treeLast night, I decorated our Christmas tree shortly after we lit the candles for the fourth night of Chanukkah.   When my Muri and I first got married, our first tree together (her first tree ever) was decorated with a few boxes of standard ornaments from K-Mart.   But I immediately started a tradition of my parents … arranging with Santa (a very close personal friend) to bring three or four new ornaments every year.  So after 44 years of marriage, there are over 150 ornaments, each of which connects to a certain phase of our lives.  Some are dated or inscribed with messages like Baby’s First Christmas.   There quite a few Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments.   I am partial to clear ornaments and bells … my wife to snowmen and miniature toys … and Santa’s been accommodating.   A few of the ornaments are slightly damaged but I don’t have the heart to discard them … there’s a Rudolph with a missing back leg and a gold kitty with a missing ear.  Some of the cheapo-cheapo K-Mart ornaments from our first tree have grown valuable to us.   When my Dad moved out of his house, we each took some of the ornaments from Mom and Dad’s tree.   Several that are over eighty years old now grace our tree.

Decorating the tree is my job and I like it that way.  Like my Mom before me, I like the ornaments just so, smaller ones near the top, larger low … most of the time.   It’s that most of the time that makes the difference.  I know what I like.  It is one of the best times of the holiday season … unwrapping each ornament is like opening a memory.  I whistled Christmas songs the whole time.

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Last year, I told a story about my mother’s favorite ornament and at risk of boring regular readers, I’m going to relate it again it because it is a perfect fit to my memories of Christmas as a child.   My mother liked clear ornaments, too, and her favorite was a crystal bell.   Since it was her favorite, it was my favorite.   This particular Christmas, an aunt and uncle … and their children … stopped by to visit.   I remember which aunt and uncle but in this online world, who knows will end up here on Bud’s Blog, so I won’t mention names.   As the adults were talking, I watched one of the cousins reach between the branches of my parents’ tree, wrap his fat little fingers around my mother’s favorite ornament, and squeeze until it burst with a pop.   I started to yell at the little monster but Mom interceded.  It’s OK, she said.  It’s only an ornament. She gave me one of those, You-Be-Quiet looks.   After the cousins left, I tried to bring it up again but all she said was, It’s Christmas, Buddy.

That’s how my parents were.  Most lessons were taught by example, not by words.  Nobody ever said, Christmas is about family, love and forgiveness.   But I got the message.  Sometimes, I even remember it …

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One Comment on “Ornaments”

  1. RedheadCarol Says:

    Wonderful. Just wonderful.
    Merry Christmas!

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