I have heard so many people say that they love the month of December because it is the time when we all slow down and remember the birth of the Savior and the spirit of Christmas. Unfortunately I have never actually had a December that was slow and reflective. They always seem to be crammed with concerts, baking, parties, and buying things. Just three days into this one and it's not looking much different. We came back from Utah feeling behind...late getting Christmas decorations up, hurrying to participate in things that were happening early in the month, and scrambling to figure out what we're doing to make this a meaningful season for our kids this year (we still don't know...)
On Sunday, amid the chaos of trying to do way too much, we stopped for an hour or so to decorate the Christmas tree. This is my favorite part of the season, for sure. No matter how old my kids get, they still huddle around the box of ornaments and anxiously await the opening and unwrapping of their favorite ones.
I always look at the trees in department stores and fancy homes and marvel at how perfect they look...color coordinated, themed, beautifully placed ornaments on perfectly fluffed trees. Ours doesn't look like that. We have a beautifully mismatched, imperfect, mostly homemade tree that we all love so much. Every person in our family has at least one ornament that they can't wait to place on the tree. And nearly every ornament has some interesting story to go with it.
We have two of these beautiful things that were just made from twisted coat hangers dipped in glue and glittered at a Primary activity years ago. I love them and always make sure they're hanging in prominent places on the tree.
My dad and I made Santa and Mrs. Claus ornaments one year from a kit. He was unconventionally good at crafts and baking, so Christmas was his favorite season.
A few years ago, at an after-Christmas sale, I found a T ornament and thought it would be a great addition to our tree. Since then, I have acquired a handful of our initials that, when sprinkled on our tree, make it totally and completely ours.
Each of the kids has one of these ornament frames with a preschool picture in it.
We lived in Seattle from 1998-2000 and when we left, my very best friend, Linda gave me this "Best Friends" ornament to take with me. I think about her every time I open the little box that it came in. And it looks just like us!
My sweet friend, Laura, gave this ornament to my kids when we lived in Atlanta. She has since passed away, so this special ornament has a very meaningful place in our hearts and on our tree.
All the kids have a baby ornament that we bought for them when they were born, but June's is everyone's favorite. She was our little Millennium Baby in 2000. I love this sparkly thing!
My mother in law is amazing at handwork. She cross stitches, quilts and sews in her free time. She made three of these delicate little beaded ornaments for all of her sons' trees. They are some of my most treasured gifts from her.
I'm so grateful for a tree that reflects years and years of memories. And I'm so grateful that every year, as we retell the stories of each of those ornaments, they become woven into my children's memories. Someday they will have their own little families to share this amazing tradition with and their own stories to remember. I'm so grateful for this beautiful season and hope to be able to slow down and thoroughly enjoy it.