I have been decorating the Christmas tree with the kids the last couple of days. Yes, it takes us a couple of days. They decorate it all on the tips and then I spend the next day RE-decorating it and trying to slide my hand and an ornament PAST the ones on the tips to the center of the tree to give it some depth.
As we were decorating, we talked about many of the ornaments. "Oh, remember this - you used to LOVE Bob the Builder!" "Oh, this is Mount Rushmore - you guys remember being there?" "Oh, dad and I got this one the year we were married!" We even have a chunk from the bottom of our very first Christmas tree to hand on the tree. The kids think that's funny- it's just a slice of tree with a date and a ribbon but it's SPECIAL. Many of my ornaments are from my parents' tree. Our family Christmas tree was LOADED with ornaments (the photo with the doll in it is from our 1975 tree). When my brother and I each got married, we were allowed to pick about 1/3 of the ornaments we wanted to take with us. Our newly married college friends were jealous of our first Christmas tree - they had a couple of Hallmark ornaments, some glass balls and tinsel. Our tree was packed!
Now 18 years later, some of the ornaments in the vintage photo with the doll now hang on my tree (the one above it is our 2004 tree). Each of those ornaments brings back a flood of memories.
When our family travels, we buy an ornament for our Christmas tree as a souvenir. We have a Santa Gator from South Carolina; the guys on Mount Rushmore with Santa hats; a pewter ornament with an historic home on it from Colonial Williamsburg; a glass disc with 2004 and Mickey on it from our trip to Disneyland; a glass Danish flag from our trip to Denmark, etc. Then there are the frame ornaments containing school photos, Buzz Lightyear, Superman, Spider Man, Lego Snowmen, and Transformers for the boys (their wives will HATE me when I give those to them for THEIR trees - LOL!) And, for many years, I had the privilege of attending an ornament exchange party at a friend's home. Each year I got 10 hand-made, signed and dated ornaments from special friends. It's so fun to hang those up each year and think of friends that I may not keep in good contact with anymore.
My tree never changes much from year to year and I will probably never have a frou-frou "theme" tree because I love my ornaments - it seems like each one holds a dear memory. My Christmas tree is my vertical Holiday Scrapbook!