I just wanted to share with you how much I love getting a new Christmas ornament each year from my mother, husband, and now my own children. Ever since I was a child, my family has been collecting special Christmas ornaments to add to the tree each year. My mother would unwrap the new addition with great pomp and circumstance and we would all gather to place it at the top of the tree, indicating its special status at being the newest ornament to be added to the collection that year. Now that I am an adult and have my own family, I have carried on the tradition of collecting a new Christmas ornament each year in my own home. Everyone has gotten into the act now too and instead of just getting one new ornament each year I end up with several because everyone in my family knows how much I enjoy collecting them.
So, every Christmas I look forward to finding out which new ornaments I will get to add to the tree each year. My mother, who started the tradition when I was a child, always gives me a very special angel ornament to add to my own growing collection. She always goes all out and searches for the very best angel ornament she can find. It does not matter what they are made of, wood or glass will do, just as long as they are in the shape of an angel and that they are different from any of the other ones that she has given to me before. No matter how old I get, that special angel ornament from my mother makes me feel as if I am six years old again, filled with Christmas excitement.
When we first got married, my husband and I had very little to start out with. Like most young couples, our home was sparsely decorated with hand-me-downs and yard sale furniture. During our first Christmas together, we could not even afford to buy a full-sized tree, so instead we had to settle for a little table-top tree that was barely a foot tall. As I sat there feeling sorry for myself for having such a pathetic little tree and feeling homesick for the surroundings of my childhood home, I decided to decorate the tree in spite of its size. I took out my collection of Christmas ornaments that I had been collecting since I was a child and placed three of my favorites on the little tree. Any more than that and it would have toppled over. It was amazing how those three little ornaments instantly filled me with the joy and love of the season and I realized that it did not matter how much we had, but how much we loved. In the end, it turned out to be one of the best Christmases ever because what little we had meant so much to us. I thought to myself, as long as I have the memories that are held in each one of these little Christmas ornaments, I am the richest woman in the world!
From that Christmas on, my husband started buying me his own very special gold star ornament to add to our tree each year. He has always said that each star on the tree represents the growing brightness of our love and our family. He is really quite the softie at heart! Each year I look forward to the newest star ornament that he buys me to add to our growing collection. While we can afford to buy a full-sized tree now, I will never forget that little tabletop tree with the three Christmas ornaments on it because it meant so much to me at the time.
Now we have three children of our own and each one has embraced the Christmas ornament collecting tradition as well. My oldest daughter loves to sing and loves receiving her very own caroler ornament each year. My son, ever the boy, really enjoys the nutcrackers and looks forward to getting a soldier to add to his Christmas ornament regiment. My youngest daughter is the traditionalist and only likes the hand-painted, mouth-blown ornaments that sparkle next to the Christmas lights on the tree. She says they look like candy and pretends like she is going to eat them! What a character she is! While they each get their own individual ornaments, they always pool their money together to buy me a very special ornament just from them. As you can imagine, this one is always one of my favorites and I will treasure them all forever.
So, as you can see, getting a new Christmas ornament from each person that I love is what makes the holiday season so special to me. No matter how rich or how poor we might be, we know that we will always have each other. While some people might consider Christmas ornaments as dust collectors, they serve as memory collectors for me and my family. Every time I look at each ornament I have collected over the years, I can remember exactly who it was from and what it meant to me at the time. Whether from my mother when I was six, or from my husband when we were poor, or from my children when we were whole, my Christmas ornament collection represents all the love we have shared over the years and each Christmas I am filled with joy wondering what new ornament I will get and what memories will be captured inside of them forever.