Monday, December 3, 2012

Decorating the Tree Tradition

Christmas. It's finally here!! It really is my favorite time of the year.

We put up our tree last night and opened the first doors in our Advent book. I told my mom it's almost like magic opening those doors. They hold so many memories of past Christmases. So does decorating our tree. 

At our house, everyone receives a yearly ornament. My parents started this tradition long before any of us kids were born, so we have lots of ornaments. This is how it works. (tentatively)

First we unpack the ornaments. Then, we categorize them by year with varied difficulty, depending on whether we have the list telling us which ones belong in which year. We often make homemade cocoa during this process. Another unofficial tradition, of which, we have many. Then we gather the whole family and decorate the tree.

They start in 1983, when my dad gave my mom a tinsel wire shaped to say "I Love you" in cursive. It's falling apart, the letters are crooked and stretched out, but it is the first ornament that is officially placed on our tree each year. Then, come several years worth of ornaments representing the different events of each year. We kids are supposed to be quiet until we are "born", but with Mom telling us the stories behind each ornament, and the excitement of decorating the tree, you can just imagine how well that tradition gets followed.

Next my big brother is born, my Grandma Barb gets cancer and my family can't go because they are all sick, so on goes the pocket-sized Kleenex tissue. No really, it's a package of Kleenex!

Then, I was born!!! And the world rejoiced, for---- okay, so nothing could have prepared them for me.  Two years later, my little brother is born and my Grandma dies. Two more years later, my little sister is born. For the next couple of years, we live in the country, then move to town to be closer to my dad's work. The next big thing that happened was we moved back to Carthage, our hometown. Back to our friends and our Grandma Judy. We live in Carthage for a couple more years, then move to where we are now.

The year was 2009 and my little brother and my sister and I all had strep throat. Our mom was sick, too. We kids got medicine and were fine, but my mom was just getting worse. The day we took her to the emergency room she looked like zombie. She had phenemomia, and we kids thought she was going to die. Dad had to make Christmas that year. It was a hard for us all. Then, we received the best Christmas gift ever; Mom came home on Christmas Eve. She was on medication, and she didn't look good, but that probably was one of the best Christmas Eves ever. It's right up there with Grandma Judy breaking her nose! But that's not part of this story. Our ornaments for that year varied, but the most memorable is my mom's hospital bracelet.

The next year was the Paper Route. My dad was in Kansas City working, and my mom, my little siblings, and I had to run a paper route for all of December. Amazingly we all survived, although at times we didn't think we could. Our ornaments for that year are, rubber bands with our names on them for us kids, a Mingo card for my brother, and the Christmas newspaper for my Mom and Dad's.

2011 was a year of change. The Joplin tornado hit, and our lives changed drastically spiritually and physically. We changed churches, my dad changed jobs, we housed hundreds of volunteers, and a lot more. Our ornaments were homemade out of Scrabble pieces. Each of us kid's spelled our names and my parents' read BLESSED.

This year we added a snowman for each person.

This is one of my very favorite traditions. One I will carry on to my family.

Merry Christmas!

Teen for the Lord

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