Monday, December 19, 2011

The Family Tree

My parents started a Christmas tradition before any of their daughters were born and now my sisters and I have continued this traditions with our own families. 

Wherever the year would take us, whether to our yearly summer vacation to Vail or my dad's worldly adventures to Hungry or China, we would make sure to find something special to hang on the tree to help us remember that time.  But the thing I love most about our tradition is that it doesn't have to be your typical Christmas tree ornament, although we do have plenty of those.  We love finding the most bizarre representations from our trips, gluing a ribbon to the top, and hanging it on our tree. 

Each ornament that comes out of the bag has meaning and so many memories attached to it. And we love looking at our odd collection of ornaments, laughing and saying, "You won't find that on any one else's tree!" 
Today I stayed and helped my family put up our tree. We untangled the strings and ribbons and began filling the empty branches with our old memories.  
When we were little, my parents made decorating the tree into such a special evening. I remember helping my mom pour eggnog into the vintage santa mugs. My dad would turn on the stereo and we would listen to our favorite Christmas songs as we began the process of decorating the tree...something we had been waiting anxiously all year to do again.
When we were finished, we would turn off all the lights and the let the tiny colored bulbs fill the room with that warm Christmasy glow. We would sit around the tree while my parents read Christmas stories and on most nights we couldn't wait to play our favorite family games, Parcheesi and Uno. 
Even today I can close my eyes and I can remember exactly the way the house smelled just like Christmas. How the lights on the tree and in the windows made me feel safe and comforted. And how excited we were to be together as a family. 

This Christmas we have a new family member to share all of our traditions with. I know my nephew is still too small to join in on the fun, but I think he'll enjoy laying under the tree looking up at the lights while his family around him laughs, reminisces, and pulls out the old board games. 

Only two more days of school and then I am on my way home to fully enjoy this special time of year.


  1. Our tree looks great each year including the twist of tobacco, a teeny Tijuana Santa, and a little Sweet Saw Grass basket.

  2. like the new header...hope santa brings you something special

  3. We can't wait to be there!! ~Elizabeth

  4. This was so nice to read about your traditions! I really like how you choose items from your travels and put them on the tree. It is such a wonderful time of year to remember all of those places and be thankful for the opportunities you had to travel to them! Of the photos you showed, I don't think I have a favorite ornament--each is so distinct, so memorable, so representative of that particular country. I can't imagine how beautifully eclectic your tree looks.