An Ornamental Christmas

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is the annual ornament giving. Each year I choose an ornament for each of my daughters that reflects something special they did, accomplished, enjoyed, had a passion for or a place they traveled to. I started this when my first was in utero and have carried it on every year. There was the year of the sparkly strawberry ornament for my middle girl who couldn’t eat enough of the luscious berries that year, or the soccer, basketball, and lacrosse ornaments that marked the different sport seasons, or the London city scene for my oldest studying abroad. These ornaments are our history, our singular and shared stories, a map of our lives. This year the oldest got a book ornament because she was so happy to attend her beloved National Book Festival at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC after a year spent in Bulgaria teaching English. The middle daughter got a memento of the marathon she ran this year, her first ever, which she trained for while also playing college lacrosse! A map of Bermuda will remind my youngest of her summer spent on the United States Coast Guard Eagle, boarding in Texas, stopping in Florida and allowing some free time in Bermuda, an island she loved. The biggest surprise was that the girls presented me with an ornament, capturing our two current dogs and the two who have passed. I was so touched by the representation of our furry family members, but even more so that the tradition has been passed on. As we take them out each year, we tell their stories, our stories, and laugh, cry, and wonder. We will pack them away in the new year, and embark on the adventures that will adorn next year’s tree.

Photo: Flemington, NJ. 12.25.22 by LA

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