i've been complaining about holiday traditions, but today as i was decorating our Christmas tree, i was reminded of my favorite tradition.
Every year, from the year I was born, my Godfather, sent me a Christmas ornament. On each ornament, he wrote a special message and dated it. i always knew that each ornament was picked out with care, always something that i would love. If you want to make a kids holiday and give them something special to carry into adulthood, do the ornament thing. it's something that i completely treasure as an adult.
i had a fairly privileged childhood and i really don't remember most of the presents that i received. However, I do remember each and every one of the ornaments that Uncle George gave me. i was allowed to open them on Christmas Eve and i was even allowed to put them on the tree. Although, in the back of the tree, as usually they didn't go with my mom's rigid tree theme.
Uncle George passed away last year and this was the first year since my mom passed that i have put up a tree. i really used to loathe putting up a tree. i was resentful of how my mom had so many restrictions and how the tree had to be perfect. i found holiday decorating to be a nerve wracking experience. Dan convinced me that it was time to let that go and to time to start our own holiday traditions. it's our first Christmas together and we needed a tree in our home, our home that we have spent so much time, effort and money remodeling. This is no longer only the house that i grew up in, but the home that i share with the man that i love. the tree was an important step to move forward.
We started with a tinsel garland. My mom mocked all things tinsel and i guarantee that she is rolling over in her grave right now. It made the entire tree glitter as the silver reflected in the lights, so pretty!. We then layered the tree with giants balls and a various ornaments that have not been on the tree in many, many years. It's eclectic and wonderful. I have a Christmas mermaid from Weeki Wachee Springs, Santa riding a gator and a snorkeling cat. There are six Santa's, two Micky Mouses' and William Shakespeare.
There are also many ornaments from my Godfather, all placed in prominent spots. None in the back. Among my favorites are three brass ornaments from the San Diego Zoological Society, all given to me in High School, when i was a student volunteer at the Greater Los Angeles Zoo. My Godparents lived in San Diego, so every trip to their house included a day at Sea World or the Zoo. They were the most fun, loving Godparents that any kid could have, my parents chose well!
This year, the tree topper is my very first and my favorite ornament from Uncle George.
i felt a little sad and nostalgic putting all of the ornaments on the tree. However, now that it's up and looks so beautiful, I feel really lucky to have such a special tree for the holidays. i hope that next year, Dan and i can add our mutual ornaments, collected from adventures that we are sure to have in 2013!