Christmas memories are some of the best memories. The first weekend of each December signaled tree-cutting time. Off we would go to the area christmas tree farm to find the perfect Fraser or sometimes not-so-perfect tree that just seemed to be pleading, “Choose me.”
When the children were young, a couple of families would gather for the event, keeping warm with hot apple cider, singing carols, and parents running to look at each tree pointed out by one of the children as the “best one.”
Once the tree was home, Mike, my husband, was in charge of trimming lower branches and placing the tree in a stand. Then it was my turn, sometimes taking two days to decorate. The lights were the problem. You put the lights away at the end of the season all in working order, you test the lights for the new season, and yet at least one string won’t work. I’m sure there is a naughty elf who visits the Christmas light box during the winter.
Is there a no-fail way of stringing lights on a tree? Let me share a couple:
Put tree in middle of room, start at the top and go round and round, moving your ladder as you go.
String lights in an up and down fashion which means up the ladder, down the ladder, move the ladder.
Or, forget the lights—use a flood light.
I love ornaments and what a story they tell. The first ten ornaments hung on the tree were purchased for our first tree, almost a testament to Mike’s and my fifty-nine years of marriage. I miss the milestone ornaments of our six children, which I returned to them after they had families of their own. In their place hang ornaments from grandchildren. I found the perfect branch for ornaments given by friends and family: a crocheted angel from a parent of one of the developmentally handicapped children I worked with, a homemade bird nest with a cardinal perched on the side from a best friend, ornaments from my annual sisters’ weekends. There are ornaments that speak of hobbies and profession: a nurse and fireman, a hunter, a woodworker, a skier, a clown, and hippos. A 25th wedding anniversary silver-plated bell was high-lighted by the glow of lights. Some ornaments were a reminder of friends and family who have passed; a moment of prayer was taken.
Ornaments purchased during travels gave me a chance to relive trips to Poland, Mexico, Africa, Ireland, Australia, Austria, Germany, Russia, Greece, Turkey, Patmos, Alaska, Hawaii, Colorado, Utah, and New York. An ornament from China brings back memories of a friend who visited there and thought of me, as well as an ornament from Thailand given to me by my grandson, Tyler, when he went to stay with a friend who had been an exchange student at his high school.
Every year as the tree was decorated, I was given the gift of reminiscing, travel, family, and love.
I dedicate this to my daughter, Michelle, who died of a massive stroke on November 28, 2017. She loved Christmas. A crystal ornament hangs in her memory. Another daughter, Mary, was killed in a motor vehicle accident February 3rd, 2018. I treasure ornaments she gave me over the years. Tyler, our grandson, died June 10th, 2017. No one loved Christmas like Tyler did. Love to these angels watching over us.
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