the end. 

This was nearly impossible. Nearly every one we pulled out of the box was so meaningful to somebody that it just had to be put up on the tree. 

Eventually, we worked everything out so that all the ornaments had their own place on the tree. And now again for one month, every story is told. 

When the tree is fully decorated, it brings a new sense of joy and holiday spirit into our home. The completed Christmas tree is a cacophony of colors, shapes, and sizes. 

To some people, it looks like the miscellaneous drawer in an office. Just a hodge-podge of items with no apparent meaning. But to my family, our tree is full of stories. Our memories are preserved within the ornaments cascading down the tree, and as the new year approaches, I hope to make even more memories to share.