While I’ve continued to collect an ornament each year, my hubby and I haven’t actually put up a tree in about 10 years. We were afraid of our kitties’ “interaction” with the tree, and we were always out of town, so we rationalized it wasn’t worth the time, effort, and stress.
This year, we’re staying home for the holidays. We’re so excited to spend this time as a family of four…and to finally be putting up a tree! (I did invest in a new artificial tree. There have been a lot of technological advancements in the last 10 years…I had no idea pre-lit trees actually come with a remote control!)
After 10 years, it was like Christmas morning – no pun intended – opening my ornament collection. Amid the ornaments I made in grade school and those I’ve amassed from my various travels, the pride of my collection are 22 sterling silver bells.
Each year my grandparents gave me a jingle bell for Christmas, always engraved “Love Nan and Pop”. I remember not really appreciating them until I was a little older, maybe even having rolled my eyes as an eight-year old that would have rather had a new Barbie doll. But now, I wouldn’t take anything for them.
Of course I don’t remember getting the first bell, and although the engraved message is the same, I have no idea why it is different from the rest. It’s a dome-shaped bell with a music box in it. It plays the most beautiful, delicate, “tinkle-y” version of “Jingle Bells”…the sound of the holidays to this mama's ears.
When I take it out of its original box, I can almost smell Christmas Eve at my Nan’s house. And while 10 years ago I changed the ribbons on all the other bells to a classic maroon satin ribbon, I couldn’t bring myself to cut the original fuzzy knit ribbon from that first bell, my favorite. I’m sure it was the same ribbon with which many a pigtail was tied when I was a little girl.
When my hubby and I got married, we started our own tradition of engraved ornaments. And like the bells from my childhood, the first year of our marriage is marked by a special ornament, an ornate tiered wedding cake engraved with our anniversary date.
And of course when the girls were born, we started collections for them. Their first year ornaments are baby shoes, engraved with their full names and birth statistics.
I know part of most families’ ornament traditions is that, when the children grow up to start families of their own, they’ll leave with a great start to decorating their trees. Even beginning to think that far ahead makes me start to hyperventilate…so for a long time to come we’ll enjoy adding ornaments for each of the girls to our tree every year.
I love ornaments that tell a story, and I’d love to hear yours! I’ll leave this link open through Friday, December 17th. I can’t wait to read the tales of your Christmas tree.
Thanks to Andrea of The Mays Twins blog for giving me the idea for this post. Her boy/girl twins are about a year older than A and B. Not only do she and I have some of the same germophobic / gotta-get-the-perfect-picture tendencies, but I love getting a glimpse into the future, seeing what she and her kiddos are up to.