When Unboxing Christmas Ornaments Unwraps Memories

One of the things I love about the holiday season is setting up the Christmas tree and spending the whole day decorating it with my mom. It has been a big holiday tradition at our home since I was old enough to reach the tree and when my mom felt it was safe enough to let me handle the breakable ornaments to place on the branches of our artificial tree. Taking out the boxes of ornaments from storage and opening them up to unearth the many ornaments we have collected over the years, I can’t help but get a sentimental tingle in my heart when my eyes land on the ornaments that have a special significance or story behind how we got them.

A beaded wreath I made when I was in elementary school. Still looks as new as the day I made it.
A beaded wreath I made when I was in elementary school. Still looks as new as the day I made it.

I’m amazed by how many ornaments my mom has kept from when me and my older sister were kids. A range of handmade ornaments made for school art projects to ornaments given as gifts to the whole class at my elementary school make up a good portion of one box we have. I’d lovingly take out each ornament and instantly remember what it was like to have made them. Some ornaments are worse for wear than others, but most have withstood the test of time to proudly hang on our Christmas tree for another year.

I recall ornaments that were given to me by friends as Christmas gifts during my college days. I still can’t forget who gave me what in past Christmases. My mom is pretty impressed when I can easily identify who the original giver of the ornament was. When we attach a sentimental value to something it’s difficult to forget, especially if the memories attached to the object are happy ones. Each ornament has a history now. My mom buys little trinkets or ornaments from our travels with the idea that it’s not only a souvenir, but something to hang on our tree of good memories when December comes around again. It’s the best idea my mom came up with when she instilled the traveling bug in me. I may get older each year, but it’s very reassuring to unbox Christmas ornaments and find that they’re exactly the same as last year or the year before that.

Someday, when I’m lucky enough to have a family and children of my own I want to be able to continue the tradition of decorating the Christmas tree with them. I want to be able to unwrap an ornament and tell my future son or daughter what the story is behind the ornament. I want to be able to tell them how I made this ornament when I was their age, or this ornament came from a trip I took with their grandmother to France or England. These ornaments aren’t merely beautiful objects to hang on our tree, but pieces from different parts of my life or my family’s life that has meaning. It’s the best way to reflect on the years that have gone by and what the new year will have in store for us.


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