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8 days: a new ornament for Christmas

Every December when I was growing up my brother and I received a box in the mail from our aunt and uncle in Seattle, and every year it contained a beautiful new ornament for each of us as well as some other fun things. I still remember the excitement of that package's arrival. I would continually watch for the UPS truck until finally it arrived and we could all open the box and the smaller packages inside. It was part of my family's countdown to Christmas each year, but the significance of those packages wasn't in their timely arrival, but rather in their timeless quality, because the point of all those ornaments wasn't the annual package but the years of Christmases yet to come. When Jon and I put up our first Christmas tree on our first Christmas together I brought my box of ornaments to our new home and we opened them together, well over twenty in all, while I recited the story of each one. It may have been our first Christmas, but thanks to my aunt and uncle, and the UPS guy, it was already filled with traditions, memories, and love.

Tradition is important to me, especially at this time of year, and those ornaments and the tradition behind them means a great deal to us as a family. I don't have exactly the words to describe how wonderful it was to have a tree full of meaningful ornaments, instead of newly purchased ones or a sparsley decorated tree, on our very first Christmas, but I am sure that for me it was, and continues to be, a worthy culmination of my aunt's and uncle's shopping, wrapping, and shipping year after year. Now, because it was such a wonderful tradition in the making, my mother has continued it with Calvin, choosing an ornament each year based on their travels or on his interests. And, thanks to indecision and a general love of the holiday, at four he already has about seven ornaments on our tree. If things don't slow down a bit our tree will be entirely covered in a Calvin Christmas, and our other ornaments will have to live in their boxes until the day when he takes his ornaments to his own new home, and then we will have the joy of discovering them all over again.

Of the ornaments pictured here, only the first is one of mine, and the train is Calin's new one this year.


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