We just finished decorating the Christmas tree and I did some proactive organizing to ease the post-holiday clean-up.
We have WAY too many ornaments for a normal 7 1/2' tree (under $28 at Home Depot - a gorgeous Douglas fir!). And we love every one of them.
- Two Chrismons a year, made by the women of St. Luke's Presbyterian Church. Nine years in the pew, 18 Chrismons so far, and each set unique.
- A huge collection presented by T's mom through the years, first individual ones, then a family ornament. I just counted - we have more than two dozen. They're particularly precious because she has passed on and the collection will not grow.
- A souvenir ornament from each place we visit. We have ornaments from Baltimore, New York City, Kiawah, Philadelphia, Boston, Salem NC, Disney World, Universal Studios . . . placing them on the tree brings back such happy memories.
- An annual ornament for A and AG, commemorating something special about that year. A has 16 so far and AG has 11.
- The most precious of all - ornaments made by the kids or featuring their baby, toddler, and preschool photos. The durability of fragile paper footprints and washable paint-thumbprints on baked cookie dough is amazing.
- Ornament Exchange party treasures and white elephants - I remember each and every party. A favorite? A completely narcissistic "Garage Sale Santa" - the big guy has an armful of finds from garage sales. I bought it, placed it into the mix of the ornament exchange, and managed to win it back!
Excess often embarrasses me - I try very hard not to be an accumulator of things just for the sake of having them. This is an exception. Taking out the ornaments once a year is a nostalgic visit to happy times and an investment in future days when the kids are grown, we've passed on, but memories continue to connect us.