Our Christmas tree is up and decorated. My wife says my gift this year is a carpenter to repair the damage I did to the house in putting it up.
It's a wonderful time of the year.
People always want the perfect Christmas tree -- perfect height, perfect branches, perfect shape. But there is no such thing as a perfect tree. Even artificial trees are never perfect.
And that's okay, because Christmas trees are not about the trees. They're about the ornaments.
Over the years we've collected so many ornaments it takes three grandchildren three trips to the basement to bring up all the containers.
This year they couldn't wait to get started decorating.
Grandson: "Do we have to hang all of these?"
Granddad: "They're family heirlooms! Some day, all of these will be yours."
Grandson: "Great! Then we won't have to hang them all."
Okay. To an untrained eye some of your decorations look a little -- for lack of a better word -- "old." We have some fancy ones and even some expensive ones that I never touch. But a large number of our ornaments were handmade, many by our children when they were actually children.
Grandson: "Why are we hanging this old ornament?"
Granddad: "Because your mother made it when she was a girl and I love having it on the tree."
Grandson: "We could just hang mom on the tree!"
Some of our ornaments are glued, some are re-glued. A couple are just put up broken.
There is a glass bird from our family tree when I was a boy. There are ornaments made by nieces and nephews dated nearly 30 years ago. There are funny looking angels handmade with beads by aunt we dearly miss.
There's a Santa with a Chicago Bears jersey covering his potbelly. I got it years ago from friends who said it reminded them of me. I've always wondered if it was the Bears jersey or the potbelly?
There is a little, crumbling, plastic bone, always placed on the lowest branch. It belonged to our family dog, Gussie, whose been gone for 15 Christmases now.
There's an ornament my mother gave us of a man buying Christmas gifts for his wife. This was before Internet shopping.
They're all on our tree -- all that and much more.
Every year we hang our lives on our Christmas trees. And that's what makes them so special.
They're decorated with memories.
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