Welcome to Family Histories (Holiday Edition). I’ve invited readers and bloggers to share holiday themed pieces with the accent on “Family” and “History” in any way they like.
Today we have a beautiful piece about the simple pleasure of decorating a family Christmas tree written by one of my favorite bloggers, A.M. PINE at HEARTH RIDGE REFLECTIONS.
The crumpled gift bags are rustled open. The little boxes are poked into – the faint tinkle of a bell is heard in the shuffle. A few stray hooks fall to the floor, sunlight glinting. Glitter shifts down like December snowflakes on our arms and hands. The smell of pine is permeating the air, as we part the branches. We “ooh and ahh” as we unpack our beloved Christmas ornaments one at a time. A daughter takes a big breath of the box and says, “Mommy, it smells like Christmas!” The baby’s first, the humorous hunting one that’s dads, of course, all of us chattering about our family vacation where we bought the wooden cut out one.
Every year the children beg for the stories connected to these bits of our lives. Tangible pieces of the trips we’ve taken. They always want to hear of our honeymoon to lighthouses of Maine, and the other far off places my husband and I have been alone, the Grand Canyon, represented by a miniature swinging coffee mug, the pieces of love and laughter from Prince Edward Island.
Our hands dip in and out of these boxes and bags of memories, a collective pool as the voices share and we rush and squabble a bit about who gets to hang what and where. Some ornaments are costly, others, cents on the dollar. It’s the memories that give them value. The scent, the voices, and twinkle all bring us together as a whole, as a family.
The popsicle ‘n glue sled with a cotton ball snowman, the delicate, wooden snowflakes, the tin can punched top with a picture of grandpa and a beloved daughter in it. The yarn, metal, wood, plastic, cinnamon, and dried sprigs of greenery become a genuine, yearly tactile gift that keeps giving. We pass out, dig around, rooting for memories. Christmas love brought forefront, people remembered and celebrated, and dreams hung out for all to see and enjoy.
The hunt for each person’s yearly ornaments always amazes me. The child who you would never think would care, searching deeply for a little ceramic chicken because of mother having picked it out for them two years ago. The tired finishing of the last few ornaments, big clumps of them gathered at the 3 foot mark, and all of us looking for “holes” on the tree. We sink down onto chairs and the couch, admiring our work, perhaps one of us putting on the kettle for hot chocolate, another year of remembrance wrapped up for the taking. Joy found in the simple, little things of life.
Hello, I’m Amy. I write at Hearth Ridge Reflections about the intersection between faith, relationships, and nature. I enjoy reading and writing while sipping dark coffee, my idea of bliss. I’m grateful for each day and for flashes of beauty that spur me on my way.