We have a very eclectic tree. If it had a theme, it would be “Memories,” because each ornament on the tree has some kind of memory from the last 18 years attached to it.
Sometime the memory is simple. “I hate this ornament, but it’s been on every year since time began. I can’t get rid of it now.”
Or sweet. “Remember when we made these dough ornaments? I can’t believe they’ve lasted 12 years!”
Or sad. “Grandma gave me this one. I miss her.”
This year we were blessed to have my Mom be able to visit us over Thanksgiving. We power shopped. We ate. And we power shopped some more. The day after Thanksgiving we decorated the house and trimmed the tree. This is the first time we’ve done this all together in many years. It was wonderful, and bittersweet, all at the same time.
We live in the “Land of No Relatives.” Normally this is only a small smudge in my day. But during the holidays, it brings a little black cloud. When DD was little, we lived close to both sets of Grandparents, and a lovely bunch of aunts, uncles and cousins. The holidays were spent around family, talking, laughing and loving. Christmas Eve was spent with DH’s family, and Christmas Day with mine. It was heavenly.
Several years ago we moved to a new state. Ever since then, we’ve been trying to establish new traditions. It’s been hard for me to let go of those traditions we had “back home.” I miss going to family parties; seeing people that we usually only see once a year; watching my nieces and nephews open their gifts; having Christmas brunch with my parents.
It’s especially poignant since we’ve been blessed with DS, who only gets to see his extended family once a year. Twice if we’re really lucky. At least DD was able to spend the first 10 years of her life surrounded by them. I’m sometimes worried that DS will never really get to know or feel connected to them.
That’s what made trimming the tree with my Mom really special. We listened to Christmas music, talked about the ornaments as we hung them on the tree, laughed and built a great memory for all of us. Oh, and we also watched “Elf,” and laughed ourselves silly.