The other day, Ken put up our Christmas tree. His job was easy, pop the parts together and plug in the pre-lit tree. "There," he said, "now you can decorate it." Where was the 'we' in that statement? He did bring up the boxes of ornaments from downstairs for me and after he went out on some errands, I set to work.
As I hung the glistening ornaments that I'd bought at places like Target and K-Mart, I let my mind wander to the rest of the items on my schedule for the day. But once those ornaments were up, I started on the special treasures we've collected over 48 years of marriage.
As I did so, my mind wandered back to the times and places where we'd gotten these special ornaments. I have a set of six tiny wooden angels, each one sitting inside a round wooden hoop affair. They're quite small but detailed. I found them in a little shop near the Drake Hotel in Chicago when we were at a convention. Ken had a meeting at the famous old hotel every other year, and I always went with him. Going back to my hometown of Chicago was always a treat and getting away from caring for children and house ranked high, too. So, the tiny angels reminded me of all of that and more.
Some of the ornaments were ones we'd bought when traveling in the USA and overseas, and each one brought back memories of the place where we'd purchased them. I am partial to angels and couldn't resist buying the little eskimo angel in Alaska. When I hung her on the tree, all the delightful parts of our Alaskan cruise rolled back to me. I bought some Ukkranian egg ornaments in Prague which the Czechs use at Easter, but I put them on the tree to remind us of our two trips to that beautiful city and in honor of the many Czech students we've hosted.
Some of the ornaments are ones special people have given to us as gifts, and so each of them reminds me of a relationship with the giver.
My mother saved one of my baby rattles that always went on our Christmas tree, and the angel at the top of the tree never changed. She watched over our tree in a pin satin dress, her golden wings in back and a cloud of blonde hair. Somewhere over the years, those things were lost. How I wish I had them now. Ken's mom gave our children some special little angels that always graced their tree, and our kids now use them on their own trees. More memories.
Memory upon memory flooded back as I finished decorating the tree. Writing about your own special ornaments for you memory book would be a great addition for the December section. I know it's a busy time of the year, but at least take a few minutes to jot down some notes and write about the ornaments later. If you can do it right away, the emotion will still be with you and make a better story.