Thursday, December 5, 2019

How to Earn a Spot in Our Christmas Tree

Years ago when I was just starting out on my own after college, I didn't think I needed a tree. Trees were for big families and I was alone in an apartment and had no money to buy or decorate one anyway.

When I came home from work one day I found a tree in my apartment, fully decorated with cheap ornaments from Walmart. My friend had snuck in and set it up for me. It was an amazing surprise.

That tree lasted about a year or two because my two cats had other ideas about it. I'd come home and find it on its side, ornaments all over the place.

When I married Jayme, we invested in a nice big tree because we wanted it to be the centerpiece of our house. We started buying ornaments based on our mutual interests. He bought Marvin the Martian, I bought Barbie and Pepe laPew.

As we started having kids, the ornament collection grew. And grew. And grew.

But we didn't just stick any old ornament on our tree. It had to mean something. It had to earn it's way there. Looking at our tree you'll see a wide variety of ornaments. Of course there are the hand made ornaments the kids would bring home from school. They're side by side with the expensive, hand blown fragile things my sister brought back from Europe.

I'd love to take you on a tour of our tree to show you a small sample of what we treasure.

This first one is probably the oldest ornament on the tree. This is a hand made soldier from a clothes pin. I remember my mom making them. I was very young. We were still in our home in Temple where I was born before we even moved to Bastrop where I grew up so I had to be about 3 years old. I treasure this one.

This one is special too. We got it the year the Aggie Bonfire collapsed. Jayme and I both went to A&M and this accident really shook us up and we needed to commemorate so we'd remember every year.

These are another remnant of my childhood. These are Rhonda and Rodney Reindeer, those popular Hallmark characters from the 80s. We have the babies somewhere too. But I didn't even get to all the boxes. Some of them don't come out every year.

When we started having kids, our tree started to look straight from the screen of Nick Jr. or PBS Kids. My daughter loved the Teletubbies so of course we had to get some for the tree. When my second and third came along, they started to decide which ornaments we'd get. Our tree has all these characters on them because there was a time when all we did was watch Lady and the Tramp over and over and over again. I see Tinkerbell and I'm reminded of the year she wanted Tinkerbell everything. Or there's Buzz Lightyear because the Boy couldn't get enough of Toy Story. Each of these ornaments was treasured by a child I love.

Then there's the activities that my kids got involved in. We have a piano ornament that says Practice Practice Practice because that's what my Keela was into for a long time. Then there's the Swimming ornament to commemorate Calista's time in competitive swimming. And we can't forget the Girl Scout because both girls spent years in that.

These are some of the most treasured ornaments. Each of my kids made me an ornament while in kindergarten. It's their handprint in white paint and each little finger becomes a snow man. The little hands are so tiny. My heart swells when I see these.

And along the lines of hand made ornaments. I can't resist hanging up these kind.

We also have some photo ornaments on the tree. One of them breaks my heart each year because it shows Holly, our sweet Siamese who Santa brought us one year, but then we tragically lost her the following Christmas when she got out and the neighbor's dog got her. But most of the photos are happy because they show my children at various stages of their life.

This one is silly because it tells the story of the year certain people got all upset about Starbucks plain red cup. My daughter and I thought the whole thing was silly and we decided to commemorate it with an ornament.

Then there was that year Hannah Montana was all the rage and I spent all morning waiting in line (online) for tickets to go on sale to the concert. The concert sold out in two minutes, but I was in and I snagged tickets for me and my girls. It was one of their favorite Christmas presents of all time.

We also like to display places we went on vacation. This one is from the year we went to Graceland.

Some of the ornaments were gifts. For some reason people like to gift me ornaments like these. I have no idea why. ;-)

We snagged this one just last year at an ornament exchange. We had to steal it white elephant style, but it's perfect to commemorate our new tiki bar. The tiki crowd have become good friends of ours so I suspect we'll be adding more tiki ornaments in the future.

This was another gift. It was a joke gift from a friend and the back story is too complex to tell here. But every time I see it I can't help but laugh.

This one was given to me the year I started shooting pinup. It plays Santa Baby sung by Marilyn Monroe. It's perfect for me.

I could go on and on about the ornaments on my tree. There are so many more I wanted to show you, but I think you get it.

The tree has been tested over the years. I learned real quick to put the breakable ornaments high and the soft, ornaments like Rhonda and Rodney and plush Pooh and Tigger on the bottom. One year my mom gave me a whole box of cotton stuffed balls to put on the bottom. First that was for toddlers when I had a house full. But I still do that for the four-legged monsters who roam the house.

Accidents have happened.

But I try not to get too upset about it. Have a wonderful holiday season!

Lisa On Location Photography