Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Tree of Remembering

While enjoying Christmas with family this year, I finally appreciated the hundreds of Christmas ornaments that I have collected in boxes and the hundreds more my mom has collected over the years. For a very long time, I chose gold colored balls for my tree for the classic, simple look. It wasn't until this Christmas that I appreciated the stories behind the many different ornaments my mom had displayed on her own tree or the many that sit in boxes in my basement.

My mom sat for a very long time pointing out the ornaments to Onna and telling their story. Which side of the family or great grandmother they came from. The vacation they were bought on or who had given them as a gift. Each ornament had its own little story wrapped up in all that color, glitter and glory. It was a truly beautiful time and made me appreciate the ornaments that I had been storing even more. Onna searched the tree for her favorites and I sat by the tree with them looking for ornaments that I remembered as a child like I was on a wild scavenger hunt. It was almost like they were long lost friends that I had loved so much growing up.

This year, on my own tree, I was happy to display more than my usual gold balls (although some are still on there!) but am already excited for next year to break out the many that laid dormant all these years. My hope is that I too will have a tree with not only glitter and glitz, but also a tree of stories to be told.


  1. Love this post. Your mom gave me an ornament each year and I do the same thing. My tree is very personal because I have at least 2 ornaments from each year of my life. Which is your favorite?

  2. Michelle,
    I remember shopping with my mom for many of your ornaments growing up. She spent so much time looking at each one in the store, holding them and deciding on the perfect ornament. It was always a difficult decision for her to pick the most perfect one. As for my favorite, it is so hard to just pick one. Each one seems to pull at one of my heart strings, but I have a set of vintage looking candy ornaments that look so real, you can't help but wonder if they are. They seem to bring back a sense of old that I really adore. I sit and imagine untwisting the wrappers around them just as I did when I was little. As for my mom's tree, I was overly excited to see she displayed one from dad's side of the family. A lime green carousel with a silver spinner inside. It somehow just spins around and around, almost like it is magic. I remember sitting and watching it and being in awe. When I saw it on her tree this year, I still couldn't seem to figure it out. Pure Magic I guess!
    I hope to pass this tradition on to my kids and to share these stories when they are older. Shouldn't we all have a tree of remembering? It almost breaks my heart to pack them up.

  3. So pretty! What does that quote say behind your tree?!

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  4. It is a nod to taking the 3 year long journey of rebuilding a house. I had found it years ago and held on to it and recently had it custom made from an artist on Etsy. It really tells our story very well.

    "A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image."- Joan Didion