Saturday, December 22, 2012

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

Every year since we have been married, Shawn and I have purchased each other an ornament for our Christmas tree.  It is one of the only presents that we open early and has become a tradition that I really look forward to.  As I was hanging our 2012 gift ornaments on the tree earlier this week, I stopped to take a moment and really think about all of the memories represented on that tree in ornament form. I had to laugh when I realized that some of those memories even pre-dated me! 
As I looked at each of the ornaments I noticed there were some that I have such a strong sentimental attachment to that when it is time to decorate the tree I always pause when hanging them to savor those memories and the warm feelings they give. 
There are only 2 ornaments on my tree that I remember from my childhood when my father was still alive.  How they have survived all these years I can’t say but I think I love hanging these 2 on my tree the most.  The first is Holly Hobby, I loved all things Holly Hobby when I was very young (well, that and Paddington Bear). I am not sure who gave me this treasure, so if anyone in my family can remember please tell me so I can thank them.  The second is a turquoise felt stocking that legend has it was made by my cousin Marianne when she was very young. This is the one ornament on our tree that predates me and I am still astounded that the glitter embellishment has remained intact all these years. I always try to make sure this stocking is prominently featured when hung.
For those of you who are from the Cumberland area, I am sure that you fondly remember the Bishop Walsh Christmas Bazaar that was held each year.  When I was a middle school student at BW I bought the cutest mouse-in-a-nutshell ornament.  I have often thought about recreating it and giving them away as gifts but in 25 years I have yet to get around to it!  

When I was in college at the University of Maryland, I happened to get a mini Mr. Potato Head in a kid’s meal that had a nose that lit up.  Every year since 1998, Shawn has insisted that the Mr. Potato Head be hung our tree, despite my relentless protests.  In fact, each year when I put the tree up one of the first things he asks me is “where’s the Mr. Potato Head”?  Considering that against all odds the nose still lights up I feel compelled to include it as part of our Christmas tree.
One of my most favorite collectibles are mercury glass ornaments by Christopher Radko.  Over the years I have amassed quite a collection but my 2 most favorite are a snowman from my Aunt Amy and a “Just Married” car from my Aunt Roberta and Uncle Jim. We received both of these as presents the first year we were married so they have landed a special place in my heart because the people who gave them to us have a special place in my heart!
Finally, this year I wanted to remind Shawn that we still have a lot of traveling to do and we should take advantage of the freedom we can enjoy by not having children.  Therefore I purchased for him an ornament of stacked suit cases, with stickers of all the places on our "to-see" list.  Hopefully he'll take the cue and this year I will finally fulfill my dream of seeing London!
I have always been most excited about opening the gifts in my stocking, ever since I was a little girl.  Even now my stocking is my first stop on Christmas morning.  Perhaps it is because I have had the same stocking since my very first Christmas.  It always makes me happy when I look through old Christmas photos and I see my stocking hanging from the stair railing year after year.  Now that I am married and have my own house, I still look forward to hanging up my old stocking and smiling knowing that my mom and dad both picked it out for me. 
Thank you for taking this nostalgic stroll down memory lane with me! I hope it has inspired you to take some time out of your hectic holiday schedules to celebrate the traditions of your families and share those memories with your loved ones, perhaps over a warm mug of hot chocolate with the score of your favorite holiday music in the background. Happy Christmas everyone. 

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