{unpacking christmas}

The smell of pine needles reminds me of home. Some people like to choose the noble fir, but the lowly douglas is the one that brings back memories of Christmas in the Northwest. Thirty years ago my parents celebrated my first Christmas with me. I was 6 lbs, 15 oz at birth, just like my daughter. These ornaments have hung on my Christmas tree every year that I can remember.

When Josh and I first got married, our tree was bare. We tried to decide what kind of a tree we would have. A stylish one with a color scheme and modern appeal? Or a homey one with memories, not so sophisticated, but one that our children would exclaim over each year as we decorated. Obviously you can tell which one was closest to my heart.

We started out by purchasing an ornament for each other every Christmas. We have the Mickey Mouse bride and groom antenna balls that we turned into ornaments, marking our trip to Disneyland on our honeymoon. We have the little foxes on a log, commemorating our first Christmas together, and a reminder to not let the little foxes sneak in to destroy the garden.

Then, a porcelain circle joined our tree, filled with a picture of Eli at just 6 months old, recalling memories of the greatest mall Santa ever. The silver mobile hung by an “I’m not little” little girl; her special ornament from when she joined our family. And two years later, the stork brought us another, a little boy who needs to be reminded to “look with his eyes and not his hands” as he stands in awe before the twinkling lights.

This year is a baby’s first. He’s just become mobile, already chasing pine needles across the living room carpet. He’s not too happy that I make him wear a hat and pose for a picture. Today he seems so big, compared to the newborn he was in my arms almost six months ago. Someday we’ll look back at this picture and wonder where that baby went, grown into a boy and a man.

Each addition to our tree marks a memory, prompting an exclamation of, “Oh look, here’s this one!” Just as when I was growing up, my children delight in rediscovering their family history through the novelty of a tree in the house. As the storage boxes grow empty, and the star topper crowns the tree, Cora requires that we turn off all the house lights so we can sing a Christmas song.

With the soft glow from the rainbow lights filling the room, and two children on my lap singing “Jingle Bells” in my ears, I’m reminded again how truly blessed I am to have the family I do.

But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. Luke 2:19

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12 thoughts on “{unpacking christmas}

  1. love this post… I read it right after reading Lisa-Jo’s and she was having some similar motherly pondering going on… i love it when God does that.

  2. Every year as I unpack ornaments I remember so many people. Children who made fun ornaments each year. Parents who are now gone. Church ladies who are now gone. Those who gave an ornament as a gift. It’s our family’s history kept in a box and brought out once a year. Good blog! And beautiful photo of your little Santa. :-)

  3. i our trees are similar also, what a surprise there. ours is fake though since he have spent th epast nine years ion a place where christmas type trees really do not grow which makes a fake ones more financially smart. I just went and bought four more ornaments for all our kids this year and one family one to paint. I remeber the christmas my mom gave me all the ornaments that I had made over the years or recieved as a child, they now adorn my tree.

    1. Sounds like fun, Lynnette! :) That reminds me that I need to go pick up our ornament for this year. We get one of the hand painted ones from Pier 1 each year.

  4. I love this. Ours is a combo of red, frosty blue, and silver balls and ribbon and family ornaments. Thus, we share those memories, but I have fun with my little “theme.” :-)

    I love your kiddos. Thanks for sharing them!

    1. I think theme’s are fun, but I couldn’t *not* have our family ornaments. My mom has a whole assortment of beaded fruit! Ezra tried to eat one when we were up there last year. Haha!

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