Memories can be captured several ways. I tend to like the physical way of remembering things – getting a program at a concert (despite the fact they are a gazillion dollars now!); keeping the seat stubs from a Broadway play. One way I love more than any other is the acquiring of Christmas tree ornaments. (BTW – that tree above is not one of mine!!!)
I routinely have 4 Christmas trees on display in my home each year.
Yeah…I know. But when you grow up poor, stuff takes on a new meaning when you have spending money!
Anyway….about those trees. Or more directly, the ornaments.
Since I’ve been married I’ve been acquiring ornaments of memories. I have one tree that is loaded with ornaments purchased from all the places around the world we have visited. I have another tree with all cooking and baking related ornaments because for several years I hosted an annual cookie swap with dozens of friends. As a thank you for them coming to my swap, they not only got cookies, but an ornament cooking/baking related for their own trees. I kept one for me each year.
My husband is not the lover of ornaments that I am…not even close! But there is one ornament that he insists get put up on our tree every year and it is the one he looks for when I’m done decorating. This is it:
Yes, that it a Goodwill box, and yes there is a tree sticking out of it. I want to tell you story behind this favored ornament.
Hubby moved to Wisconsin to start a new job six months before we got married. I stayed behind to plan the wedding and to finish up my Master’s degree. With just one course left, I didn’t want to leave until it was completed. Hubby was due to come back to NYC for our wedding which would take place the day after Christmas ( Boxing Day for you UK-ers). He had a small apartment that I would move into with him until we found our perfect house. As I’ve mentioned, Hubby is not the Christmas decorator in our family so the apartment was bare of all holiday accoutrement.
One day, on his way to work, he spotted a Goodwill box in the parking lot of the building he worked in. Sticking out of it was a fully tinseled Christmas tree, complete with the star at the top. Obviously, someone was going away for the holidays but didn’t want to just toss their tree into the garbage, electing to put it in the Goodwill box in the hopes some needy family would see it and have their own tree.
Hubby is a fast-on-his-feet thinker. He pulled the tree from the box- it still smelled fresh and evergreen-y – and drove it back to the apartment . The stand was attached ( smart donators!) so he filled it with water and went back to work. And that’s the way it stood in the apartment. No other decorations, just the tinsel and the star. He came home to NYC for a few days, we got married, and immediately flew back to Wisconsin because he didn’t have enough earned time for a honeymoon. Needless to say, when I saw the tree I was thrilled. And touched.
And then he told me the story of how he’d acquired the tree.
And I laughed because this is my hubby in a nutshell!
Of course, he had to share what he’d done with his co-workers before he left to get married. When he went back to work on Monday there was a wrapped gift from one of the people in his office. It was the above ornament, handcrafted by the husband of an officemate who is a woodworker. Every year now for the past 30 years that ornament sits in a place of honor on our Christmas tree and Hubby looks for it to make sure it’s there.
I love the thought of ornaments as platforms for memories. If I keep making more memories, though, I’m going to need a bigger house for all the trees!
I’ve got a Christmas book out that I hope makes memories for the people who read it. If you’re interested, here’s the link: A Kiss
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