My (our) Christmas trees have always been family trees, a hodgepodge of homemade decorations, decorations that were given to us and a few pretty ornaments I added along the way.
I would try to tie it all together in various ways: with trim or buying a quota of inexpensive ornaments to give it some symmetry. But really, I didn’t worry about it too much.
A family tree means you have the homemade ornaments the kids (now 33, 30 and 26) made in preschool and kindegarten with their pictures on them. A family tree has ornaments that celebrate Dad’s 31 years in the Marine Corps. Family trees have bulbous ornaments from the teenage years when we tried making ornaments out of dough and then painting them. Yes, there is some homeliness to the family tree.
Well, this year I broke with tradition. (I’ll bet you didn’t see that coming.) I decided to have a pretty tree.
Don’t get me wrong, a pretty tree still has personality. There are the collected ornaments, a few Marine Corps brass ornaments, some the kids gave us.
But, I went with a color scheme (green balls and gold trim). Color always gives symmetry and order.
The homemade ornaments are lovingly tucked away in scrapbooks. Everyone likes the new tree. No one has asked where their “picture” ornaments are.
I guess the time was right, might have been right a couple of years ago even.
Christmas trees can be testaments to family memories. Changing that is a tricky business. But it’s important to nod to tradition, while moving on. Even our Christmas trees cannot stay rooted in the past, looking old and ratty. We have to put aside the tattered and cherished momentos, adding new memories as we go.
What do you think? Is it hard to put aside the memories from yesteryear and go forward?