This week, my family has slowly decorated our Christmas Tree, the center of our holiday cheer. One small fact has hindered our progress: we have two cats. Last year, as wee kittens, Jake and Sugar claimed the under-tree area as their own for frolicking. And they nibbled at the wires on the lights. To deter any unwanted wire-chewing (and subsequent kitty-electrifying) this year, we ordered a bottle of apple bitter spray, which took its sweet time arriving. Meanwhile, the bare and lonely tree stood in a dark corner of our living room.
Once we were able to apply the apple bitter to the wire (our first-born child offered to taste-test the stuff. And yes, I got the hilarious results on video!), the lights were meticulously placed among the branches of our tree. The dark corner of the living room is dark no longer, and the cats have once again claimed the under-tree area as their own. I think they like the ambiance of the tiny colored lights, and I have to agree with them: a Christmas Tree is one of the most magical symbols of the season for me. Bright lights, memories old and new, and something different to catch your eye each time you look.
|Jake, under the bare tree. "Mom, where|
are the lights for me to chew on?"
Tonight, we’ll be able to hang the ornaments… well, the non-breakable ones at the very least! This is a family task which we all enjoy. We pull the ornaments out, ooh and ahhh over them, and talk about them… where they came from, who gave them to us, what event they represent, etc. Our Christmas tree quickly evolves into a thing of magical, twinkling beauty.
Because my family is just now getting around to hanging ornaments, I thought I’d talk about my favorite ornament and then ask all of you to share the details of your favorite ornament (for a chance at a prize. Hmmm, probably an ornament!). I still want to hear about your favorite ornament, and I’m still going to give a prize… but deciding which ornament is my personal favorite is much more challenging. After all, except for when I was a young adult with my first tree and nothing to put on it, I don’t buy ornaments just because they’re pretty. I buy ornaments – for my family and myself – for a reason, to symbolize a memory. For example, I buy the kiddos an ornament to represent something they did that year. Played basketball? Yep, got that ornament. Saw the NYC Rockets? Yep, got that one. Disney World? Yep, mouse-ear ornaments all-around. So, how can I weed through my memories and pick the most important/meaningful one?
Answer: I can’t. And I won’t. I’m the one writing the blog, so I get to talk about a few of my favs. Maybe that’s cheating, but I call it creative license. Here are my favorite ornaments:
The annual kid-pics. Okay, that’s way more than one ornament, but it’s just one theme. Each year, I put a picture of each of the kiddos in an ornament frame (thank you, Michael’s, for always having a wide selection). As we pull the ornaments from their boxes and hang them on the tree, I get to walk down memory lane and watch them grow all over again. And it’s especially fun when I don’t pull the ornaments out in chronological order!
The Depression Bell. I have one fragile glass ornament left-over from a distant family member who lived through the Depression era. Knowing I’m an absolute clutz, I am terrified every time I hold it, afraid it will shatter and the remnant of a bygone time will itself be bygone. However, each year the little pink -and clear-glass bell-shaped ornament proves to me that you can be beautiful and delicate, and still be a survivor.
The black bear. It’s one I gave my hubby several years ago. The short story is: I once saw a large critter climbing our front yard tree and yelled to him that we had a baby black bear in our tree and the mom was going to be really mad! He scoffed, which wasn't a very nice thing to do, but it turned out the critter was just a furry barn cat from next door. Silly me. But now, each year when I find the perfect spot for the ornament, I turn to my hubby and declare with joy “Oh, no, there’s a baby black bear in our tree!”
I could go on and on, as each ornament is its own mini-time capsule. But for now, I’m going to hand the theme over to you (and I’ll announce the winner next week). What’s your favorite ornament?