Monday, December 8, 2008

Oh, Christmas Tree...

Once again, the family tree has been trimmed. The lights are all on, courtesty of Cody, a six-foot-plus adopted son. I think we will keep him around for just this purpose. I was thinking a lot about the 'tree' last week, actually dreading the acquiring of, and then the decorating that comes after and seems to take forever. I was feeling a little out of sorts, observing all the beautiful and perfect trees that I was seeing in my midst. Cassidy works for a design firm and I am reminded everytime I pick her up just how beautiful professionally decorated trees are. However, last night, after the First Presidency Devotional, Eli's enthusiasm overtook me, and we decided to do the tree deed. As I pulled out all of the ornaments from over 25 years of life together, I was reminded that beautiful trees LOOK good, but trees like ours FEEL good. It is full of wonderful memories, each one invoking a smile or a laugh, or even a tear or two. The tree in all of it's glory. Yes, it's real, and yes it does smell wonderful. Phillip got rid of our fake trees years ago, citing the case, "We are denying our children one of the best scents of the season." I have to say I have a tendency to agree. An evergreen candle just doesn't cut it!

One of our most cherished wedding presents...a 'first Christmas together' ornament. It's usually the first one to to up, and the last one to come off.
I like this one of the Martin Handcart Company. It is a stark reminder of how blessed we are at this time of year (and all year round) to have a warm house and a bed to sleep in and more to eat than 4 ounces of flour. I like to reflect on that first Christmas the remaining handcart company members spent after being rescued and how it must have felt to be safe and alive. It kind of puts things in perspective for me.

One of Whitney's first ornaments. When she was little she looked just like this...curly blonde hair, yellow footie pajamas, and a bear that went to bed with her every night. I melt every time I hang this one up, remembering my precious little girl. She still has curly hair, although it's darker now. I doubt she takes a bear to bed and I know she doesn't wear footie pajamas. But I still melt whenever I see her, because she will always be my precious girl.

What can I say about this one? Cassidy was born on an April morning in the middle of the worst blizzard of the year. A lady I worked with at the radio station gave us this little snow baby ornament to remind us of that winter day when another beautiful daughter came to stay. She keeps our hearts warm and our lives bright!

My dear friend and fellow radio station employee, Wayne Richards, passed away unexpectedly this fall. These bumper stickers were circulating around town after his death. "Drive safely" was his way of saying to listeners and friends, "Be careful. I love you." I felt it very appropriate to find a place on our tree this year for a remembrance of a friend. May you and yours also, "Drive Safely" this holiday season.

No tree of mine would be complete without a touch of Mary Englebreit. Thanks to Miss Peg, each year a new "Mary" treasure is added to be enjoyed and loved. This one is my favorite!

Eli loves penguins. He wishes we could own one. We've taken him to Penguin Daycamp at the Zoo, and bought him every penguin book imaginable. Last year, we found this ornament and he just knew he had to have it. Until he gets that degree in Oceanography and Marine Biology and secures a job as penguin-keeper at Sea World, this is the closest he is coming to having a penguin as a pet!

When I was growing up my brother and I had a dog. J.J. the poodle. J for Joy and J for John. She was THE BEST DOG EVER for almost 14 years of my life. The day we had to put her to sleep was the first time I ever felt a loss of a pet. I've felt it several times since, but never as strongly. Now that John is gone, this ornament is just a little reminder of those fun days we had together, sister, brother, and dog.

Speaking of pets, we have a cat and her name is Gracie. She's really Princess Grace, but we shortened it down for convenience in calling her name when she is lost, which is quite frequently. We got her on a farm in Lehi when Cassidy was about 3, so we've almost had her 15 years. Most people don't see Gracie; she has a phobia for strangers. If you are at our house and you do catch aglimpse of her, count yourself lucky. It means she thinks you are safe, or you are in the way of her food. So, to celebrate her existence (or non-existence) we have some gray cat ornaments on the tree just for her. Sidenote: Our Gracie the cat doesn't wear clothes. We aren't THAT eccentric!
So, while the tree isn't up to Martha's's our tree, it's about us, and it's just the way we like it. Come over for some cookie and cocoa and I'll share a few more tree memories...


whitty said...

It looks lovely. I can't wait to get home and not only see it but smell it. Merry Christmas. And it's good to know Cody can do those jobs you hate.

Karalee said...

I love your tree Joy. I'm sentimental about my ornaments too :)

KJ said...

let's call it sentimental and whimsical. just how mine is.

Judy said...

I miss the smell of a fresh tree. Candles and wallflowers etc do not cut it but when two people in your home are allergy...well you make trips to tree lots or friends houses to smell...also its just tooo dry here!
Love the idea of the look through your sentimental ornaments. It is a lot of fun! You gave us some of ours. Look for a post soon. Did you have soup and a fire tonight? Soup was yesterday and fire was tonight. No snow!