A week ago it looked like this. Yesterday? 70 degrees.
I was thinking about one Christmas some years ago when we were picking out our tree last weekend. A Christmas when money was particularly tight and I wasn’t sure whether or not spending money on a tree was something we should pull off. But we did. We scraped some money together by pulling dollar bills from our change jar and the kids and I went and bought that tree. It was worth every penny and I was thinking how glad I was not to have skimped on a tree that year.
When we pull the ornaments out of the box every December, it’s like pulling out bits and pieces of our past; some are as old as the all the years we’ve been back in NY. There are those ball ornaments we received as a wedding gift from our Portland friends; the ceramic ballerina that we bought after the Nutcracker 7 years ago; the cookie dough ornaments imprinted with the girls’ tiny hand prints that we made one year when they were small, and the vintage glass balls that I bought when my favorite antique store in the neighborhood went out of business a few years ago. We also have a striped yellow wooden tabby cat ornament that reminds us of our old cat. It’s become special in that regard. My favorite, however, might be the paper chain that Mia and I made together even before Miss C was born. It’s a bit faded, broken in some places and some of the sparkles have fallen off, but I can’t bring myself to throw them away.
We didn’t always get a tree, Mark and I, when it was just the two of us, but we started buying trees every year since Mia was a toddler. We’d keep a spray bottle of water nearby the years our cat was alive to keep him from batting ornaments off the tree. It didn’t always work and one year we woke up to a crash with the tree on the floor, bits of glass shattered all around it. We didn’t have many ornaments to hang those early years so I used to buy one a year right after Christmas when everything would go on sale at deep discounts. We’ve accumulated quite a lot since then so I’ve stopped, but couldn’t resist buying this vintage tin merry-go-round from one of our retailers when we dropped off a delivery last month.
The girls do a pretty good job of decorating the tree now and I don’t really fuss over it after they go to bed anymore like I used to when they were young and hung everything at the bottom in clusters. I like how the tree, which is now chock full of ornaments, is like a timeline of sorts. I don’t have any heirlooms handed down to me from my family and have kept nothing from my childhood. There are photo albums, but that’s about it. I look forward to passing off some of these ornaments to the girls when they’re older and have lives of their own.