A Christmas Tradition

Mom and my first Christmas ornament from 1978
Mom and my first Christmas ornament from 1978

I love this time of year: the snow is here, the brisk air is refreshing, the Christmas lights are up, and Christmas music is playing on the radio. On Saturday, my immediate family will celebrate Christmas together. (With hand sanitizer and masks!) I’m looking forward to spending quality time with our family. Our tree is up and the lights are bright. The ornaments are beautiful.

When we were kids, my mom always let us open one present on Christmas Eve. We always knew what it was going to be: a Christmas ornament for the tree. Boorrrring! Or at least that is what I thought as a kid. Now, those ornaments are one of my most prized possessions.  Each year Mom would get us an ornament that symbolized an important event from the past year. She would write the year on each of them in black permanent marker. Most of the time, the ornaments were from vacation that year: Yellowstone, or Rocky Mountain National Park, or Silverton Colorado, or trips that mom and dad took that year: Japan, Jamaica, Arizona. Sometimes, they were beautiful. Sometimes, they were pretty dang ugly! Some years were more significant than others.

But year after year, I could always count on that ornament.

As an adult, I traveled across the country with them packed carefully in bubble wrap. Over the years, I moved a lot. No matter where I went, the box of ornaments always came with. There were years that I did not come home to Minnesota over Christmas and those years the box was even more important to me.

When I moved home to Minnesota and met Steve, Mom bought him an ornament. (Mom knew waaay before we did that we were going to be married!) It is a hilarious one that is a deer with a broken antler and a sign that says “Bad Horn Day.”

Jaxson's First christmas Ornament
Jaxson’s First christmas Ornament

The year mom died, she gave me a beautiful glass angel ornament. I suppose that was her way of letting me know that she would always be looking over my family.

I’ve come to realize over the years that the ornaments are a symbol of my life with my mom.

This year, as I unpacked the box and began decorating our Christmas tree, I realized that now I have the opportunity to give Jaxson the “boorrring” gift of an ornament each year. It’s my turn to continue the tradition. This year, it’s easy – we will commemorate his birth. Maybe next year, we will find an ornament that shows a little boy walking or talking or jumping. And the year after that, … well, who knows what the coming years will have in store for our family.

This year, we know how much we have to celebrate! This year, will be Jaxson’s first Christmas.

Jaxson says "Merry Christmas!"
Jaxson says “Merry Christmas!”

Author: Andrea M

Oh man, what an adventure! I went into labor unexpectedly when I was 23w3d pregnant. Jaxson was born weighing 1 lb 8 oz. A tiny little peanut, but boy was he feisty. He still is! We love it now, but we probably won't when he is a teenager. I write about our journey and all other things that come with it, including a brain tumor. We look forward to "meeting" you - come hang out with us...we're pretty cool.

9 thoughts on “A Christmas Tradition”

  1. What a very special tradition your mother passed on to your family – filled with special memories over so many years! It is definitely the gift that keeps giving. Have a very wonderful time together with your family.


  2. I love that you talked about getting ornaments from your mom every year. We also had the same tradition. However, due to me continuing with that tradition, we now have no room on the tree for my and Tim’s ornaments! So they’ll stay safely tucked away (which is a good thing this year as it’s a hard holiday to celebrate without my mom – her favorite holiday). I also need to say that for the first time in many many years, my angel did not light up – it’s still on the tree, but doesn’t work – my sister’s angel won’t STAY on her tree – keeps falling off when it shouldn’t! So I believe that’s Mom’s way of saying, don’t forget about me, I’m here, just giving you a reminder!! Enjoy your first Christmas with Jaxson! He’s adorable!!


    1. Lisa – your mom is definitely saying “Hello? I’m not gone!” I’ll be thinking about you this year – the “firsts” are hard. We’re almost to the point of too many ornaments, too! Maybe we’ll have to move into a mansion and get two trees… 🙂


      1. guys, I have ornaments from my child hood and marcus has a ton from Nicole who also used to do this. We have what is called an ornament “tree”, it is actually just a stand that has rungs to hang all the extra ornaments that don’t fit on the actual tree. We have it decorated with garland and lights and all the extra ornaments. I could send you a picture if you like Andrea.


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