Trimming the Tree, My Way

Last month, I talked about creating family traditions.

I think family traditions are like inside jokes. They bring us closer together and they make a shared experience more special. If I were to give any advice to people “starting out” on their life, as a parent or in a committed relationship, it would be this: start some traditions all your own.ornament 264x296

The tradition I started.

Every year (everyone does the first), I buy my girls an ornament. Sometimes it has their name or the year on it, or it’s something personal to them, or something special from the year. Sometimes, especially in the last few, I buy more than one. They’re nothing super fancy (I leave that to their great aunts, who love Hallmark ornaments).

The idea is that when they have a place, and tree, of their own, they’ll have a whole slew of their own very personal and special ornaments to decorate it with.

Of course, there’s a sad story.

I remember putting the tree up with my parents, and my mom handing us the ones we’d made in Sunday School or our favorites to hang ourselves. We never had a themed tree or special colors. It was The Family Tree, always.

We lost those ornaments in a devasting flood (I most miss a frozen juice can I’d painted bright red and hung some sort of coated wire in to make a pretty impressive bell–for a five-year-old). It became even more important to me, then, to have ornaments to pass on.

We have a lot of ornaments. 3 girls, that’s (19×1)+(16×1)+(9×1… or 2?)= A lot.

With three girls and 18 years of acquiring ornaments, you can imagine there are quite a few now. I would personally love to do one of those themed trees–all in red one year, or pinks and purples and aqua. But I can’t NOT decorate The Sizemore Family Tree. Except, last year, I didn’t.

This is the part where I went all bah-humbug.

I bought the ugliest tree in the history of the world. (It was so ugly that I can’t even find pictures of it. Christmas pictures of the kids opening gifts, sure. But no tree.) It was 4-feet tall and made entirely of a spiral wire coated in silver tinsel. I bought aqua beads and ornaments to go around it. It was hideous, but it kind of matched the Christmas spirit I seemed to have lost. On the 26th, I boxed it up, ornaments and all, and labeled it First Christmas at College for girls. Maybe they’ll pass it around for a few years. And it’ll be fun and shabby-chic for a dorm room.

But then I bounced back. And I didn’t need any dead guys with chains. Take that, Scrooge.

This year, everything’s different. I’m different. I’m a lucky chick. I have aMAZing kids. Like, so much more amazing than anyone deserves. And I’ve been married seventeen years. Even better–I still love the guy. Like, crazy-in-love, I’d-marry-him-again-tomorrow love.

I won’t say I learned to appreciate them more, because they’ve always been my lifeline. But, after a difficult year, I’ve made peace with what matters. And what doesn’t. That part isn’t even the point. The point, truly, is that my tradition made getting their ornaments this year feel like home. It didn’t matter that I’d been away… I would always be welcome.

This year, I’m putting up my brand new pre-lit, six-and-a-half foot tree (traditional green). I’m going to blare Christmas music, the ones that make me feel all mushy,  smile, and sing off-key. The Sizemore Family Tree is going to be spectacular. And there will be pictures.

So, obviously, I’m a giant sucker for family traditions and Christmas is my favorite holiday. Tell me yours!

Don’t forget.

Every comment is entered to win one of the holiday books by authors from this very blog. This means more than one winner. Is it Christmas or what?

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.
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7 Responses to Trimming the Tree, My Way

  1. Sutton Fox says:

    What a wonderful tradition. I love it because you’ve made something (a collection of ornaments) that you pass on to your girls. How cool.

    It’s really good to hear things are looking up for you. Hope you have a great Christmas!

  2. Thank you, Sutton. I’m pretty happy about it, myself. Merry Christmas!

  3. My hubby and I spent 20 years in the Air Force. My ornaments are from all of the places we were stationed. Ornaments from Germany, Italy, England. Ornaments from British Girl Scouts, from my 4-H kids, and from my nieces and nephews and friends. I love taking them out of the bin, one at a time and putting them on the tree. Each one a memory of where and how I came to get it. It’s the best part of Christmas.

  4. Around Thanksgiving we start a Lord of the Rings movie marathon, which at the moment doesn’t include our two year old son because it would be too scary. The marathon usually lasts well into December (one year it was January) and it’s only getting longer what with the Hobbit movies. We try to make food to match the movies, though that’s easier with some parts than others. My husband and I imagine how much fun it’s going to be to reveal this secret tradition to our son someday… Yes, Luke-Andre, we’ve been doing this every year since before you were born. We have to time it just right so he won’t think we’re complete nerds.

  5. We still tease my mom about the themed trees of my childhood. Apples one year, a peach and aqua southwest theme another year. Maybe that’s why I’ve always stuck with a traditional tree with all the traditional ornaments. 🙂

  6. Connie, I love that! Ornaments are such a great way to commemorate your family’s life happenings every year. I also love coffee mugs (and pens) and usually buy one of each whenever we travel somewhere.

    Sophia, that’s a great one. And you’re totally right about the timing thing. For not-looking-nerdy, younger is better (once it’s age appropriate, of course). In my experience, we just get more lame, every year, lol. I can’t wait until I start being the smartest person my girls know, again.

    We have never actually watched LoTR. I know, it’s awful. We keep talking about it, but haven’t done it yet. Is there something about them that says Christmas, or that’s just personal for the two of you?

    Julie, I’m one of those people that love variety, so that sounds great to me. However, I think I’d miss my personal ornaments after a while. Maybe I need a purge year, every so often. I could do themes on the 0s and 5s. 🙂

  7. We start the holiday off with the movie “Christmas Vacation” every year the day after Thanksgiving…and then the decorating begins. This year for the first time in years we opted for a real tree and the smell of pine in the house is AMAZING! I’ve always been a tinsel girl, but with the cats and the puppy, sadly, the tree looks a bit bare – but I’m adjusting!

    So glad to hear you didn’t stick with the silver tinsel tree! 🙂

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