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.”
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.