What goes up, must come down, and today I am organizing the house one final time before my vacation comes to an end. Our Christmas tree was the last item to be taken down, and I dove into the project this morning, piping hot cup of coffee by my side.
I love this type of clean-up, because it allows me to reflect on tradition.
When my husband was first born, his mother started an amazing custom of purchasing an ornament every year and setting it aside in a box. Some ornaments were symbolic to his life- A trinket of his hometown sign, a college token, the obvious coming-of- age milestone bulbs- while others just signified cultural phenomenons airing at that time- There are Disney and Star Trek figurines in the box as well. His mother documented each ornament and purchase year in a little notebook, and when my husband purchased his first house, she gave him the festive bin.
I loved her idea and decided to keep the momentum going, starting with the first year we began dating. Friends bought us “First Christmas” ornaments and “First Home Together” glass keys. We bought a ceramic penguin from Sea World when we took our first family vacation together, and a Santa riding a jet-ski during our first overseas trip to Bermuda.
The next year, we got engaged, and little celebratory symbols sat on our tree. This year, I look at our additions and can’t help but smile. We got married, went on an incredible honeymoon in Saint Lucia, and maintained old traditions, such as attending National Harbor’s ICE! Exhibit for the 3rd year in a row.
Our tree tells a story, and I look forward to collecting milestone badges, documenting their significance, for many years to come.
My best friend also had an amazing idea, as her tradition is a little different than mine but involves the same notion of storytelling. She purchased little clear picture bulbs and decided on a favorite memory each year with her fiance- They placed photo representations on one side of the bulb and wrote a little excerpt of the memory on the opposite side. In twenty, thirty years, they will have an entire tale of their history, strung to each branch of their Christmas tree.
What holiday traditions do you hold close to your heart?