I grew up in a home that didn’t have much money, but had lots of love and creative ideas to celebrate the holidays. My mother, the genius responsible for most of the family fun, wanted to give us an ornament every year to put up on the tree. Most of the years, she spent long hours at night making them for the nine people in my blended family. Several of them that I still have are the clothes pin toy soldier with the blue jacket, the hand sewn red and green elf, and the clay wreath complete with colored lights. Every year, we would decorate the tree together, laughing and teasing. The sister 16 months younger than me would always remove my yellow star that I made when I was three and replace it with hers. The battle continued until I ruined it by getting married, wherewith my mother promptly gave all of my ornaments to me for my tree, leaving only my sister’s white star on the family tree.
However, I wasn’t planning on using those beautiful ornaments made with love. No, I wanted a theme tree, something I’d seen when I was a teen. I’d been visiting a friend’s house and her mother had decorated a white tree with red trimmings. I remember I’d gasped out loud in awe and my friend shrugged it off as no big deal. I’d vowed that day that I would have one of my own when I was older.
Fast forward eleven years later and I was a newly wed of only seven months. Oh, how I wanted to go buy a white tree, but my hubs and the roommate we lived with at the time wanted a traditional tree that would make our apartment smell good. I lost the war and we bought a blue spruce home. My roomie pulled out his ornaments, which were a bunch of colored bulbs and we decorated the tree. It was nice and it did smell good, but it wasn’t as beautiful as the tree in my head.
Several years later when we were living on our own, we bought another tree from the tree lot and brought it home. This time I vowed it’d be decorated all in one color. I ran to the store for decorations because the only thing we had to decorate that tree were the ones my mother gave me. By the time my cart was filled, I realized that I couldn’t afford to have a theme tree, not without blowing my whole Christmas budget. I put the items away and picked out a football ornament for the hubs. That year we used all of the ornaments my mother had made and the one I gave the hubs to decorate our tree. In addition, it started a tradition of giving each other, and now the children, ornaments every year.
This year as we decorated our tree as a family, I realized that I love our none-themed tree. While the ornaments are not handmade I pick out each one with love and each person in mind. I no longer dream of having a red, green, blue, or white themed tree. Instead I laugh and tease my children and hubs as we hang up each ornament, sometimes reminiscing about what each one represents.