Friday, December 19, 2014

The Story of Our Tree

For me, the Christmas tree is a pretty big deal. I know for so many, it's just a decorating tool for the holiday, but for me- it's a scrapbook of our lives. 
Some of the very best memories I have from when I was little, are of when I used to sit with my grandmother and talk about the ornaments at night. Her tree was always a mishmash of everything and for me, it was just the most beautiful thing in the world. Though she definitely does not approve of the white lights (it was always colored ONLY), our tree has evolved into exactly the same type of Christmas tree I remember as a child. 
And nothing could make me happier. 

It sparkles and glitters and even though I know exactly what is on it, I could sit and stare at it for hours as if it's the first time my eyes have seen it. 

This year has been the first Christmas in 7 years that we've been able to put ornaments on the entire tree without the threat of curious little hands snatching them off. 

The tree isn't the largest, but years ago when it was purchased, it was a very hefty buy for us (even after the coupon!). Every year when we take the tree out, the thought of a bigger tree, whos branches don't tend to fall out does cross my mind. But, when I think back to how we scraped the money together to bring this tree home, I just can't bring myself to part with it. It is ours and it has been loved and this is where it will stay. 

One of my favorite things to do when I was little, was to pretend I was tiny and lived inside of the tree like the chipmunks from the Disney cartoon Pluto's Christmas Tree.
I may or may not have done it last night...never too old to use your imagination, right?
Almost every single ornament on the entire tree means something. 
So many are from my grandmother.

And others are from places that my grandmother and I have gone together. 
Santa's pocket watch is from Stan Hywet Hall.

The heart is from The Nutcracker- I was about 8yrs old and it was downtown at The Palace Theatre- magical is the only word to describe it. If you're not familiar with the Palace, google... the inside is stunning. The lobby was filled with table after table of goodies like I have never seen before (those were pre-pinterest days and it was the first time my eyes had ever seen a croquembouche). We were not far from the stage and I can still remember the awe I felt when I saw the giant Christmas tree on stage.

Other ornaments were from mine and my husbands first Christmas together as a couple. 
He glittered our names himself. A fact that is even more amazing if you know him. 

Many are older than him and I both- from simpler times that neither of us will ever have the pleasure of experiencing. 
-when the Elf on the Shelf didn't bring expectations ... 

...and letters to Santa sounded more like this than a Best Buy advertisment.
Many commemorate the arrival of our babies. 

And one very special one tells the tale of our first Christmas in our new home. That was a trying year and whenever I see this little house it brings tears to my eyes realizing how far we've come. 

My most treasured are now from our children. And if you're a parent, then you know exactly what I'm talking about. There is no better experience than chubby little preschool fingers handing you something them made themselves. 
This was the one that started it all, and they have been flooding in ever since. A massive perk of having so many kids. 

This one has a glittery handprint and a card that reads 
Sometimes you get discouraged 
Because I am so small
And always leave my fingerprints
On furniture and walls
But every day I'm growing--
I'll be grown some day
And all those tiny handprints
Will surely fade away
So here's my handprint
Just so you can recall
Exactly how my fingers looked 
When I was very small

This was only from one year ago and Sean's little hand was so tiny. Tears. 

These 4 bells are new additions to the tree this year from Aunt Linda, they help us to remember her since she is no longer with us- and keep in our thoughts this Christmas, the 3 she left behind. 

So that is the story of our tree. 
It's so much more than a decoration, but a symbol that 
there really is no place like home.