More specifically, I love the excitement of opening and looking through the fresh-from-storage boxes. Though the contents remain relatively unchanged year after year, there's something magical about seeing what's inside & revealing the treasures that are only in sight approximately 1/12th of the year.
It's a tradition that is (as I suppose most traditions are) comforting in its constancy. Year after year, the process is the same & the reflection similar as I reminisce on our collection of ornaments.
Themed Christmas trees are beautiful, and they have their place. I enjoy seeing them at Silver Dollar City, at the mall, or in a designer magazine. In our home, though, I far prefer what is essentially the 'story of our life' displayed through each ornament...a visible reminder of the many milestones and memories we have to reflect on and enjoy.
"Our First Christmas-2009"
"Our New Home"
the souvenirs from our honeymoon in St. Lucia and our vacation to Mexico
the Mizzou Tiger from my years in Columbia
the annual glass-blown balls from Bobby's office
...and the one we'll be adding this year, celebrating Emerson's birth.
As much as I value the constancy of our tree and the tradition of decorating for the season, I'm excited for the changes in years ahead, too. For the ornaments we'll add signifying milestones in our family, and for the handmade decor that Emerson will contribute. For the years when the ornaments will be a few feet higher to remain out of reach, and for the years when they will all be gathered at the bottom of the tree, because that's as high as little hands could reach to place them.
Regardless, I know the tree will tell our family's story.
Bobby usually places the ornaments on the tree itself. (I find it too stressful. Leave it to me to find an element of Christmas decorating to be stressful.) I'm happy to assist with this task, aiding by putting the hangers on the ornaments beforehand, and then handing each one off to him.
I was, admittedly, less helpful this year than usual. (To his credit, Bobby did an excellent job without me.) Emerson doesn't yet quite appreciate the sentimentality of the occasion, and wasn't content to sit still while I reminisced over each memento. Thus, she and I danced around the living room to what I consider the soundtrack of my childhood Christmases. Though I'm certain my family listened to many tapes and CD's as I grew up, there is one album that I associate with preparing for the holiday. And so, it plays in our home each year as we decorate the tree.
Emerson grew restless as we decorated and danced, and after a while, she and I sat down in the living room rocking chair. Having been displaced by the tree, the chair was in a new corner, but allowed for a perfect view of the tree-decorating in progress. While Emerson nursed, I watched Bobby as he mindfully placed each ornament, according to significance, in a special spot on the tree.
As he did that, my mind wandered to next Christmas, picturing sweet Emerson helping (or, "helping") her daddy decorate the tree. Or, the Christmases after that, when perhaps Emerson will dance around the living room as little brothers or sisters watch the scene with wonder....
I blinked away tears as I imagined the future with great anticipation.
And then, as the Christmas music playlist ended, the next songs in our iTunes library began...instrumental, lullaby hymns. Bobby continued his work to the gentle melody of "Holy, Holy, Holy"...peaceful and worshipful music that so appropriately suited the occasion and this season of life with our little girl. Perfect for Emerson as she drifted to sleep in my arms...& a perfect illustration for Mommy of just how unique and precious this Christmas is.