For those of you who have joined the journey this past year, you know that all of my trees have started with a piece of inspiration. Some times the initial inspiration revealed surprising additional pieces like the charm bracelet from my Nana that I hung on the St. Patrick's Day tree. Each tree along the way triggered memories I hadn't anticipated would come and I think of all the things this experience has provided me, the ability to spend time with long forgotten, but happy memories was the absolute best part.
In deciding what the final tree should be...I was at a loss for ideas or motivation. For many years, the trees have been about the decor of the room. Long gone were the kid's handmade ornaments replaced by anything from beaded Victorian fruit to pheasant feathers and polished seed pods. No two trees were ever the same and every year was an opportunity for something grandeur and totally unexpected.
I have certainly taken a lot of ribbing from my children who at times questioned, "Mom, can we have a REAL Christmas tree this year?" This being the FINAL tree of this blog I decided to surprise my children (who are now nearly all adults) with a REAL Christmas tree. What I did not expect was all the SURPRISES I would gift myself.
With my new motivation in focus, I immediately knew where the inspiration would come from. Years ago my husband's aunt knitted each of the children their own personal Santa stocking. When the first one arrived in the mail for our daughter's second Christmas I nearly cried at the sight of it. I was so touched by the thought and the care taken by the hands of their beautiful Aunt Dorothy. She continued the tradition for the next two children as well as all of her nieces, nephews and grandchildren. For many years displaying those stockings was one of the highlights of our holiday. Years ago I tucked them away for safe keeping. Aunt Dorothy is no longer with us and I worried the stockings would get ruined and I wanted to preserve them. Still...I knew they had to be a part of this year's special tree and so instead of hanging them on a mantle, I hung them on the tree.
Further rummaging through long hidden boxes in the attic led me to ornaments and keepsakes I honestly had forgotten we had. Carefully unwrapping the tissue paper they were packed in, each and every one brought back a flood of memories of either the person who gave us the ornament or the reason behind our purchasing it. Everything from all the babies first Christmas ornaments to puzzle piece wreaths made in elementary school. I stumbled across bags of ornaments made by the ladies auxiliary group at the Church my grandmother attended. Many of the women responsible for those beautiful pieces are long gone, such as my own grandmother and yet...these pretty trinkets stand testimony to their talents and serve as a legacy. Of ALL the treasures I joyfully reconnected with there were a few that truly took my breath away. I found two ornaments from my own childhood Christmas tree and a precious envelope addressed by my son Ryan to the North Pole. Inside is his letter to Santa asking for specific gifts for himself, his sister, dad and me. ( Seth was not a part of our family then). I also discovered Ryan's favorite baby rattle. I happily tucked all of them in the tree.
For years I couldn't wait to have a REAL Christmas tree. The trees I long admired in magazine photos and fancy establishments. Trees of glorious ribbons and color coordinated adornments. Trees that had a theme where everything matched and flowed with a decorator's touch. Trees that said PRETTY.
Is this tree Pretty??? NO! It's BEAUTIFUL!!! I have a REAL Christmas tree for the first time in years and I couldn't be any prouder of it.
Merry Christmas friends!