Friday, December 12, 2008

Highly Decorated

That’s The Collection Of A Lifetime

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON


Every family has a Christmas tree story. This is ours. I can’t reach the top of our tree. Even if I stand on tiptoe I cannot reach the highest half-dozen branches. I’m well over six foot, so that gives you an idea of how tall our tree is.

I need a chair to stand on when the time comes to put the angel on the top. The tree is so wide that I can barely get my arms around a third of it. So you can imagine just how many decorations we’d need for a tree that size.

Trust me, we have plenty. P L E N T Y. And every adornment has a story behind it. When our eldest child was an infant, we bought a special decoration to mark her first year. The next year, she was old enough to choose one for herself. So in addition to the "normal" decorations we bought for our tree, we have always bought a special one for each of our three children, every single year.

Sometimes one of the Authorbloglets will choose more than one decoration, so the precious collection has grown by leaps and bounds. Three years ago, I was a long way from home, in Muskoka, Canada, when I spotted a Christmas shop. Of course, I had to duck in there and choose a special decoration for each of my children, reflecting each of their respective interests.

When I went to the counter to pay for them, the woman told me she could even engrave each child’s name in gold paint. That gold paint still looks as fresh as ever. And the story of where they came from has been told many times.

So the collection grows. Each piece holds special significance, special memories, special connotations of a period of life and growth and family values. And when each Authorbloglet leaves home, they will take with them their own collection for their own tree in their own home with their own family.

And so the special tradition, like all good Christmas traditions, will continue.

(For a very special post that honours the spirit of Christmas, perhaps you’d care to check out my Sky Watch Friday post from earlier today. I’d be delighted if you could simply scroll down or click here to go to Christmas Angels In The Sky.)

Visit MamaGeek and Cecily, creators of Photo Story Friday.

28 comments:

Arija said...

Your story is similar to ours, only we lost 25 yrs. worth on Ash Wednesday. Our daughter still has her share of the old historical baubles, the little snowed over blue glass church her grandparents fled Europe with in 1939. The collection has grown to extravagant extremes since'83. Our tree as a rule 15' high so it takes a few.

® ♫ The Brit ♪ ® said...

Wonderful post David!
I think it's an extremely beautiful idea to do that for your children! and for them to have their own little collection to take with them when they leave home is just poetic.
I nominate you for Post Of The Day!!!

squawmama said...

Great post David... I really enjoyed it very much and we also did a collection of ornaments for the kids... When we sold our house (to our daughter) 5 years ago to live in the motorhome we gave the kids all their ornaments that we had bought for them and they had made... They were very glad to get them and it brought back memories of all our Christmas's past... Have a great day!!!

(((HUGS)))
Donna

lime said...

i've done similar things with christmas ornaments too. but i plan to keep each of their "baby's 1st christmas" ornaments.

Queen-Size funny bone said...

I have so many decorations my kids are going to be able to decorate their kids trees. And no two are a like. Lucky them to inherit all my treasures.

richies said...

When my wife and I were first married, my wife bout a kit for making Disney ornaments. They were 1/8 inch paint by number wood shapes of Disney characters. She painted the ornaments, and they have been on the tree ever Christmas since. When my kids were little, they thought the ornaments were ugly. They were "flat". When they were older and helping with the tree, they asked why we would put those ornaments on when we had so many nicer ones. Once they heard that they were the first ornaments on our first tree they never complained about them again.

An Arkie's Musings

Lipstick said...

I love the story of your giant tree and precious ornaments!

Many thanks for visiting me!

Bren said...

Same here. Every year, my kiddos each get a new special ornament.
Love this post!

Alyson (New England Living) said...

I love this story! What a wonderful tradition. I've heard of others doing this, but have never done it myself. Wish I had. Though I suppose it's never too late, is it?

Colleen said...

This is a great idea to do with your kids David! :)

San said...

Our own tree is a hodge-podge of memories. My favorite ornaments are those made by our children when they were little.

I enjoyed reading about the Authorblog tree and traditions, David.

You have two awards over at my place--hang them on the tree if you wish!

Chris said...

Very similar to our story. We try to get ornaments each year, that remind us of the previous year. My kids are old enough, and we've collected enough ornaments, that the tree is just one big story of our lives.

Indrani said...

Wish you a Happy Christmas, David!
My daughters make one too, a tiny one though. And there is no end to their decorations. :)

Do meet the Rajasthani men at my post.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

This is a lovely tradition, and your mother's story is very touching. I commented on it below. Thank you for sharing this.

Sheila

Tiaras and Tantrums said...

oh, this is a lovely tradition - I should do this for my kids! But I am so weird and OCD, all my decorations have to coordinate! ha ha (ps - I don't even decorate the back of my tree - it sounds as big as yours)

Leslie: said...

Such a lovely tradition, David, and one that many families follow. I read your article and have to comment on your saying that Christmas is "such a nostalgic time for us all. In more ways than one, we are all haunted by the ghosts of Christmas past." This is a time that our family finds difficult, but even though I'm so happy this year having found my soulmate again, my daughters are as usual finding the season hard to bear. I pray that one day they'll be able to enjoy Christmas fully again. Wishing you and your family the most blessed time this year. :D

Maggie May said...

You would be able to step over my tree......

What a wonderful tradition in your family, David.
These individual pieces of art will really end up as family heirlooms. Your children are so lucky to have a Dad like you.
Wonderful post. Thanks for sharing.

Maggie May said...

You would be able to step over my tree......

What a wonderful tradition in your family, David.
These individual pieces of art will really end up as family heirlooms. Your children are so lucky to have a Dad like you.
Wonderful post. Thanks for sharing.

latree said...

sounds wonderful. I know I never have had such experience, but I can relate to it, really.

Bee said...

Yes, our tree is decorated my memories as well. I wrote a post about it, too.

The Texican said...

Great story David. We just gave a bag full of homemade stuffed Christmas ornaments to our daughter who now has children of her own. We used them when the kids were small and wanted to pull ornaments off the tree. Now she can kid-proof her tree and I can have another inch of breathing space in the attic. Pappy

Lee said...

That's a nice story, David! And a cute ornament, I'm presuming is it one of yours. My ornaments are all angels and many of them were bought when I was married. They all have good feelings about them.

Cheers!

Sandi McBride said...

We do the same thing, David. My mother started this family tradition...if someone sees and admires an ornament (and I mean, really goes nuts over it) as they leave, we remove it from the tree and press it into their hand as a gift. It's a tradition now carried on by everyone in our family. I love traditions, it's what makes us family. Wonderful post and now onto the other one you mentioned!
Sandi

Suldog said...

David:

The blogger, "Pat, An Arkansas Stamper", directed me to that story of yours. Wonderful, wonderful stuff. I truly loved it.

imbeingheldhostage said...

Now I am dying to see that tree... and a little disappointed in myself for buying into the "house Beautiful" things the last two years. I think I am going to drag out the kid ornaments!

Baino said...

I recently posted a few of our little Christmas Tree treasures. All have a story and this year a few more from particularly the Christmas Shop in Rothenburg, Germany. The beauty of meaningful things on the tree is when we're decorating it, everyone remembers or has a comment about a particular decoration. I've found that many people have significant bits and bobs on their tree . .it's lovely.

i beati said...

special special special

Jeni said...

You know David, when you talk specifically about things you and your family did -or still do -the words flow so beautifully. (Not that your other posts don't have a flow or beat to them too cause they do but...)
Anyway, I just wanted to say I think with this post, you should nominate yourself -or I'll do it for you -for "Post of the Day!" Great read and beautiful tradition.