|Four of the original six ornaments we got as wedding gifts|
When Steve and I got ready to decorate our first little Christmas tree in our first little apartment thirty years ago, we had six sweet ornaments we had gotten as wedding gifts, as well as a few stray ornaments Steve had snagged from his parents' collection. Our tree was pretty sparse for the first few years of our marriage. But a year or two after our second son was born, I started a tradition of buying each of the kids a Christmas ornament each year. The idea was that when they eventually left home, they would have more than six ornaments to decorate their first tree. In the meantime, their ornaments filled in the spaces on our family Christmas tree. As their collections grew, so did the size of our tree. Steve and I accumulated more ornaments of our own over the years, too, but but most of the decorations on our tree are from the kids' collections. Every year, they each put up their own ornaments first, fighting over prime tree space. A few years ago as our kids were getting older and closer to having their own trees, I discovered a flaw in my plan: I had grown attached to the ornaments I bought for the kids--each one reminds me of the child I bought it for and the year I found it. And I've gotten quite used to having them on our tree year after year. Last night on the way home from Thanksgiving in Pennsylvania, we were making plans to chop down our Christmas tree this weekend, since the three kids won't all be home again until the weekend before Christmas. My oldest child, Ben, has an apartment with room for a tree this year, so as we were talking about decorating our family tree, Ben casually mentioned that he would be needing to take his box of ornaments to his own house this year. I know he's right. I know it's time. I know that was the plan all along. But it's going to be very strange not to see his ornaments nestled in among the others on our tree this year. And how long will it be before all the kids' ornaments have disappeared from our tree? At least we still have Rocking Horse, Christmas Broom, Thimblehead, and Sleeping Mouse!
|Some of my favorites from Ben's collection|