I know many think that Christmas trees--particularly real, needle-dropping, sap-sticky trees--are a pain to put up (and break down) each year, but honestly, it's one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season. Here are just a few of my most favorite ornaments, hanging besides more Patriots candy canes than I care to admit:
When my husband and I first got engaged, my darling Aunt E gave us a box of Christmas ornaments as a shower gift. The box included standard Christmas fare (Santa Claus, ribbon candy, the like) as well as items particular to us as a couple. Included in the latter grouping is this 2010 champagne + suitcase set, to commemorate the year we were married.
Since then, we've made an effort to collect small ornaments on our travels--including a strange snowman-like figure from our honeymoon in Mexico, and more recently, the lobster trap buoys from our trip to Maine.
My parents have also contributed to our tree decorations. When I was 11 or 12, my dad gave me a Harry Potter ornament for our family tree. The nose has since broken off, giving Harry a creep resemblance to Voldemort of the movies, but it's still precious to me. When I moved into my own house and started my own tree, the ornament made its way to me. My mom kept most of our childhood ornaments for her own tree (and who can blame her?) but made these bride and groom crab ornaments--using actual netting and beads from my wedding dress--by hand.*
It feels cliche and a bit hokey to say that unpacking each ornament for our tree is a walk down memory lane, but that's the truth of it. And Christmas tends to make me sappy, so there, I'll just say it. It's a delight each year to remember ornaments forgotten over the last 12 months, to unwrap small memories from moments we shared together or separately over time, to hang them on our tree to reflect small glimmers of tiny lights for a few weeks before they are carefully wrapped back up in tissue paper and stored away for another year.
Now excuse me, I have to cut my sappiness short to go email my dad back about the menu for the seven fish courses we'll be having on Christmas Eve. Because cooking seven courses for 23 people is always a process. A memory-filled, traditional, burdensome, delightful, wouldn't-trade-it-for-anything process.
*If anyone is interested in their own custom crab-painted ornament(s), my mom is just starting to make and sell these bad boys. Just give me a shout via email or on Twitter and we can make it happen! (I say this because I think the ornaments are lovely and amazing and my mother is talented and amazing, not because I receive any kind of kickback in any way, shape, or form, besides perhaps earning more points in the which-child-is-my-mother's-favorite contest of life.)