I was talking with my sister the other day and she was sharing a few memories from one of her first Christmas’ spent living away from home. She shared with me how when she puts up one of her Christmas trees it reminds her of a Christmas long ago and far away. Our conversation got me thinking about things…like what Christmas is and isn’t.
Christmas is not… only about a big tree loaded down with expensive store-bought ornaments. It is not only about what you can buy at the big box store. It’s not even how many gifts are wrapped up and nestled under the tree. It’s not about decorating your house to look like Christmas exploded on your front lawn.. It’s not about parties, presents or plates piled high with pastries…Christmas is not a lot of things.
But Christmas is…about the memories of Christmas’ past that come flooding back when you begin unpacking boxes of old ornaments collected over the years. It’s the memories that are attached to a special ornament or two that make you feel a bit melancholy or nostalgic. For me it’s the hand embroidered ornaments made by my Mom when she was recovering from back surgery. The detail is incredible, the colors are still vibrant after all these years and they remind me of how much she loves her family. I also have a few handmade ornaments from my sisters and mom that bring a smile to my face every year when I unwrap them and hang them on the tree. When I hold these ornaments in my hand and look at them it’s almost as if they are right here with me in the moment.
For my sister her memories are attached to a box of $1 store ornaments that remind her of her first Christmas starting out as a family and funds were tight. The ornaments remind her that the joy on Christmas Day does not come with an expensive price tag…she remembers a Christmas when the toys purchased at the general store brought the same kind of joy to her childs face on Christmas morning just as if they had come from an expensive retailer. When my sister was unpacking her special ornaments she was also reminded of a wonderfully happy day spent in 4 story mall where all the shopping that was done was window shopping because that’s what they could afford. These special ornaments also reminded her of coming home to find a box of groceries on the front porch complete with everything for Christmas Dinner and how a tradition of sharing Holiday meals with Friends began…
Unpacking ornaments is a great way for us to unpack the memories of what Christmas is really all about…making memories with loved ones that can carry us through the coming year.