These are random musings of my life journey, the people, animals, places, and events which have woven, and continue to weave, a tapestry that is me. We all know there is no real destination, only the ongoing experiences which blend together, creating the trail. Each step gives a glimpse of what is to come, without allowing me to see the end result. It is exciting. I have a home base that is mine, that gives me a place to rest. This is it. This is where my heart is, no matter where I journey...................

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I Remember A Christmas

I remember a Christmas ......

.... when I started a new tradition.

We always had our Christmas tree in the recreation room because there was enough space for all of us. There were seven in our family and then whoever else, my mother-in-law, my parents, various friends or other family members. We needed the space in that room to spread out. The rec room was in the basement. It was perfect with a fireplace, a couple couches and an assortment of chairs to sit on. The only problem is that no one saw the lights of the tree from outside. You know how it is .... the Christmas tree has to be placed near a window to share the pretty lights with everyone.

So I got the bright idea to have a second tree, a small one in the living room. It sat in the bay window, and was a nice addition, something that we enjoyed while upstairs. I decorated it with some antique ornaments handed down from both sides of the family for several years.

One year I added something else. I don't remember what instigated it. I took some old, plain glass balls and wrote the names of the family on them with glitter. When it came time to decorate, each person hung his/her ball on the tree, and if someone was not there, we hung theirs for them, giving us a sense of his/her presence with us. If we had a new guest spending the holiday, I made one for that person, and (s)he was asked to add it. Over several years, the number of colored glass balls on the tree grew, and it became really full.

After a while the glass balls, which were becoming very worn, were replaced with satin wrapped balls with the names done with beads and tiny pins. And the number continued to grow. The tree was extremely full.

The really neat part of this is that it was a way in which we had our loved ones with us even when they couldn't be there in person. As time has worn on, it has continued to be an important part of Christmas for me. Now I do just one tree because my space is limited. I simply add the "name balls" to my regular Christmas tree. It is a nice feeling when I hang these, especially those of my mom and dad, now gone for over eight years; my mother-in-law who left this world 17 years ago; an aunt gone now 10 years; a dear friend and former pastor from 20 years ago; my husband who passed away three years ago is one of the more recent. This little tradition that began with our immediate little family grew into something that is a really special holder-of-memories.

As I hang each one I hang on the tree, I have special thoughts of that person, whether they have passed on to the other side, or just not able to be with me this year. It is a bittersweet tradition, and one that I couldn't appreciate any more than I do. And it really warms my heart.


  1. This is a beautiful, heartwarming tradition. I have one that my brother made when he was in Kindergarten, with his name on it. It is so precious to me. I love your idea, and may start this very tradition this year. Right after our huge snow storm is over and I can make it out to the store.

  2. I love the Idea also. May do that next year this year or the rest of the season will be devoted of keeping the kittens out of the tree. Good lord you would think the 30 dollar play center would occupy them nope they climb the tree every chance they get. I am no longer thinking pepper is evil. The four litte fuzz balls are evil till they cuddle and purr.

  3. I, too have special ornaments from people and pets no longer here. I can't wait until Madison is a little older so I can tell her about all of them!

  4. Cheryl, if it fits for you, I'm happy to share it. Enjoy! :)

    Red, I suspect your kittens and the play center are the equivalent of buying a child a toy, then finding that (s)he likes to play with the box more than the toy!

    Queenie, what a nice way to pass on to Maddie the family history! Tradition is a good thing, isn't it?

  5. Oh, Lyn, I LOVE this tradition!! I might adopt it as my own, if that's OK with you. I'll give you a footnote in my memoirs. ;-)

  6. Melissa, of course you may adopt it! The footnote? wonderful, but make it 2 footnotes. The second one should be just a bit spicy and scandalous, OK?

  7. What a beautiful idea. If you don't mind, I may steal it for our tree decorating party next year. Peace.

  8. Traci, of course. It would be my pleasure to share with as many as wish!


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