Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Meaning Behind My Christmas Tree

One of the favorite activities for me as a child was helping decorate our Christmas tree. I only remember two things about our tree in particular. We had bubble lights, which I'd like to find today, and Mom had us put on silver icicles so very, very carefully. They had to be put on just right. I loved helping put those icicles on. Mom used them over and over so when we took the tree down, we had to take one icicle off at a time and very carefully lay them down in the box for next year. We all had our own personal decorations made at school that went on the tree, but I don't remember them.

As we got older, Mom began to take the reigns and decorate the way only Mom could decorate with beautiful color schemes and with decorations she made herself. She loved decorating her Christmas tree, too. I think that was probably the only thing that brought her real joy during the holiday season. The rest of the "stuff" was stressful for her.

Our Christmas tree has become very meaningful to me during the past 4-5 years. Before that, I just gratefully used whatever we could find, whatever anyone gave to us or whatever we could scrounge up. It had no meaning except for the few ornaments each child made at school which was added to the tree. As I tried to switch my head and heart over to the real meaning of Christmas (honoring Christ) and rid myself of guilt and feelings of inadequacies regarding the kinds of gifts I could (or could not) give, the tree became my focus.

I love my tree. It is not large or opulent. I think everybody should love their trees. We bought a medium sized fake tree that was not pre-lit. I had to have a tree that I could lift by myself. Jim and Christmas trees don't get along well. (Ask a neighbor that saw our tree catapult into her yard one year. But that's another story for another time.) So I put up the tree. I take it down. It has to be smallish. While I'd love to have a beautiful, full, pine smelling tree, they are too expensive now. I have to be content with what I have. And I am.

Every year I had added one or two new decorations and the colors morph a bit. There's more red on the tree this year. I thought I'd tell what each major ornament means to me and why it's on the tree.

I believe that Christ really lived on earth, died and atoned for our sins. I believe that is the reason we celebrate Christmas. And one day, because of  Him, peace will come to the earth. Full, everlasting peace.
 Adrianne sent me a large LOVE nativity a year ago. It is spectacular! When I saw that they were making small ones, I ordered ten to give to the women I visit teach, to the people Jim and Ammon home teach and to my co-workers. I am totally in love with these as ornaments as well as the big one. That is what Christmas embodies.
 Joseph, Mary and Baby Jesus. The small key next to them says "Let Him in." This is pretty self-explanatory. This is a small one. I have a larger one that is front and center on the tree.
 This is one very large icicle. I have many smaller, clear glass icicles. They represent not only the icicles we hung on our tree when I was little, but they also represent the frigid fairy tale winters in Cokeville, which I loved.

 The snow-covered trees on this ornament reflect my memories of winter in Wyoming. Once the snow started to fall, it didn't leave for eight months. It was cold and white and beautiful.

 There are many clear glass ornaments that were my mother's. I inherited all her Christmas decorations. Her taste wasn't mine but the clear glass balls are classy and timeless. They remind me of her. She was classy and even though she has passed away from this earth, she, too, is timeless and I"ll see her again one day.
 Another nativity scene to remind me of the true meaning of a special day.

 I have several different kinds of snowflakes on the tree that I love. This one is simple but it reminds me of our living room windows every winter morning in Cokeville. Jack Frost came every night and brought new and beautiful patterns etched on the inside (yes, inside) of our living room windows. I never tired of looking at those patterns of frost.
 On the top of my piano are the nativity scenes - the ceramic figurines were made by Mom. The Christus statue stands above all in the room and the LOVE nativity scene was made by my daughter, reminding me of my love for all my children and for the love the Savior has for all of us.


 I put all the Santa Class figurines that I have on top of the bookshelf this year with garland and lights. The tree has no Santa Class mention. But these Santa Clauses are special to me because they were all given to our family. Most came the year we got the quilt with all the money tied to it. I want to always have them present to remind me to always be grateful and to express my gratitude to people who care about me and share with me some part of their goodness. That's why the Santa Clauses are on display.

 So here's my simple little tree that is packed full of memories and meaning to me.
I hope you find the same kind of joy and meaning in your own trees this year.

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