“…lit up like a star…”
Ok, I know it’s a little bit early. Last year we didn’t put the tree up until the week after Thanksgiving (but only because we ended up having to buy a new tree, so we got one online for 50% off on Thanksgiving, ha!)
But I had to do something to make myself happy. I’ve done the tree mostly by myself every year, but I needed David’s help this year. This new tree is very full and sturdy (read: heavy.) It’s in four sections, but I made him carry the three big sections. I did it by myself last year, but I don’t have the energy to do it anymore. Although I did do all the garland and about 80% of the ornaments.
Now I can happily stare at my Christmas tree for the next two months. The picture doesn’t do it justice; it’s just so beautiful. Putting the ornaments on is the best part because of all the memories each ornament brings with it.
Our first ornament on the tree has usually been this one. We spent our first Christmas in a rental house closer to the city, but we bought this house, our forever home, in September 2011. My mom got us this ornament that year. We always hang it in the front of the tree so it’s visible. I can’t believe this will already be our sixth Christmas in this house. I keep trying to make it better and more homey every year, to make the best memories we can.
This had traditionally been one of the first ornaments on the tree in David’s family when he was growing up. It’s a picture of his paternal grandmother, his only grandparent still living, who he dearly loves. For some reason, we couldn’t find Grandma last year amongst all the ornaments. Even today, when David protested that Grandma had to be the first ornament on the tree, I reminded him we didn’t know where she was. About 10 minutes later, lo and behold, we found her! And we marveled at the fact because we had both torn the boxes apart last year and couldn’t find her! But at least now Grandma is back at her rightful place at the top of the tree.
This is my “Baby’s 1st Christmas 1985” ornament. It’s actually a little music box that plays a song, but I don’t know what the song is. I loved this ornament so much as a child that I kept it on my dresser all year long and then put it on the tree at Christmas time. The white satin has yellowed and frayed a bit over the years, but the music box inside still works and the embroidery is still beautiful. I don’t even know if they make ornaments like this anymore.
It’s hard to read with the lighting, but on the tutu, it says “Rochester City Ballet.” I was privileged enough as a child to be able to dance with the Rochester City Ballet three times under the direction of Timothy Draper in their annual production of The Nutcracker. When I was 9, I was an angel, when I was 10, I was a party child, and when I was 12, I was a lead angel. Those are some of my fondest Christmas memories. When we are in Rochester for Thanksgiving this year, we are going to see it. And I am proud to say that the beautiful young lady who played my “brother” in the party scene way back in 1995 is alternately playing the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Snow Queen this year.
This ornament is a relatively recent addition to our large collection. We got it in 2011 on a December trip down the east coast through Virginia and North Carolina. We of course had to stop in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina and visit the site of the Wright Brothers’ first flight in 1904. Since I am a distant relative of the brothers, I thought an ornament to “fly” on my tree every year would be a nice touch.
A new addition to our tree this year is the Tardis. It seems to have crash landed on the very top…no sign of The Doctor yet. He may be scoping things out first to make sure it’s safe to come out. I wonder if his new companion Bill is with him? Perhaps he’s waiting until Christmas when we watch the Doctor Who Christmas Special to come out?
To me, putting up the Christmas tree isn’t just about Christmas. It’s about remembering not only past Christmases, but past people and events in your life that are worth thinking about. I will literally sit on the couch and stare at the tree for a period of time almost every day it’s up, looking at the ornaments and remembering the stories that come with them. So if I put my tree up early, I guess it’s just because I want to spend more time remembering the good times.
From every Christmas night,
Through tinsel and light;
Gratefully we gather
As ever before
To rejoice in the season
And sing out once more.
My Christmas Tree,
Lit up like a star;
When I see my Christmas tree,
Can loved ones be far?
Christmas Tree, I’m certain
Wherever I roam,
The glow from your branches
Will light my way home.”