Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Story Tree

I love Christmas. 
Not only is it the celebration of my Saviors' birth, but it is merry and festive. 

The lights, the food, the merriness in hearts, the colors, the smells, 
did I say the food? Mmmmm, it all goes together to create a wonderful atmosphere of anticipation and celebration! 
One of the things I enjoy doing in preparation for the holidays is decorating. 
Decorating the house for the Holiday has it's own set of traditions. One of our traditions centers around the Christmas tree. We typically go out into the woods to hunt for the perfect tree the weekend after Thanksgiving.  We drag it back home and set it up inside where we sip on mulled, hand pressed apple cider while listening to Frank Sinatra croon traditional Christmas Carols.  
It's good times people, good times. 
I have had many ideas about how the tree should be decorated over the years.  I mean with all my Pinteresting and the pictures that pop up in magazines, there is plenty of inspiration for a perfectly trimmed Tanenbaum. You've seen those perfectly decorated trees where the ornaments all color coordinate and the ribbon swirls around the tree just right.  Where it is so covered in ornaments and lights you can barely tell there is an evergreen tree underneath it all.  They are usually placed in the perfect corner of a spotless living room decorated with white furnishings. You just know that if that tree was real, it wouldn't dare drop a needle on the impeccable rug it has been placed on.  They are gorgeous!

Exhibit A:
photo courtesy of
All I have to say about those drool worthy residences is - they obviously don't have kids.  
Or a budget.
Of which, I have both.  Which is okay, because as pretty as those homes are, they would never survive our lifestyle and they wouldn't carry the meaning that our humble evergreen carries throughout the season for us. 
Besides that, where do they store all those decorations?  I have a lot of storage space but it is already pretty full. Or do they sell it all and start new the next year? Maybe they are the type who couldn't dream of decorating their tree the same way two years in a row?Hmmm, something to ponder.

Every year I buy a new Christmas ornament for each of my boys and one to keep for us.  Ideally these ornaments are chosen because they spark a memory of something significant that took place in each boys life that past year.  Sometimes, they aren't as meaningful but happen to be something the boys picked out themselves, which means it is something their 5, 7 or 9 year old self liked that year. 
Let me show you some examples:

 A couple years ago, around the time when the movie The Legend of GaHoole came out, the boys were really into owls.  So, I made them each a little owl ornament.

This little guy happens to be from a set that Hunky Hubby got for me one of our first Christmas's together. I believe we were living in Neenah, WI at the time.

This motorcycle rider was given to Seth.  He loved watching his daddy race dirt bikes. It reminds me of all the fun we had together attending the races, often with Uncle Ryan or Uncle Dan.

 This beauty was a gift from Ms. June.  She was Annie's original owner and she gave this to us as a thank you for watching Annie over the holidays one year. 

My mom gave this ornament to me when I was in college.  Little did she know I would still enjoy photography years later.

I found this one for Hunky Hubby this year.  It is perfect because the theme for the summer camp at SBR this year was Ship Wrecked.  He built a huge ship in the field to go along with the theme.  It was awesome, the best prop yet.

This pretty ornament was a gift from my mom when I believed that our family was complete with two boys. I am so glad I was wrong.  It reminds me of how small my vision for my life and future is compared to God's plan for me.

When Wyat was a baby, we called him our 'Little Moose'.  He was such a big boy.  I found this ornament for him to remember that time which is good since that nickname didn't stick. 

Tate was obsessed with dinosaurs for a couple of years. At 4 he could pronounce all their names and knew most of the facts about them.  He would correct his grandparents if they made mistakes while reading him Dino books. 

The first year that all the boys played soccer they each received this soccer ball ornament. 

These are just a few examples.   
Our tree, while it may not be perfectly decorated or color coordinated, tells a story. 
Our story. 
The memories that the ornaments represent are precious.


The stories get told over and over each year, cementing them in our sons minds, creating tradition and a sense of  reverence. 
It is the stories that bind us together as a family. 

And because of that, our tree is the most beautiful of all.  

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